Change is inevitable. Many people in the Body of Christ are going through intense changes right now: the loss of a friend, a spouse, or a child. A transition into a new job. A feeling that God is calling you to do something different in the next season than what you have done before, accompanied by a disconcerting sense that you aren’t sure yet how to do it!
A new Jewish year, 5779, begins this Sunday, September 11 at sundown – Rosh Hashanah. Spiritually, the number nine speaks of fruitfulness, harvest, birthing and creation. Politically, a new government is being shaped as we vote in the primaries this week and watch the “dethroning” and reseating of key justices in the court. Personal, political and religious seasons are shifting, for better or worse. Why?
A new season is here! It is important that we understand our place in the “new,” releasing the past and realigning ourselves with God and others for the future.
But how do we do that?
Walking Through Transition
There is a reason why so many “first day of school” pictures are posted to social media – they are celebratory moments, mingled sometimes with stress or even fear. We look forward to a joyful future, yet crave the past, where we feel more comfortable.
My husband and I just released our oldest son, now 18, to college this week. Through him, the Lord gave me a detailed prophetic picture of what it really means to walk through transition and enter a new season.
Those of you who know my son know that he was READY to go. He is a strong, mature, and very confident young man, one whom I have no trouble believing will do well for himself.
Because he is my firstborn, he has benefitted from all the love and attention I could have given him. He has challenged me and I him. We have talked about every issue under the sun and I love seeing him form his own opinions now and discover his own talents.
The college he chose is a perfect “fit” for him. His dorm is clean, spacious and bright, and he has a wonderful roommate who is already a friend.
So why, when we joyfully released him into his destiny and a future we have spent years preparing him for, did I come home and feel utterly lost?
Let Go Of The Old!
The truth is, I missed the old season! Suddenly, all the “old things” assumed a prominent place in my mind: the fun things we did with our son when he was little, the “Castle stories” we told at bedtime, the trips and adventures we shared. Above all, I remembered the need he had for me – which he has no longer.
Without this child to care for, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself! I had spent a busy, intense summer preparing him to "fly the coop." Then one day, 18 years of mothering, discipleship, and daily investment in this important person ended abruptly – and I didn’t like how it felt.
Many parents describe times like these as times of grieving – almost as if a death has taken place. It is the feeling of loss that must be dealt with in order for us to move through transitions successfully.
Whether your life changes are spiritual, physical or emotional right now, I can guarantee you that in order to move forward, you will need to fully release – perhaps even grieve - the past. And this hurts sometimes!
Acknowledging pain is a precursor to healing. Being honest with God about how you feel is as spiritual as making prophetic decrees about your future. When we take the time to recognize the good things from a past season, to contemplate them and thank God for them, we are honoring Him. (Yes, even with our tears!)
We don’t want to stay “stuck” here, of course. But the marking of these “life moments” is important so that we can close those doors and open our hearts fully to the new things ahead of us.
It is okay to grieve, to rest, and to give God room to comfort us over our losses as we transition. He is, after all, our comforter!
Jesus Is Your Future
Transition brings a sense of being “lost” or helpless, and we also need to understand that those feelings are only temporary.
We know from the Bible that God’s plans for our future are always good. We know from many prophetic voices at this time that God is calling us up higher, to new levels, new challenges, and new positions. (See my previous post, The Divine Invitation, for more on this.) To take on new roles, we must release the old ones, difficult as it is.
It may seem easier to hold on to a past that is known than to step into a future that is unknown. In the end, though, we will hinder our growth by reusing old wineskins. We need fresh and expanded versions of ourselves to contain God's new wine!
When Jesus was comforting His disciples about the future, Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered him: “I AM the way…”
The only thing you really need to know about your future is that Jesus is already in it. Jesus has prepared it for you, and Jesus IS your way! If you know Him, you need not fear your future – in fact, you can expect GREAT things because He has promised them to you! Walking through transition requires that we stay close, soften our hardened hearts, and spend time asking Him for our next steps, which He promises to show us.
I look forward to celebrating my son’s future successes, just as I eagerly anticipate the breakthroughs God has for the Body of Christ. Yes, we are transitioning out of the old and into the new. Yet we have incredible promises from Jesus that we can expect to bear fruit, yield an even greater harvest, and see the nations come to know Him – all because we chose to step boldly into a new season with Him! The Hebrew year 5779 is said to represent a time of creative miracles, birthing, harvest and fruitfulness. Let’s set our faith high!
My story of transition is not unique, but it is surprisingly timely. My prayer for you today is that you, too, will honor the old with your thoughts and your tears. Commemorate and remember the things God has done for you in the past; it’s a biblical and healthy process! Then tenderly close that door, and open your heart to all the new things Father has in store for you. He will never lead you astray.
It’s okay to not know the details yet. You know Him, and that is enough.
Reflect and Pray:
What "old things" are ending for you right now? Can you discern that it is God's timing to lay down or release some things that are no longer relevant or have been brought to maturity?
In order to move on, we need to take care of "unfinished business." Are there loose ends in your life that need to be dealt with, or relationships that need closure? Make it a priority to finish what God is asking you to do so that you are free to pick up something new!
Do you believe that God's plans for your future are good? Spend some time today asking Him to show you what's next in His amazing plan for your life! Prayerfully accept that transitions can be uncomfortable and allow Him to comfort you in places where you feel you are "losing" something of value. Ask Holy Spirit for wisdom and revelation as you move forward into your future.
If you are struggling with transition right now, or do not have a sense of clarity about what God has for you next, please contact me so that I can pray for you. I love to agree with my readers in prayer and believe that prayer is one of our corporate keys for the coming year!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.