For most of us, the thought of transitioning brings a certain level of anxiety. If we’re honest, most of us would rather get a root canal that we don’t need than go through the process of interviewing, moving, and starting over. But for many of us, that is where we find ourselves. The fact that we find ourselves there in the midst of a worldwide pandemic – well, that’s a whole other level.
So if today you find yourself at any point in the transition process, here are just three quick thoughts that I pray will encourage you.
Keep your focus
On my best day, it is hard for me to stay focused. Being surrounded by so many different distractions makes it easy for me to get lost in my thoughts, worries, or the latest show on Netflix.
If you are at a church, but due to circumstances you are looking at other opportunities, resist the temptation to check out. Your students and their parents need you now more than ever. Besides, you need to finish strong. So let those creative juices flow again, re-imagine how you’re doing youth ministry during this time, and do your absolute best. You will be remembered for what you did during this time, and you will always be remembered for how you left.
If you are between churches, keep your focus. Whether you resigned a few months ago – by choice or by request – or were let go because your church couldn’t afford to keep you, keep focus. Focus more on what God has called you to be and less on what He has called you to do. Focus on how He has used you. Focus on the fact that He is always faithful. Let me say that again. He. Is. Always. Faithful! So stay focused on Him and use this time to reset and allow your relationship with Him to flourish.
If you’ve said, “this is not the best time to look for a job,” you’re probably right. But don’t stop looking. I assume there will be fewer postings on the job sites and fewer calls to set up interviews, but don’t give up. Just keep looking. In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus said:
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 NLT)
So keep asking, keep knocking, and keep seeking. It will be given to you. The door will open. You will find it – the problem is He doesn’t say when. So just keep looking.
Keep guard of your heart
No matter what stage of transition we are in, we need to always be careful not to let anger and bitterness take root.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
No doubt this is the most difficult of the three. It is so easy to be mad and stay mad. It’s too easy to let “the hurt” hurt our relationships with others and with God. It’s too easy to allow our hearts to grow hard. Please don’t let that happen.
You need to process. You need to grieve. You probably need to vent, blow off steam, cry, scream – and yes, you need to heal. So take this time to heal.
During this time you may struggle with anxiety and depression – I know I did. How am I going to provide for my family where are we going to live, where is our next meal going to come from? Those aren’t hypothetical questions; those are the questions that kept me up at night. And here’s what I know: God met every need in his perfect timing. I believe He will do the same for you.
Even the best transitions are difficult, so don’t try to navigate this alone. Invite some trusted friends to walk with you. Share your story with others and let us encourage you, bless you, and pray for you.
No matter where you are on this journey, remember to keep your focus, keep looking, and above all keep guard of your heart.
Todd is a 20-year Student Ministry veteran. He and his wife Lynda have been married for 22 years and have three children – Brianna, Caleb, and Addyson. They both graduated from Cairn University. Todd is a huge fan of Apple products, chocolate chip cookies, and the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates.