Sometimes known as the Squeeeeeze, we call transition lots of things. In limbo, out of rhythm, off your game. Then there’s my personal favorite, out of my comfort zone. We are so certain the deep unsettled feeling is a bad thing we conclude we must be doing something wrong. But what if the deep unsettled feeling is a good thing? I had a moment in the ocean about transitions that might help us navigate the arduous and sometime unwanted process.
By it’s very nature, transition means movement. Moving from one place to another. In work, family, relationships, even faith every area requires forward motion. To be fair the only thing worse than transition is stagnancy. Standing water, or stagnant, is foul and infested. We desperately need movement to keep us fresh. The Lord used waves to stir up my standing waters.
I go out into the ocean about ankle deep. Feeling pretty confident I step a little deeper because I have a sense of control. But pretty soon I feel the familiar pull on the sand as the water retracts. If you are beach savvy at all, we both know there is a battering line you must cross, the line where the waves break before crashing onto shore. If I try to stand or swim near that line, I will be beaten to death. But if I jump over the wave, or better dive under it as it is crashing over, I can “pass through” the line and the water calms a bit. By the way, it’s also deeper beyond the break.
(That’ll preach all by itself. Keep going. Don’t let the pressure of the coming waves paralyze you. Jump higher or dive under and you can pass through to deeper waters.)
Here’s what the Lord showed me. I was in the beautiful, clear waters of Destin during a week of thunderstorms. The waves were high and hard hitting, more like East Coast beaches than the Gulf’s usual lazy swells. My friend and I passed through the break line and had a ball riding the rising and falling mounds of salt water, timing our dives and jumps as the waves rolled in.
What startled me though was the pull on my feet as the water receded. We timed the waves crashing over us but got swept down by the undercurrent pulling back into the ocean. I have been in a lot of waves but this was different.
Then the Lord whispered, “I am training you for bigger waves.”
“Uhhhh Lord? Do I want bigger waves?” I asked as I rubbed the salt water out of my stinging eyes.
I had to brace against the power of the undercurrent and then jump really high to get over the swells. It was wearing me out. Then I realized His revelation. We have to train and prepare for increase, “bigger waves,” and transition is our training ground.
Maybe you are selling your house, there will an increase in new schools, people, opportunities. And, at the same time, there is a decrease, an undercurrent pulling you to purge and simplify your current house. Maybe you are attempting a new job so there will be new chances to test and grow your gifts and talents. But there will also be an undercurrent to pull away bad habits and attitudes so you don’t pollute your new position.
In stagnant water, or seasons, none of these things get stirred up or revealed. Or resolved.
Bigger waves mean more faith is required because He is calling us to risk more. And the undercurrent is pulling on the ways we quit and settle and look for comfort rather than confidence.
Confidence is perhaps one of God’s greatest deposits during our seasons of transition. We develop our spiritual muscle as we are moved into places where we cannot make it on our own.
Confidence in His goodness.
Confidence in His desire to carry us,
Confidence in His nearness in the middle of our mess.
Confidence that He will complete the process.
One really funny moment when I was trying my best to jump the wave “just right” He laughed and said, “This is supposed to be fun.”
I was so focused on trying to get it right, to not wipe out, to not drown, that I had forgotten I was in His ocean. So I am asking the same legit question I am working on.
What if transitions became fun because our confidence is in Him instead of in our comfort zones?