Hi everyone. Rob here.
We are all hearing about the word ‘transition’ these days as America deals with the problem of managing a transition of presidential power when the defeated foe refuses to acknowledge the reality of their loss. It reminds us that it’s really hard to transition if you don’t accept the reality that you need to transition. Life is essentially a whole lot of transitions strung together. We need to learn how to transition well if we are to live well. This is especially true when every day brings with it more change. This is life in 2020. How are you doing with that?
Accepting the reality of change seems to be very hard for a lot of us. Witness the protests about the election result in the United States. We struggle to accept the aging process or a change in material well-being. I recently watched a programme about former All Blacks – our national rugby team – and the struggle they have had since retiring from the game. They struggled physically because of their injuries and the need for ongoing discipline nutritionally. They struggled mentally because of the loss of significance, camaraderie and routine. They also struggled emotionally because they had issues from the past that hadn’t been dealt with as they enjoyed the glory days of their rugby career. They made enormous progress through the show because they were willing to accept the reality of their condition. They were overweight, they were struggling emotionally and they wanted a way out and through. Mutual vulnerability gave them mutual strength and support. It all starts with facing reality.
The problem comes when we don’t like the reality that we’re facing. Will we then try and avoid it or enter into it? Will we go to the doctor or dentist when something isn’t right? Will we seek counselling if we’re not coping well or living well? Will we go to God when we know that we’ve been rejecting him for a long time? Will we reach out to our spouse to bridge the distance that has started to grow between you? Whether we like reality or not, we have to move towards it if we’re ever going to get through it. There’s no way round it. It gets you eventually.
I’ve been trying to practice this in my own life. I recently finished 4 weeks of work that I enjoyed. It ended and I had to name the reality of missing it. In that reality was an invitation that God has the right kind of work for me to do and to take steps of praying, applying and accepting what comes my way. There was also an invitation to keep writing and doing what I’m doing. I received all those invitations for the future because I accepted the reality that a recent chapter was now the past. It’s a small example but it represents the bigger transitions we have to make.
Have you accepted the reality of the pandemic? Of the election results? Of the state of your own mental and emotional health? Of the state of your marriage or relationship with your kids? We need to. We’re invited to so that God can help us die to the old and rise to the new. There may be grief and lament in that process of gaining acceptance. That’s a good thing because we have to name the loss. Change is first experienced as loss I heard. Lean into it. Ask for the Spirit’s help. Follow Jesus. He knows how to do it. Reality is something that God is great at transforming. If we avoid it we also avoid what God is doing in the world. Let’s be part of that by learning to transition by walking with him.
Grace and peace.