- Josh Anderson
Embracing the In-Between
Graciously and gently, God has been guiding April Butcher through the unknown of transition. He has taught her what it means to truly trust Him, even when she doesn't know what to expect. Now instead of fearing change, the experience has left April relying on God to embrace the future.
A new family moved in next door to me last weekend. I saw them outside this morning and walked over to say hello. As first interactions often do, we eventually got to the “So, what do you do?” portion of the conversation.
“I’m in transition.”, I said. Ugh.
I doubt that this new neighbor noticed, but I paused before I said it. Even saying the words felt awkward and incomplete. This isn’t who I am…it’s just a season of my life...I used to know where my place is, but now I’m not sure what I’m doing…I worry I made the right decision. All these thoughts swirled in my mind simultaneously before I simply spoke, “I’m in transition.”
Like a lot of people, transitions are tough for me. I like being comfortable. I like being in control. I like knowing what’s coming next. In fact, most of the recurring dreams I have are related to my feeling out of control. (They also usually center around elevators and my teeth…anybody else experience this?)
Transition makes me feel unmoored and exposed. The in-between takes away my safety nets and the structures I’ve built up around myself that give me a semblance of order and control. Transition also exposes those safety nets and structures for the idols that they are in my world.
"Safety nets and structures sneak in to steal the trust and reliance I should be putting in God and His faithfulness."—April Butcher
A while ago, I felt God stirring in my work life. I was in a job that I truly loved, serving with talented people that I adore and respect, but I could feel that it might be time for it to end. For months, I asked God for what was coming next. I begged Him to show me the next step. And I assured Him that I would be happy to take it if He would just show me what it was. I received no next step.
For months, I looked and prayed and sought and prayed. No next step.
“If you jump, I will catch you.”
This past spring, as I was still praying for that next step, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me.
“If you jump, I will catch you.”
At this point, I wasn’t sure if God remembered that I’m the only one paying my mortgage and bills. I didn’t know if the Holy Spirit knew that walking away from a really cool job that you never in a million years dreamed you would have without having something to walk toward isn’t exactly a solid career move. Over and over, I felt the Holy Spirit reassure me, “If you jump, I will catch you.”
And so I jumped.
In July, I very tearfully said goodbye to my really cool job and so many people I love. And I did it without knowing when or how God was going to catch me. It was scary and exciting and very uncomfortable. I kept thinking of a quote from Francis Chan. In his book "Crazy Love."
“God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”—Francis Chan
I was definitely in a situation where I would be in trouble if He didn’t come through.
For two months now, I’ve been sitting right in the middle of transition. (At the intersection of transition and scared, to be exact.) My norm has been turned upside down. Everything from my daily schedule to the people I interact with regularly to my self-confidence has been affected.
At first, I didn’t know how to right myself. My job was so much a part of who I was that I even felt a little lost. During the first few weeks of transition, Isaiah 43:18 and 19 kept coming to mind.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”—Isaiah 43:18-19
I wanted to focus on this new thing He was doing; if only He would tell me what it is.
Guidance in the Wilderness
Very graciously and gently, God is guiding me in the wilderness of transition and He is teaching me a great deal along the way. As I’ve talked with friends and prayed during this unique time, there are three specific things God is showing me about transition.
Transitions are unique places where God can meet us and we can see Him work in new ways. When we shed some of the familiarity of people, places, or things that we rely upon to bring us comfort and support, we are able to see God in new ways. God is able to meet our needs in ways we may not have sought before because it was “easier” to do it ourselves or seek it from others. When we see God from a point in transition, we are often able to see Him and His provision in a different light.
Transitions are places where others can see God at work and see that He can be trusted. As I’ve shared this transition journey with friends, I’ve had several conversations about areas where I see God at work or where I have asked others for prayer. As God continues to work, others are able to see His faithfulness and provision in my life. I love that these conversations build others’ faith in Christ. I know as I’ve seen friends go through their own transitions, it has strengthened my faith to see how generously God has provided for them.
Transitions can expand our faith and cause our roots to grow deeper in Christ. If we let them. If someone tells us they will catch us if we jump and they do, we will trust them the next time they tell us to jump. Given enough experiences, we trust them with bigger and bigger risks. Seeing God provide in the midst of our transition reveals to us the fact that He can be trusted. As we trust Him with our lives, He reveals His plans for our lives that we could never have manufactured on our own.
Chances are good that you’ve been through a transition before too…maybe you’re there right now. When transition is in full swing, we can either embrace it and move forward toward the way God is making in the wilderness or we can sit and dwell on the former things.
My prayer for all of us is that we would see where God is at work, even in the tough times of transition, and trust His hand enough to join Him in that work.
Comfortable With the Uncomfortable
Recently, I’ve become a bit more comfortable with the changes going on in my life…just in time for a new transition. Last Friday, I received an exciting job offer from an amazing organization that I gladly accepted. It will require me to move from Boone, which I’m not happy about, but the position and organization are so much of what God knows I love and need.
I serve a Father who wants to give good gifts to His children. He will not only catch us when He calls us to jump, but He will be there in the transition as well. I’ve seen His faithfulness in my life and I know I can trust Him in this new transition as well.
Telling our stories is one of the most powerful ways we can illustrate how God is real and active in our lives. Sharing them can lead to real and meaningful connections with one another. At theHeart, we want to be known for the stories we share with one another. By doing so, we can grow closer as a church family. And we can inspire each other to confidently live a life that is uniquely focused on demonstrating Christ's Love. Do you love telling stories through written word, video, photography, or artwork?
Would you consider joining a network of contributors to theHeart Blog? If you're interested in learning more, contact Pastor Josh: firstname.lastname@example.org.