5 Types of Transition

Posted: November 28, 2011 in Relationships, Spiritual Growth
Tags: , , ,

Ever feel like you are in between? Like you are not where you were, but not where you want to be? Haven’t we all? It seems like most of our lives our spent in transition. Transition can be simply defined as the process of moving from one point to another. In a sense we are always in transition, but there are concentrated times of specific types of transition that can be especially hard to discern or endure. Moving from one place to another in your house or on your block is quite different than moving from one place to another across the country or the world. So I’m taking about the more major transitions that can cause us to ask serious questions. Identifying the primary purpose of the transition that you are facing can cause you to face it with confidence and gain the most from your transition. So here are some categories of transition that may help you understand what you are going through.

1. Personal Growth Transition: primary focus of this transition is learning and developing your gifts and overcoming weakness. Examples of personal growth transition: a student who enters college to prepare for the work world or a worker who is being trained and prepared for leadership within the company or beyond. Sometimes we know that we are being trained, but we don’t know why. That is okay. During a growth transition it is especially important to focus on trying new things, learning from experiences, and finding out who you are. These times can be enjoyable, but they can also be frustrating because we have not yet arrived at our destination. We all grow all the time, but in special seasons of concentrated personal growth, it helps to know that this too will pass and you will soon be on to things that really make you come alive.

2. Positioning Transition: primary focus of this season is on relocation, either physically or positionally in term of spheres of influence or favor. There can be lots of frustration leading up to the acceptance of a positioning transition because the feelings you have for the relationships that are changing can be difficult to navigate. It may be hard to accept that you no longer have influence where you did formerly. But hope lies in the fact that you are called to a particular place to influence particular people for a particular time. This is the time to be thankful for the past and fully embrace the future. You have to believe that better things are ahead.

3. Philosophical Transition: you read a book, have a discussion with a friend, or listen to a sermon and your mind is suddenly exposed to new ideas. Faced with this new information, you are forced to accept or reject the new paradigms and either incorporate the new philosophy in to your life, or remain with previously held philosophies. This happens all the time, but I believe that there are special seasons in which we are supposed to get down and dirty and really wrestle with ideas that have consequences. That we need to get off the fence and put our money where our mouth is. Philosophical transitions, though they begin internally, can lead to all sorts of other transitions. They can pull you toward the people with whom you live and work or they can pull you away. There are times when these transitions happen so subtly that you wake up one day and realize that you no longer see eye to eye with your longtime partner or collaborator. Sometimes one party is right and the other is wrong, but other times both parties can be right, just different. Ideas are powerful and they affect or lives in profound ways, so choose your ideas wisely!

4. Relational Transition: a shift in your relationships, developing favor with new people, losing influence with old friends. As I mentioned before, a philosophical transition can cause this shift as well as many other factors. Some relationships are meant to come and go for specific purposes in our lives. Other relationships are more long term. Relationships that last will inevitably change. Some relationships have more responsibility attached to them than others. For example, in a marriage, relational transition should not be taken lightly. All relationships are eternal, meaning that although someone may come and go in your life, your impact on one another will remain. Do the best you can with the relationships that are available to you. Use wisdom to know when to be intentional and pursue relationship and when to let go and move on.

5. Circumstantial Transition: family needs, crises, unavoidable and unplanned things happen. We must be realistic in understanding that life is altered for a time, or even for the rest of your lifetime. The sooner we can come to grips with the reality of our circumstances, the better we can seek wisdom in the pursuit of our dreams. A circumstantial transition can even cause undiscovered treasures within you to rise to the surface. It can cause new desires and passions to spring up. Your circumstantial transitions are not accidental. It is imperative to trust in One who has knowledge to see beyond what is happening to you right now.

We must take care in interpreting our current transition so that we can avoid getting bogged down in worry, fear, stubbornness, broken relationships, or unnecessary distress. For example, if you are in a personal growth transition and you don’t realize it, you may give up to early, concluding that it is a relational transition away from the person from whom you need to learn. We cannot allow our comfort level to determine the transition, rather we must learn to judge them objectively. Let’s be people who understand the times and know what to do about them.

What, if any, transition(s) are you facing right now?

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