Are you in transition? Sue and I, as most will know, are in the process of moving from Bethel & Redding California to live and minister in Europe.(we will travel to other continents as well.) We have now been back in the UK for nearly 4 weeks and achieved a great deal, so here are some thoughts resulting from these first weeks.
This week we got the keys to a rental house and are beginning to furnish it while we wait for the container to be cleared through customs. There is no quick way to do this, it just takes time. Almost everything is an opportunity for an education, there are of course cultural differences but also after 15 years so many things have changed: buying car insurance, electricity and gas suppliers and digital tv aerials to name just a few.
We knew when we had decided to move that there would be many lessons to learn along the way. We also knew that these lessons and experiences would apply to many other people, not least BSSM alumni whether they had spent one, two, three or more years at Bethel. As part of our role in Europe is to encourage and connect with BSSM alumni we want to make sure that we share our lessons and encourage others along the way.
Perhaps like us you have left somewhere very special where you have made home for many years, or you are starting a new job or training, leaving home or are alumni returning from being at a similar school or ministry experience to BSSM. Or perhaps your transition has been thrust upon you through loss or disappointment. There will be similar lessons for all of us and of course Moses and the Exodus will always teach us so much. After all look at their miraculous deliverance and yet they turned to grumbling so very quickly.
Whatever the exact circumstances or reason there is without doubt a process, a journey which needs to be travelled. A physical, emotional, spiritual, relational and probably financial one.
So here are three simple thoughts at the end of our first month home.
1.In the midst of uncertainty and chaos ‘hold on.’
The phrase ‘Hold On’ is well used but it doesn’t always point to what you should hold on to. Holding on to the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ that you know will be vital. ‘Hold on’ cannot be an empty cry, it must be anchored in something. I love that in the story of Jesus calming the storm he had already declared that they were going to the other side. Like us many of you will have clear prophetic words about ‘the other side’ and they come from a person who is who he says he is and does what he says he does. Holding on to him and to what he has said will be vital.
Doubts will not be far away in the journey of change but nor will the answer to the doubts or the calmer of the storm be far away either.
Incidentally there doesn’t have to be anything wrong for it to feel like there is a storm, just the absence of the ‘normal’, familiar routines or just different ways of doing things can create turbulence.
2. Stay Thankful
There is a line in a song on the recently released album by Jonathan and Melissa Helser: “find me grateful, find me thankful.’ It sums it up really. I can guarantee that whatever circumstance that you find your self in there will always be someone in a more difficult one than you. When you discover that either in thoughts or practice it will take you to the place of thanks. You might need help with this and having songs in your head, even if you can’t be playing them out loud is a vital key to making it through the transition. looking at what you have lost or dont have is the entry point to a spiral of discontent and dissatisfaction but thankfulness is the gateway to peace and satisfaction.
3.Transition is an inside job.
The goal in transition is to ‘manage me.’ Things happen, plans don’t come together as quickly as you would have liked and some things are just different, especially if you have changed cultures.
A common phrase has come to mind in these weeks: ‘keep your ‘wits about you.’ This means to stay attentive. Well that is definitely very necessary when it comes to things like driving. I can’t turn right (or left) on red, driving instinctively on the other side of the road for 15 years has created some learned behaviour which I now need to unlearn (until I visit in 6 weeks). Yes I will need to continue to ‘keep my wits about me.’
In reality you will need to keep your wits around you on the inside too. Being able to recognize what is happening on the inside and react healthily is vital. You will not be able to control your circumstances but you should always be able to control you.
Sue and I have never been more sure of why we moved, but even so there are many challenges in the process, it is an exciting journey towards an incredible promised future and as a Mum and Dad in Europe we want to position ourselves to help others successfully transition too.
- Hold on to who you know and what you know.
- Stay Thankful.
- Manage yourself, whatever is going on around you.