Transition

For so long, the word transition felt to me like a more gentle way of saying, “abrupt life change.”

Growing up, my dad was constantly being transferred to different locations for his job, and I lived in four different states and another country by the time I was 11 years old. The times we moved when I wasn’t too young to comprehend it, my parents would always sit me and my younger sister down and approach the conversation by saying our family was coming into a “transition.” The last time we moved (which was back to Georgia where my parents both grew up) they started by asking me and my sister “If we were to move to any state, where would you want to live?” My sister’s eyes lit up and she exclaimed “Hawaii!” I pondered my answer for a minute and said, “Georgia, because that’s where all of our family lives.” Then my parents response was, “Well, we’re moving to Georgia.” I started crying at the dinner table, which kind of surprised my parents since Georgia was where I told them I wanted to live. I was so upset because I had just gotten to the point where I felt I had consistent friendships in Tennessee, and now, in the middle of my 6th grade year, my parents were having me uproot my life.

For so long, I associated heartache with transition. I associated it with the uncomfortable feeling of being the “new kid” and being left out instead of looking at transition as an opportunity for growth and new perspective.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Usually, processing the transition of a move came for me after the fact. So as I am now in a season of transition as I’m about to graduate from UGA, I feel this whole year has been stages of getting to process with God what transitioning can actually look like.

The beginning of last semester through the end of February this semester was a lot of figuring out what is next for me. I was frustrated because so many of my friends at least knew that things like grad school or getting a job were their next step, but for me there were too many possibilities, all of which overwhelmed me, and so for those six or seven months I prayed A LOT into what my direction should be (Side note: I am so excited that I will now get to be interning at Wesley next year!).

The past month and now moving forward into the next month and a half or so, I have begun and want to continue praying into my friendships and how those are going to look different and how what I’ve learned in the past few years is going to translate to the rest of my life.

Something in college that was different for me is that I made a lot of my friends my freshman and sophomore year, and I am so grateful that I’ve gotten to experience the season of college in its entirety with them. I have been honored to get to walk with them in a season that I feel has been one of the most transformational for me. They have challenged me and pointed me to Christ, and that is something I prayed for years to find in friends. As some of us will be in Athens, and others are moving to different states for grad school and jobs, it is exciting to think about visiting each other, but it’s also scary to say “I don’t know what the day to day is going to look like.” I’ve started to pray about this aspect of transition, and it is cool to experience God inviting me into praying for them in different ways than I did before and being assured that while getting to be with them physically isn’t going to be as consistent, it’s going to be that much sweeter when we do reunite or get to catch up on FaceTime.

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.”

As I also process what God has taught me over the course of time I have been in college, it seems there is so much to unpack. My human brain so desperately wants to organize all of the knowledge I have gathered into neat little boxes so I can draw on those things in the seasons to come. However, I think that’s where the idea of transition truly comes into play. When we are moving from one phase of life to another, it doesn’t have to feel abrupt. We have the opportunity to take smaller parts of our life and begin to ask God about them and begin to understand and grow in these things through the lens of peace described in Philippians 4:6-7. And as we move into the next season, we can revisit these things with Him or if we feel ready, move on to processing other aspects of our lives with Him.

Author |  Emma Kate Shelton

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