I woke up the day after Rosh Hashana and thought, “now what?” What does life look like now? You see, on Rosh Hashana, my husband and I made a huge transition, we passed the baton and after thirty years of leading a congregation, we stepped down. This new transition has been very challenging!
All of us have transitions. We transition from a child to a teenager, a teenager to a college student, a college student to a working adult, wife/husband, mother/father, grandparents and within these are even more transitions. In the dictionary, the word “transition” is defined as, “movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another; change”. Transition is that in between place where you are not quite where you were and not quite where you are going. It reminds me of that nomadic life where you pull up the tent pegs and start searching for the next place that you’ll pitch your tent. As a New York City girl this doesn’t exactly infuse me with joy as I don’t like camping!
In Genesis 12:1 God says to Abraham, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” Abraham is called out on a journey, from a place where he is comfortable, to go to a foreign land. Not only does he have to leave his home, but, he also is told to leave his family! This story is in our Torah portion Lech Lecha (Get Yourself Out) and is so important to me right now. You see, God told us to get ourselves out. To leave the work that we had pioneered and continue to follow Him. This transition created anxiety, fear, lack of identity, and yet we knew it was from the Lord. The struggle became do we believe God? Do we believe that He is directing us? Seeking God in our transitions will allow us to walk in the plans that He has for us. Here are four problems that we’ll have when we don’t seek God in our transitions:
- Our strong fleshly desires will lead us away from God into sin. Such as lust, pride, greed, and jealousy.
- We’ll have feelings of impatience, where we’ll jump ahead of God and miss His best.
- Fear and doubt will overtake us and cause us to waiver in our faith before the Lord.
- We’ll have stress and pressure instead of the peace and joy of God.
When you are in a transition experience, watch out for the pitfalls listed above and instead do these five things:
- Ask God to show you his plan! Then commit yourself to following the path that He will set before you. If you have a strong, fleshy desire, watch out that could indicate that God is not in control. It may mean that your desires (your plans) are leading instead of God!
- Open the word of God. Ask Him to show you in black and white what His will is. Be careful to seek the counsel of God, and people with Godly counsel. Stay away from wrong counsel! Wait for Him to confirm His plans to you. When in doubt….. Wait, Wait and Wait.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you. Impatience proves that we are not being led by the Holy Spirit. Instead we are following our own selfish desires.
- Stand firm in the faith that God has given you. Believe that He loves you and you will experience His leading. Doubt always leads to feelings of fear.
- Trust God and remember He is sovereign. He is aware of everything that you are going through. You can trust Him to love you and preserve you at every turn of your journey. Stress and pressure are often the result of not trusting God.
Remember that you’re not perfect. We are all going to experience some of these pitfalls during our transitions. In this Torah portion we see Abraham messing up right away as he was told to leave his family. What does he do? He brings his nephew Lot! But, look in Romans 11:8 what it says of Abraham, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Abraham made mistakes, but, he followed after God. May we all have this same heart during our transitions of life.