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Transitions in life are good

I’m in a transition phase in life and I’m working hard to be OK with it.  Consider: For 25 years Karen and I have raised our five children and now they’re moving out of the house. Our family dog just died. For 20 years I’ve built AIM and asked God to bring me guys who coul…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I’m in a transition phase in life and I’m working hard to be OK with it.  Consider:
  • For 25 years Karen and I have raised our five children and now they’re moving out of the house.
  • Our family dog just died.
  • For 20 years I’ve built AIM and asked God to bring me guys who could take it to the next level and now he has.
Psychologists put these kind of life events on a stress scale and correlate them to heart attacks and ulcers. Who in their right mind enjoys a transition?
We don’t like change, but change is inevitable, it comes with the package. We’re born; the doctor smacks us to get us breathing, and from there on it seems like someone is always smacking us to get us to change. Life brings a series of jolts before we’re deposited unceremoniously in a final huge jolt before our heavenly Father where we get to review the whole mess.
So I’m working hard at being OK now. Trusting God in this spot is important.  He made me for a purpose, there is a call on my life, and I need prayer “that God may find (me) worthy of his calling.”*
When asked about his kingdom, Jesus said, “Unless you change and become…you will never enter.”**
Why do we hate it so? Perhaps in part because the personal identity that we’ve worked so hard to establish is put at risk. Perhaps because our comfort is threatened. Perhaps old fears get triggered. Or maybe you’re like me – I just like to stay productive – me hanging around the house is not a happy thought.
So what do you do if you’re going through a season of transition? Here are some things God has me focused on:
  1. Stay thankful. You’ve got so much in your life that is good. Give God thanks for food, shelter, health, family and friends.
  2. See the big picture. There is life on the other side of this change and it is probably going to be more rewarding. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you better.
  3. Get a plan and work it. Use the time to take stock, but don’t spend too long sitting on your hands. Network with people who care about you and want to help. Write down a list of things to do every day. Get out of bed and work your plan.
  4. Serve others. Too much introspection can lead you into a negative spiral. Find ways to add value to those less fortunate than yourself. If you need help finding them, email me – I’ve got several thousand orphans who need to know someone cares about them.
  5. Experiment. I’ve got about five experiments going now – new things that God may use to broaden my calling. I’m not going to stop leading or discipling, but I may start doing in new ways.
  6. Stay encouraged. Talk to people who are going through a similar phase of life. Learn from them and let them speak into your life.
Are any of you going through a transition in life now? What works for you?
*2 Thess. 1:11
**Matt. 18:3

Comments (15)

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    I like teaching about “transitional” words & phrases in my English classes. I tell my students how important such words are in helping the reader understand their message. Also,how life is all about transition. However, when I have to bring those same words into practice in my daily life…my grades are not so good. For example, words like: in addition to, moreover, equally important, with this in mind, nevertheless – can cause a lot of stress for me. These words imply transitioning out of my own control, and surrendering to God’s! Thanks Seth, transition(words/phrases) is a good thing….

  • I’m in tremendous transition at 58. God’s gently led me to develop a “presence” in downtown Macon, in a warehouse.

    We’ve moved our 20something ministry there (I lead that ministry)

    We’re going to open The Warehouse for “community time” – a place to use wifi, study, meet up w/ friends, read, get away – anyone who works, lives, or plays in downtown – 8am- 6pm

    At the end of the summer, we’re also going to have a “gathering” on Sunday mornings when we live stream the mother church from their location in northwest macon.

    How do I handle all this?

    I threw away my box, completely, about a year & a half ago.

    I “don’t cling to my life” (Matthew 10) – if I hold on to my life, I’ll lose it. If I let it go, He can give me the life He’s dreamed for me.

    I “don’t worry about my life” (Matthew 6 – NIV) – Over & over & over again in the last year+, whenever I’ve said, “BUT GOD!!!” His still small voice comes back with, “don’t worry about your life.”

    And I’m testing DAILY the promise in Psalm 139:5, “God both precedes & follows me.” Iow, He’s out there in the future, preparing the way for me. And He’s behind me, mopping up the consequences of my obedience.

    Now, before you think I’m sort of super holy guy, I’m not! I’m just a guy, putting one foot in front of the other in this journey of adventure with God & the life He’s dreamed for me.

    I KNOW exactly how you feel right now b/c we’re living the same life – lot’s of change, all the time. I try to keep in mine that I’m a servant, following my Lord. He loves me & is gonna take care of me, one way or another. I’m serving Him. (Anyone who says, “All I want to be is a servant of the Lord” has never been one!!! 😉

    You & I are never gonna retire (retirement is NOT in the Bible), so we’re never gonna have the easy life 90% of our friends will have. But we’ll be far more alive than they’ll ever be.

    You & I don’t live far from each other – we oughta do lunch

  • “nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: the Lord knows those who are His.” ~2 tim. 2:19z

    and I can’t remember the reference to this short one, but:

    “The Lord is faithful, He will do it.” …as in, He will show you the way. just as He’s showing us all the way during our transitions 🙂

    love ya, “dad”!

  • In about 2 weeks or so, we’ll be going through the huge transition of becoming parents. I’m still a little nervous, but getting very excited about this transition.

  • The honest answer is some days I scream, yell and cry and others I rejoice and have peace! I pray always for His peace and grace and I do little things one at a time trying not to get ahead of Him. I love and serve who ever He places in front of me.

    What keeps me going is this!!! I don’t want to miss what He has planned for me if I stay the course!!The Lord is full of amazing surprises for His bride but we must walk down the aisle.

  • Thanks for the wisdom in this post. It seems I am in the midst of a transition, but the transition is happening slow and I am not sure what is around the corner.

    What is keeping on track right now? Having a wife and friends that speak honest and bold truth in my life.

    In the meantime of occupational goals I am setting personal growth goals such as completing a Tri and learning the acoustic guitar.

  • You would not believe how timely this post is for me. My husband and I are embarking on the biggest transition of our entire lives, and I am scared, sad, and excited all at the same time. Thank you again for your words of wisdom.

  • I wonder perhaps yes…..

    husband and I both are trying to be open and praying…

    pretty scared and yet in the praying to live in risk…kind of excited too I guess.

  • I started my transition last fall and only thought it would be a few months. It’s turned into many months. Many times I go back and read all the scriptures, God’s blessings (small and large), encouraging notes from others that I have posted in the journal I started at the begining of this journey. It never fails to remind me of the original vision and spur me onto to get back into the race for which He has called me.

    Praying for your transitional journey, Seth!

    Jill Lienemann
    Kesher International Missions

  • Seth,
    Blessings to you for this post, you put my transition into perspective!!! I have no idea how your note popped up on my computer, but God works in so many ways….
    Thank you.

  • great post today – and right along the lines of stuff I’ve been thinking about. Not necessarily in terms of transition, but into the next level of obedience to the Lord. I’ve had to be reminded that there are no plateaus in the journey with God. There may be times we feel no perceptible difference, but every day we’re either growing in our faith and obedience … or losing ground. Thankfully, God doesn’t show us the whole picture or even shed His full spotlight on everything at once – it might overwhelm us. But everyday and every season of life is a new call to trust Him more and He will reveal Himself in new ways. If only I could learn to loosen my grip on the things I know – some of which aren’t even all that great, but it’s “what I know” and “what I’ve become accustomed to” . . . the good news is: I’m ready for the next adventure. (ha – I think!)

  • I read this post the other day and thought of it again this morning when I read this verse.
    “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray do not forsake me O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” Psalm 71:17-18

    Seth, I just want to encourage you as you transition in your life that the same God who has led you from your youth will lead you many more years til you are old… I think you are a great voice declaring God’s power to the next generation through your life and ministry and you challenge us to do the same. I thank you for how you lead so many!

    I was encouraged by the verse as well. It seems like Gabe and I are in a season of internal transition- our life still looks pretty much the same on the surface but we know God is changing our hearts, focus and purpose. We too trust that the God we have been following for years will lead us through!

    We appreciate the example and challenge you put forth before us. Thanks.

  • Thank you, Heidi. And a thanks to the rest of you who are going thru your own transitions. It’s amazing how many of us are in that spot, even if it looks as though we’ve got it all together on the outside!

  • Transition is tough but I am confident that you will handle it a whole lot better than most of us. You have always been a awesome example of what it looks like to truly follow the Lord. I will be praying for you Seth !

  • Seth,
    My family is in a place of transition as well. The Lord has asked us if we are willing to “drop our nets” and follow. In this case, as with the original disciples, our “nets” include our security, our comfort, what we know! We are doing our best to be obedient, without knowing all the answers…tough!The only thing we know is that we are being called to simplify, to un-tangle ourselves from those things that are holding us where we are. The for sale sign went into our front yard yesterday…beyond that only God knows!
    But, having given birth to two babies, I can’t help but relate the following thought: In the birthing process, transition is the most painful, most extreme part; the point in the process where most women (and men!) tend to want to give up. Obviously, giving up is not an option! To get to the prize, the new life, transition is the only way!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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