This is the first in a special series on transitions by guest blogger Rev. Dianne Lawhorn.
For UMC pastors, we’re all heading into a new conference year. And for many of us, we’ll be moving on to new appointments, which means that we might find ourselves in the midst of a season of change.
We may find ourselves longing for the familiar during this time. While we are hopeful that this season will have gifts to offer, we are quite unsure of what those gifts will be. We find ourselves living in the land of the unknown, where uncertainty resides. As we hang on to the land we once knew, while traversing into a new land, we find ourselves feeling very much “in-between.” The in-between space can feel like a strange place, but there is much we can learn if we “lean into it.”
We live a seasonal faith. With the change of seasons, there is a grief that goes along with letting go of the season that has just passed. And there is a hope that we may grasp hold to the new season that’s arriving to replace the old.
Here are some questions that we might ask ourselves during this time:
What if we don’t want to move onto a new season?
What if we don’t feel ready for it?
What if we’d rather hang onto the season that has just passed?
While we do have the option of holding onto the past, we also realize that it’s better for us to let go of the past and take hold of the future. There is much we can learn from the seasonal nature of our faith that can help us in the midst of transition. Here is a quote from a favorite author of mine about the opportunities that each season brings:
“Each season bares a worthiness all its own… we live a seasonal faith and with that living, comes a time for everything—every joy, pain, frustration, surrender, sorrow, and celebration. Nothing in our lives is exempt from the cyclical process of our winter, spring, summer, and fall. We can choose to walk through these seasons, with little or no effect to our hearts, but we cannot deny the possibility of growth extended to us because of them. Each season of our lives is rife with eternal possibilities. The soul shift happens when we bow low and lean into those possibilities.” -Elaine Olsen
I love that last line, the soul shift happens when we bow low and lean into those possibilities. Our scripture tells us for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. That means that there is even a time for change, but change is scary, no matter how you want to slice it!
I leave you with these questions for the week:
- So, what are your tasks in this season of change?
- What is it time for now- in this in-between space?
Dianne is currently the Minister of Spiritual Formation for the Lydia Group which is a resource for spiritual wholeness offering formational teaching, retreat leadership, and spiritual direction.
Image by Flickr user Rick Harris, via CC