Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)
I hate change as much as the next person. We work so hard to make a comfortable world, and just when we get to a meaningful place, change comes a-calling. William Bridges, author of The Way of Transition, provides comfort when he says, “Change can happen at any time, but transition comes along when one chapter of your life is over, and another is waiting in the wings to make its entrance.” Most of us fight the transition because we cannot accept the change.
With a change of circumstances comes a change of labels. With the end of a marriage comes the label, “divorce.” With the death of a spouse comes the label, “widow, or widower.” For me, retirement will come with the end of a title: “Pastor.” Change in a life situation can also create a change of identity. This only makes the change in our lives even more disruptive.
Fighting the change and ignoring the opportunities for transition will not make the change go away. Fighting will only make the pain worse and the resolution take even longer. Every situation has options, even if they are not the ones you’d like. William Bridges continues, “Transition doesn’t simply disenchant; it breaks up your old identity, too.” Rather than mourn the old identity too long, needed change requires the creation of a transformed identity.
God is our help and guide as we transition from one identity to a new, transformed identity. Mourn the loss that change brings. But take courage and redefine yourself. Change can often feel like a diminishment of self. Prayerfully ask God to remind us that we are God’s chosen, and worthy of transformation. The Spirit’s work with us will continue to allow us to work through the change and bring us to a healthy and whole new identity. With God’s help, change isn’t feared, but transitioned, with a new, blessed identity.