Transition can be caused by natural rhythms of life or by unnatural interruptions. All life change may be met with happy anticipation and fearful expectation, a curious cocktail that can leave quite a hangover.
I remember feeling this disorientation during an early life change. At five years old, after years of sharing a small room with a sibling, I woke up in a big new house alone in my big new room. My sibling missing and my head spinning. So much new to experience and so much unknown territory to explore. In that exploration I discovered something about God. He loves surprises.
Hearing God during these times is both necessary and sometimes difficult. Much of the accompanying emotion in change has to do with how we have prepared and processed the transition. In a recent blog, I talked about the role uncertainty plays in transition and how to hear God to develop hope in uncertain times. You can read that here.
Transition is an invitation to change our perspective about our lives and about God. Poorly navigated, however, that change may leave us disoriented or our perceptions distorted. One way to maintain and mature your perspective about who God is during current change is to re-discover who he was for you in past transitions. It was exactly this exercise that lead me to the memory of my first major life change, the big new house.
After re-connecting with my lost sibling, we decided to explore this amazing new space. In the corner of a dimly lit closet we found two old chalk boards and chalk, left by the previous owners. An unexpected surprise we would never have discovered had we not ventured into the unknown. We took our prize, discovered in the dark, into the sunny outdoors. Soon the slate boards proved to be a tiny canvas for our enlarged imaginations. We spread our art to the unsuspecting and unblemished sidewalks. This snagged the attention of our new neighbor and soon-to-be best friend who joined our graffiti-fest.
Life changes are fraught with uncertainty, but also joyful surprises. Those surprises cannot be exposed until unknown places are explored. When you find yourself in a major life transition (or not so major), you will also find uncertainty. You need to keep exploring. You need to re-connect with old friends in new ways. You need to search in dimly lit places for unexpected surprises. You need new places to draw and new friends to discover.
Here are some ways to discover the joy of uncertainty in the disorientation of transition:
1. Remember who God was in a past transition and apply that to now.
2. Re-connect with old friends in a new way
3. Rediscover the joy of exploration. Ask God to reveal how the unknown is hiding an undiscovered surprise.
4. Re-joice! Rehearse past transitions and be thankful.