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Maximizing Transitions - Vertigo and Reorientation

Children enjoy the challenge of playing on a merry-go-round at the playground and trying to walk in straight line right afterwards. They typically don’t get very far before succumbing to vertigo and ending up on all fours. Transitions, the in-between times in our lives when we move from “what is” to “what is to come,” also have a way of throwing us off balance. Thoughts and feelings that accompany transitions are often a sense of loss of control, confusion, tension, panic, doubt, fear of the unknown, dizziness, and isolation.    

In his book, “Stuck! Navigating the Transitions of Life and Leadership” Terry Walling defines transitions as “the in-between period in the life development of a Christ follower.” He goes on to say that in a transition, “individuals consolidate past learning, process issues of character, deepen convictions and values, and are prepared for the next phase of their development. Transitions bring closure to the past in order to move forward to the next stage of personal development.” 

The experience of some kind of transition is often a key reason why leaders and churches seek coaching. Leaders experience a degree of restlessness, stagnation, lack of motivation, confusion, tiredness, and uncertainty. Churches experience transitions in terms of staffing changes, lack of direction, new initiatives, conflict, plateau or decline, and issues of trust and leadership. 

Transitions take time and typically involve revisiting challenging experiences and struggles but without them leaders and churches would get stuck in their development. While transitions are simply part of life, recognizing that God uses them to help bring greater awareness of his desires and purposes can motivate us to make the most of these opportunities in terms of self-definition, roles, and new paradigms. 

The adage, “we don’t get to clarity alone,” is particularly true of transitions. When we suffer from vertigo it’s challenging to see clearly what God is doing, where we are in the process, and how he is inviting us to greater surrender.  

Journeying for a season with someone in a coaching relationship can empower us to make the most of a given transition and provide new clarity, focus, and hope for the future. Getting the most out of a given transition will help us to clarify our values, contribution to others, heal the past, and generate new options and opportunities. We want to rush a transition but as Walling points out, transitions can take three months to three years to complete. 

Whether you are an individual leader, team, or a congregation, L2L would enjoy journeying with you as you desire to “lean in” on God’s shaping process in your life and desire to make the most of the transition you find yourself in.  

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