Blog & Articles

Lost in Transition by Josie Firstbrook, MA, LACMH

Moving, starting college, graduation, getting married, having kids, beginning a new job, and retiring. All these events, and others, fall into the category of transitions. How do you like them? How do you manage?

While living overseas in Hefei, China, we received guidelines for transitions. Activities like saying good-bye to co-workers and visiting favorite places before going back to America were among the recommendations. We were also warned that we might need time for grieving and letting go of life as we knew it in China.

Sometimes it’s easier just not to form attachments at all. However, life can get pretty lonely if you go that route. Often problems with transition come when you don’t expect them. Missing your favorite part or person of whatever you have left behind can come as a surprise in your new situation. In addition, there is the factor of time. We often don’t give ourselves time to adjust, time to grieve our losses, etc.; we just keep on going.

William Bridges in his book, Transitions, Making Sense of Life’s Changes, claims that transition is more than change. “It (transition)… is the inner reorientation and self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life.” These progressions take time, and we are not always encouraged to talk about them in our culture. Furthermore, paying attention to our inner processes interrupts our day, and we would rather just go on to the next activity.

Some of the process in transition involves letting go, which is part of ending any relationship, work, or residence. During this time, we may feel the loss of what we have left more keenly simply because we have not yet replaced those aspects of our lives. It’s important to give ourselves time even though the in-between can often feel uncomfortable.

However, the comfort the believer has in all of this is that the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that He never leaves us. These assurances can help ease the discomfort we might feel during transition

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