Life transitions feel like miniature earthquakes. The once stable footing where we were cruise through life is jostled by the one constant we can all expect: change.
This has been a year of joyful transitions for my family. In the past year, we moved twice (once across state lines to a place where we didn’t know anyone), started a new job and business, bought a house, and found out we were expecting a baby (due in September).
The song “The Solid Rock” has been stuck in my head more times than I can count in the last year. It’s the anthem I recite when I’m searching for some sense of stability during all the change:
“When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.”
I’ve needed this reminder, and others, during this past year.
Transitions come in all shapes and size—new house, new job, new marriage, a kid off to college, death of a loved one. Sometimes they’re welcomed and other times we cringe when they show up uninvited. However change comes to you, here are comforting three reminders when you’re riding the inevitable emotional roller coaster of major life shifts.
YOU WERE MEANT TO BELONG
Loneliness accompanies transition like an unwanted sibling. You likely know someone who has been in similar seasons of transitions, but no one can know exactly what your specific transition is like for you.
Especially with moving, we can find ourselves in the strange in-between (and sometimes downright awkward) process of building new relationships. And as the ever-growing to-do list piles high between carpool, long work hours, changing diapers, and setting up your new home, the task “make new friends” gets pushed further and further down the list.
The unchecked box to the left becomes aggravating, and your soul begins to long for the intimate relationships we were created for. But you were meant to belong.
When I worked with a college ministry, I counseled many freshman women who found the transition into college isolating and tumultuous. It takes time to find your “fit” and your default group of friends to eat lunch with. They sought community in intramural sports, sororities, and a host of other options college has to offer.
This longing to be with and accepted by others is good and God-given. You were created to find a sense of comfort and home with people. Even the most introverted among us need deep relationships.
It's easy to believe that our relationship with the Lord should be sufficient to fill all our needs, but we need others. Things were perfect in the Garden of Eden, yet God still proclaimed, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
While this passage directly addresses God giving Adam a spouse, we know we are called to have intimate relationships with God’s people regardless of our marital status (Rom. 12:15; Gal. 6:2; Heb. 10:24-25). In one sense, no one in the body of Christ is ever truly “single.”
While the “make new friends” category may seem less important during transition, don’t neglect the emotional and spiritual health that comes from having relationships with God’s people. As soon as you’re able, join a local church and find ways to serve, initiate relationships, and start building friendships.
You will be reminded quickly that two are better than one (Eccl. 4:9) in both practical and spiritual matters.
YOU LONG FOR THE STABILITY OF ETERNITY
My friend’s oldest daughter is going to college in the fall. As she has raised her daughter, she expressed the desire to freeze moments of time so she could hold on to particularly sweet seasons a little longer because she knew they would pass quickly.
We’re constantly dealing with the turnovers of life. New roommates, new foster child, or new class schedule. It seems like right when we find our rhythm, things change. Why can’t things just stay the same?
No matter the transition, you’re stepping out into the unknown. And no matter how much of a thrill-seeker you are, this reality is bound to be accompanied by some anxiety.
We are creatures of adventure and discovery, but what makes the adventure and discovery enjoyable is the ability to return home. When our lives begin to feel monotonous, we long for the excitement and newness that new seasons bring, but we like the stability our home-base has to offer.
Our longing for stability is not bad, but it can’t rule our lives. We will never have true stability the way we desire on this side of eternity. Our desire for consistency is really a desire for eternity with a God who protects, comforts, and loves us, even when things change.
It’s not that we hate change, but we want to know we will be protected and taken care of in the midst of it, and God assures us of this truth. He assures us he will be “the stability of our times” (Is. 33:6), providing salvation, fear, and knowledge.
IT’S GOOD YOU’RE NOT IN CONTROL
Change strips us of our illusion of control.
Navigating our way through transitions can be foggy. We may lack schedule, routine, or even a clear goal and vision. We spend each day trying to survive by simply doing the next thing. During the in-betweens of life, we feel like we’ve fallen out of God’s gaze. We may begin to doubt or second guess his promise to never leave us.
In Genesis 16, Hagar flees to the desert to escape Sarai’s mistreatment. She’s a slave, she’s in the desert with presumably little to no supplies to live off, she’s pregnant, and she’s alone. This is a time when life is out of control.
Even still, in the middle of the desert, the Lord finds her and sends an angel to reassure Hagar of God’s plan for her and her unborn son. She proclaimed that God is the “God who sees me” (Gen. 16:13). Furthermore, the name of her unborn son would be Ishmael, which means “God hears.” During Hagar’s desert wanders, she was reminded that our Father is a God who sees and hears his people.
Even in transition, God has not forgotten about you. You have not escaped his notice. Our feeling of being out of control could be God’s way of drawing us nearer, so we can say for ourselves, “You are the God who sees me. . . . I have now seen the One who sees me” (Gen. 6:13).
MY HOPE AND STAY
Outside of our stability in Christ, all other ground is truly sinking sand. Stand on Christ, our solid Rock.
And when life changes, hold fast to these truths: God eases our loneliness with his people, God promises the stability of eternity, and God invites us to experience him when we feel out of control.
SharDavia “Shar” Walker lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Paul. She serves on staff with Campus Outreach, an interdenominational college ministry, and enjoys sharing her faith and discipling college women to be Christian leaders. Shar is a writer and a speaker and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Christian Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.