How to Navigate Transitions
I have to be honest. Coming back to the blog and writing something has been one of the hardest things to do. While Kristen and I believe 2019 has such a different, positive tone, I’m also in the middle of some changes.
Two weeks ago, my Grandpa, Papa, was placed on hospice care. Papa is one of the most selfless and loving men I’ve had the joy of knowing. Over the last few weeks, Kristen and I have driven out to Newbury Park many times to say our goodbyes and slowly watch him grow more comfortable as the nursing staff found the right balance of medication. I am thankful to have had the chance to talk with my Papa, to thank him for all the ways he helped me in my early years even through today. Words cannot express my thanks enough for all the ways he supported us. And I feel so blessed to have had multiple times to see him, pray with him, and cry with him before he passes.
I also sensed this deep churning in my soul and began the process of discerning what the Lord was trying to speak to me. As the Foursquare Church began 2019 with 21 days of prayer and fasting, I also joined and asked God to give me clarity. A good friend shared a word with me that Jesus has heard my many, many prayers to use my gifting and passion, and affirmed that this year that would come to be. For me, I thought that meant sometime in July or August, but certainly not January. I’ve long been told of waiting on God’s timing and, honestly, I had initially thought that meant that we had to wait a long time. I began conversations with trusted mentors, pastors, spiritual directors, and friends and ultimately chose to leave my job at Fuller.
Literally (and I mean the actual use of literal) within minutes of turning in my letter of resignation, I had 3 phone calls right after another with fantastic new opportunities. While these are still in the works, I’ve accepted a few of these opportunities and am floored at how they will allow me to really lean into my calling as Husband, Pastor, Blogger.
In the last few weeks, I have ugly cried more times than I can remember. I’ve wept while holding my Papa’s hand, talking about what we think Heaven will be like. I’ve wept in my prayers over my dreams and passions. I’ve cried with my therapist over my painful and troubled past. I’ve wept with my pastor over both loss and gain. I’ve just wept - from sorrow and grief, from uncertainty and frustration, from joy and clarity.
About a year ago Kristen and I had dinner with our good friend Steve. Steve is the type of guy you want to have dinner with, he just gets people in an amazing, spiritually significant way. He shared with us a vision that the Lord gave him that was of us, stepping onto an immensely foggy bridge. We could barely see the next step before us, and we definitely couldn’t see the other side of the bridge. Steve reminded us that we just need to keep taking steps. Right now, we don’t really know what is next for us. We don’t have some grandiose plan for the future, but we keep taking steps.
Perhaps I’ve always been this way but now, more than ever, I want to appear like I have it all together. Whatever brand of Christianity this is, we’ve inherited a noisy temptation to appear like we are always more than okay. Success seems to look like having louder-than-life experiences, the perfect latte art on Instagram, and sermon clips that, honestly, I’m not even sure what is actually being said.
What I’ve found most comforting in this season of transition is silence. As Ruth Haley Barton says, something is amazing about how silence allows the sediment of our souls to settle down and reveal the prayers we really want to pray. And consequently, we can finally hear what God has been longing to say. I’ve found God in the silence between Papa’s last breaths. I’ve seen the Spirit churning in the silence between tears. I’ve heard from Jesus in the pause between call and response.
If you are navigating a transition, any sort of change, it is more than okay to slow down and find some silence.
Your soul needs a breath of clarity.