This is the second in a special series on Transitions by guest blogger Rev. Dianne Lawhorn. Read the first installment here.
Last week, I left you with a question: What is it time for now- in the midst of this in-between space?
The first task is that of grieving. This is a time to allow yourself to feel whatever feelings you are having about this change. It’s not a time to ignore those feelings; you should name them, as you recognize them, as real and significant. It’s important to acknowledge the sense of loss that comes with any change, with the ending of any season. There’s always a measure of anxiety that comes with change because we are facing the unknown. We have a choice about what we do with that anxiety. We can ignore it, unknowingly act it out, or simply choose to hold the anxiety. Acknowledging our anxiety gives us permission to grieve the end of the past season.
This is also a time to honor the passing season, to celebrate the past! It’s a time to honor all of the experiences that you’ve enjoyed with your former community of faith. It’s a time to honor the times you’ve been there for each other and all that you’ve learned from each other. It’s a time to celebrate what you’ve accomplished together and to honor the difference you’ve made in each other’s lives.
This is also a time for personal reflection. It’s a time to remember who you are as a pastor. You might think about what your strengths are. You might recall those teachable moments in your ministry that made you better. It’s helpful to find new ways to talk about your challenges that invite growth and discovery, energizing you for the future. You might consider what you have already overcome, what ground you’ve already trod. It’s also helpful to recall those moments where you embodied your best self, where you behaved as if you were who you want to become. This reflection becomes a resource to help us get through transition.
This is also a time for hope. It’s a time to allow yourself to dream a little bit as you look forward to what’s possible for the future. It’s a time to remember that your story is not over! As we consider our hopes and dreams, we have the opportunity to live into them. When we live into them, they can shape our destiny. They can serve as a bridge to connect past and future. They can help us to determine who God is calling us to become in this next phase of our ministry. This is something that we can really get excited about!
Some questions you might use in your discernment are:
Where am I now? What do I really want? What is my next right step?
Photo by Flickr user Alex de Carvalho, via CC