*You may have noticed we’ve been quiet for a while. We took a break over the summer but now we are back and our National Coordinator Crystal kicks us off with some reflections around times of transition.
We talk a lot about seasons, especially as Christians. Which makes sense. God created the seasons and He created us as humanity with connection to the natural world. So the natural world is often a visual reflection of what is happening in our lives.
However, I have not been reflecting on seasons so much as the transition between seasons. That in-between place.
No matter whether you are sad to leave the current season or are excited to enter the new season, the transition can be disorienting. Every season in the natural world requires an adjustment period. Anyone else notice how the first couple weeks of colder weather makes you late for everything because you have forgotten how to factor in the extra time needed to don all the required layers of clothing?
Yet so often we just sort of stumble through the transition, not really fully aware of all the changes and what they mean and how we are internally responding to them.
I have spent much of my life in this way – just stumbling through all the changes and transitions, trying to convince my heart that I’m fine with change. But I have been learning to no longer live in this way but to live awake, fully alive, which means being more aware of the discomfort of transition.
This latest transition comes off the back of a three month sabbatical. Towards the end of my sabbatical I began to pack up my lovely flat, my home of three years, the longest I have lived in a home since my teens.
I was preparing to move to Dunbar to be part of Discovery, a church plant about to become a 24-7 Prayer Community. I was excited because in many ways this move would be the culmination of many prayers, hopes and dreams. And the community, the surrounding wild beauty and slower pace of life would all be life-giving to me. But I was also uncomfortably aware of the other full range of emotions tumbling around within me.
I made the move and 10 days later came off sabbatical and dove back into work.
I am lodging with a family for a while and it has been an absolute joy. So much life. I love coffee break time, coming down from my room where I’ve been hard at work in front of a computer screen, to be greeted by a wee dog so happy to see me that her entire body wags, an adorable baby who always has a delighted smile for me, the imagination of a 4-year-old and good conversation with the lovely parents of this trio.
But all of this means new life rhythms. And finding and establishing new rhythms can be a bit like changing gears on a bicycle – a bit clunky at times.
So though I love everything about where I now live, I have found the clunkiness disorienting and even frustrating.
The disorientation in work propelled me to take a work retreat on the Isle of Arran at Sannox Christian Retreat Centre, giving some dedicated time to being with God and listening for His wisdom, vision and guidance.
It was exactly what I needed to help me find that centre in God again and begin to navigate the path ahead with greater confidence and peace.
I still haven’t fully found my new rhythms. But I no longer feel disoriented. And I have re-discovered my creativity – that ability to let go of what was before to more easily explore new possibilities for the now and the future. And in finding my centre in God again, I also found again his peace, the gentle reminder to be patient with myself and the assurance that there is grace not just for seasons, but for the transition between seasons.
I think many of us are in transition periods right now. If you are, or the church/community/team you lead is, then I want to encourage you to not just keep stumbling your way along, attempting to ignore the discomfort of this period. But make space for noticing the discomfort, learning from it and for listening to God. Maybe that’s a retreat – on your own or with others. Maybe it’s setting aside some weekly or daily time to simply listen and re-centre yourself in Him again, receiving His peace and accepting His grace as Holy Spirit takes the lead in the navigation of this time-between-seasons.
*If you would like to have someone facilitate a retreat for your group, be it a leadership team or a group of friends, 24-7 Prayer Scotland would be happy to talk with you around how we can help. Just drop us a line at email@example.com .