4 Lessons on Transition in Life and Ministry
The winds of change blow from time to time in our lives. I am currently in a transitional season in my life. This process is producing some valuable lessons I thought I would share.
I have learned several things but for narrowed it down to four for this post.
1. Relationships are like bridges
And like bridges, they can have a lot of mileage on them. Keeping these relationships strong demands we inspect them so they are well maintained.
According to the Transportation for America, one in nine bridges are structurally deficient. In fact, there are 260 million trips per day on deficient bridges. Like bridges, our relationships can be deficient and still get the job done for a season.
I have seen many leaders light a bridge on fire. They watch it burn as it gets smaller in the rearview mirror. Then later in life, they need to cross that bridge to get to another destination.
If we want our relationships to survive through transitions and the test of time, we must inject intentionality into their survival.
2. It’s easy to make assumptions
In horse racing, almost everyone in attendance are guessing at who will win the race. The oddsmakers and commentary fill the air but only the people closest to each horse know the real story.
A horse’s health and age can easily be identified by its teeth so the only people who are really “in the know” are the trainers and stable hands. “Straight from the horses mouth” is a phrase we have seen as early as the 1913 in the Syracuse Herald.
During seasons of transitions there can be a lot of commentary and info swirling around. Assumptions are for oddsmakers and spectators but not healthy leaders.
Transitions are very much a fluid environment. Things are changing emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s best not to make rash assumptions about anything or anyone.
3. This is NOT about you
Human beings have a tendency to overstate our impact. We look at what we have done for a church, organization or team. I know many leaders (myself included one time), who delayed a transition because we thought if we left, “it would all fall apart.”
We convince ourselves that no one else is capable or available to do as good a job as we did. The core of this is pride, sometimes veiled with a splash of moral obligation.
God is not bound by our accomplishments, he is the source of them. You are the nurturer of an opportunity not the originator of it.
Your transition hasn’t caught God off guard. Chances are, He has been preparing someone else for this new season while speaking to you about yours.
4. This is about you
In the old testament, Jonathan teaches us a lot about leadership and what John Maxwell calls, “The Law of the Lid.”
He was the son of King Saul and the blood heir to the throne. He was also a close friend to David, who was anointed to be the next king of Israel.
He could have been intimidated and threatened by his young shepherd friend who allegedly would take his spot. Instead, he embraced God’s plan.
At some point, we can become the lid on what God wants to do at your church, organization or business.
By staying, you are preventing progress and not allowing others to do what God has called them to do. Let us not be lids to the potential of others.
Get out of the way.
In seasons of transition, our goal should be to love and lead with honor and stability for the good of the organization, ourselves and our families.
These are some things I am learning. I would love to hear about what you have learned along the way. Comment below.