devozine

Spiritual Practice

TRANSITIONING WELL

Aly Hathcock

Change is inevitable. Yet many of us struggle to transition well. In the past few years, I’ve gone through three apartments, four roommates, five jobs, several church communities, and a new puppy. Gradually, I’ve learned a process for navigating change.

 

Grieve

New beginnings require leaving behind some of our past. Even if we move into something amazing, we need to grieve our losses.

After college, I was starting an exciting new life; but also I was losing my friends, my church, and my on-campus jobs. I needed to allow myself to feel sad about what I was leaving behind so that I might fully enjoy my new life.

When changes come, give yourself permission to grieve, to feel sad or even angry about what you are losing. Eventually, the waves of sadness will grow farther apart; and you’ll be able to engage fully in the present.

 

Ground

When we reach the final step in the grief process—acceptance—we can choose to be fully present. Keeping or creating consistent routines can help us stay grounded in our new reality.

When I transitioned from living alone to having a roommate, I stayed grounded by maintaining as much consistency as possible in my routine. I continued to go to church every Sunday, to meditate every morning, and to work the same hours as before. This consistency allowed me to feel more secure as I adjusted to having a roommate.

 

Build

Once we start to gain our footing, new beginnings are a great opportunity to build or rebuild aspects of our lives. Start by asking, “How can I make sure that my needs are being met?” Maybe you need to build new friendships, even if they might not become life-long relationships. If you need a job for physical or financial security, apply for one, even if it’s a temporary position. Once your basic needs are met, you can try other things—a new hobby, skill, or relationship.

After graduation, I started a new job in my college town; but most of my friends moved away. I needed community, so making new friends became a priority. Then I tried playing the ukulele, hip-hop dancing, and indoor rock climbing—things I didn’t have the time or the courage to try while in school.

Life is circular. Every ending leads to a new beginning, which leads to another ending. If we can learn to navigate transition well, we can navigate life well.

 

DIG DEEPER

We are always in transition of some kind. Take some time to consider these questions and to journal your responses.

  • What about this new beginning are you looking forward to?
  • What are you leaving behind that you might need to grieve?
  • How can you create some consistency in your routine?
  • What needs for friendship, faith community, creativity, or financial security do you need to pay attention to?

Pray that you might see what God is doing in your life or wants for you in this new season. “Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness” (Isaiah 43:19, CEB).

Aly Hathcock is a certified life coach who helps people discover their authentic selves, conquer their goals, and create a life they love without burning out. Find her at alyhathcock.com or follow her @alyhathcock.

—from devozine (January/February 2020). Copyright © 2019 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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