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Wrapped, settled, and at ease

Times of transition can be both upsetting and thrilling at the exact same time. We get scared because of what we are seeing an end to something we have held dear or worked with for quite some time, but we are awesomely excited about what may be forthcoming as we take on the new venture. The moment we commit to take those steps forward, we are lambasted with all manner of doubt, anxiety, and maybe even a little bit too much adrenaline! The emotions evoked in transition can be undeniably hard to maneuver through, but when we move from one thing to another, there will always be a little bit of emotional 'build up' experienced in making that transition. Transition is a time of unrest for all of us. We like the familiarity of what we have come to know as "constant" and "secure" in our lives. When transition is called for, we often feel like our "legs are being pulled out from under us". This might be why we are as apprehensive in transition as we appear to be. We allow fear to guide our thoughts and influence our actions instead of taking the things we fear to God for his guidance in those times of transition.

Complain if you must, but don't lash out. Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking. Build your case before God and wait for his verdict. (Psalm 4:4-5)

Transition by definition is simply a period or season of change - changing from one position to another, a state of what some have come to call "stability" into a state of the "unknown". We also see that it is characterized by times of transformation. Transition brings with it transformation opportunities. We only enjoy the butterfly because the caterpillar underwent the transition - it prepared for and submitted to the transformation! There is a process in transition whereby a metamorphosis from one state or stage into another is underway. The end result is to make us more beautiful, stronger, and different from what we were when we entered into that transition.

Complaint is inherent in transition. It is human nature to complain 'about' or 'against' whatever it is that is seeking transition. Why? We may not even like the present process or way things are, but to change means there will be this encounter with the unknown, so we resist it. We don't seem to understand the process, or even want to participate in the process change, so we lash out against it. We can approach transition with a degree of maturity that will assist us in making it through the transition in a positive manner, but we don't come by this 'maturity' all on our own - we need God's help. The first thing he expects of us is that we will limit the complaining. It is the easiest thing to enter into the "whining" stage of complaint when we don't understand something, we don't feel it is fair, or we don't interpret the transition as something we can endure. Complaint is often an expression of our uneasiness over the situation at hand. It is quite easy for complaint to go the other direction into becoming an expression of our resentment toward the transition that is occurring. How we face the transition is directly impacted by both our "self-talk" and our "outward talk" about that transition. 
 
Some find they let their heart do all the talking, but when our heart does all the talking, we might just find that what is expressed is really so much of the grief we are experiencing with the transition at hand. As we let go of something we have developed a certain comfort level with (even when we don't really 'like' the present way things are), we often experience a deep sense of grief over the loss (because our comfort is impacted). We want to hold onto what "feels secure" to us, while God may have a different plan for our "security". Grief is often best understood in the midst of transition - we are parting with the old and embracing the new - bringing to light just how much we have been holding onto something within the old that we needed to let go of in the first place.

When compliant is done well, we actually build our case before God, finding there is no other resource as readily available, or as totally reliable to assist with the fear associated with change, the grief associated with letting go of the old, and the sense of unease created when transformation must occur. We often gravitate toward building our case before man - but it is time for us to truly consider that God is in control, so we need to build our case before him, not others. It can be hard to wait for his verdict - once we have laid it all out before God (our fear, disappointment, grief, unease, etc.), we are told to wait. Not the easiest instruction to follow, huh? I know for a fact that I am not the best at "waiting" to see what will unfold. It is in the "wait" that we often receive the greatest revelation of what the future holds - and how to let go of what has been an ineffective process in our lives. 

Think about that caterpillar for a moment again - in the moments of transition, he is going about his daily life until one day he is somehow moved to create a new form of existence. He goes into the safety of a cocoon - a place for his transformation to occur. That is kind of like us building our case before God - we take time to envelop ourselves in his watchful care, and then we wait for the rest to occur according to his plan. In the end, the cocoon produces the beauty of the butterfly - sometimes it is a Monarch, other times a simply little butterfly with golden wings. So, whatever transition we face today, perhaps we'd do well to consider the instruction of our psalmist. God can deal very well with our complaints - but we need to take them to him, not others who have no control over the transition. God is about to work in the midst of the transition - to produce what he believes will produce the greatest beauty in us. We need to find what we need for the transition in the safety of the "enveloping" covering of his care. Just sayin!

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