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Smile! You’re in a Transition

Written by John Paul Jackson
Smile! You’re in a Transition

Transition is a good topic this month because of two reasons. First, I suspect that as this year progresses, many of you will experience the most intense time of transition you have faced, and you’ll need to know this topic well. The balance of 2008 will be the “best of times and the worst of times.” For those who do not take the past with them, it will become the best of times. For those who live in the past, it could be the worst of times.

And second, I would like to brief you on a transition in my own life, one that has been some time in the making.

Transition, unfortunately, is a process that is seldom instantaneous. Over the last 30 years, some of the transitions I have experienced have been easy; others have been difficult, and some, like this one, have taken a long time — five years to be exact.

I’ve discovered that the longer and/or more difficult the transition, the greater the impact it will have on others. It’s as if God is saying, “Justice is served if difficulty precedes victory.” Personally, I am at the end of a five-year period of transition. Two years through the dark night of the spirit, one year to reorient and recover and two years to pull off the change. So for those of you who are on the tarmac waiting for the plane to take off, I have great empathy and remember that “tribulation works patience in us.” Can I get an ugh?

Often, I’ve seen that when the transition takes a prolonged length of time, it is so two things can come into alignment. The first is preparation and the second is timing. Preparation also has two facets: It is your preparation as well as the preparation of those you will impact and who will impact you. For either party, most of the time preparation is not educational acquisition butspiritual acquisition.

The second thing — timing — comes into play with the convergence of your preparation and God’s purpose for taking you where He is taking you, be it geographical or otherwise. The result of this convergence hallmarks the end of transition and the beginning of hope and fruitfulness. Proverbs tells us that he who rules his spirit is greater than he who takes a city. Sometimes we have to learn to rule ourselves before we can have rule where we are going.

Now, one last thing to say about transitions — in this writing, anyway. Saying yes to God’s direction and thereby giving Him your future is not always simple. Most of the time, it means saying yes to a future that you can’t see fully yet; you may have no clue what it will end up looking like. But the key here is to recognize that what you are seeing or perceiving actually is God’s direction for your life. It is a still, small voice urging you toward, or sometimes just highlighting to you, a certain path. You are drawn into it.

You will know it is God’s plan by the peace you feel. Until you have that peace, you have no responsibility to say yes. Deep-seeded peace is the most important sign that the next step is God’s plan for you. Keep in mind that peace does not mean you know all the answers; however, it doesmean you’re realizing that after the transition, all will be better.

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