I’ve never heard of anyone who really enjoys transition. I have, however, met plenty of people who will reflect on times of transition as times of significant growth. What is it about transition that is so difficult? How can we make the most of transition? Does living overseas feel like a life of constant transition for everyone else too?
Up front, I’ll tell you I don’t have the answer to those questions. What I do have are some suggestions that might help you make the most of a transition period. I lived overseas for a few years and it seemed like the transition never stopped.
Here are some things that have helped weather the transition storm over the years.
Keep the big picture in mind
One time, I was complaining about being busy or stressed to my friend and he asked me a really good question. “How do you think the CEO of Walmart can operate 11,000 stores in 27 different countries with over 2.2 million employees?” I really didn’t care about the answer that much but it helped me realize that I alone create my threshold for stress and busyness. There are less busy people who are accomplishing more than you. For some reason, this helps me in times of stress and transition. It reminds me that I created my glass ceiling and I can destroy it.
Need some inspiration in this area? Do some research on what a person goes through to join the special forces of the military. There’s a show on the Discovery Channel called “Surviving the Cut” that is especially eye-opening.
Don’t forget who is in control
This isn’t a super spiritual paragraph about how since God’s in control you have nothing to worry about. Read the story of Adam and Eve or the parable of the ten talents. It’s hard to miss how much God has entrusts us with. God may be in ultimate control, but that doesn’t mean that were off the hook for our decisions and the associated consequences. You own your future. If something isn’t right; you don’t have enough money, you don’t spend enough time with your kids, your relationship with your spouse isn’t fun anymore, you aren’t leading enough small groups, your church isn’t growing… You are the only one that can do anything about it. During a transition it’s especially tempting to think the trajectory you are on is out of your control; it’s not. It never is. If something isn’t right, change it. You have no other options. Read the Principle of the Path if you need some inspiration in this area.
Invest in your future
You can’t predict the future. Trying to will most likely frustrate you. Instead, invest in things that will definitely help you regardless of your future. Spend less money than you make. Ensure the relationships around you are as healthy as possible. Exercise regularly and eat real food. Sleep well. Live in community. These things are not going to solve the problem right in front of you, but they will ensure that you are incredibly well equipped to solve it.
A mechanic can’t possibly know everything that is going to go wrong with a car, but he has the right tools to fix anything that comes his way. The more tools he has, the more complex problems he can fix. What tools are you investing in that will help you get through transition?
Read The Power of Full Engagement for a kick of motivation about investing in these kinds of tools.
How about you? How do you transition well? Does it feel like living overseas is living a life of constant transition?
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– Dustin Patrick | 1MISSION in Mexico, Nicaragua, & El Salvador