I was reading an old journal from last year today, and came across this Word from the Lord given May 19, 2018:
“Sit in Me, Son. Last night you sat in self and listened to the self. Sit in Me. Abide. Don’t seek life apart from Me. Abide. Be planted. Tabernacle in Me. Set up house. Find your hope and reality.
Discover your life in Me. Be, Son. Be. You are so valuable.
Rest. You matter son. You are so gifted. I’m proud of you. Rest. Discover Me. Be still in Me.”
As we walk this year together, and become a people who are listening together for the voice of God into our hearts and lives, we get to learn to sit in Jesus, to rest in Him. I loved the contrast Jesus painted in this word between “sitting in myself” and “sitting in Him.” We can “sit in self” in many ways -- through self reliance, through medicating or avoiding emotion, through pride, through any path of addiction, through tuning in to the monologue of the heart and not tuning into the song of heaven. That night a year ago, it was by tuning into my negative heart narratives.
For us, this next season together, is a season of transition. It is one in which we need to be tuning well into Jesus.
Transitions and changes are challenging, but are great opportunities to process emotion together, to say the things we have not said and need to say to one another, to practice well what it means to say goodbye to a season. Saying goodbye is essential in order to say “hello” to the next season yet coming.
Sometimes we do transitions in life poorly -- we neglect to end one season before entering the new one, in divorce and remarriage that could be called rebounding. At other times we might want to rush past the discomfort of the lostness or emptiness we might feel before the next season starts, because it is hard!
In his book called Transitions William Bridges writes about the challenge of doing transitions well. He gives an assignment to look back and identify places where there was an ending and a new beginning in life. Here’s his question: “At what points could you use the phrase ‘A new chapter in my life opened when…’?”
Some of my list were: Abuse, High school, Switzerland, Bookselling in Iowa, Marriage, Death of parents, Seminary, first pastorate, etc.
If you made that list, what might you notice about how you did those transitions. Did you just jump one thing to the next, or did you allow yourself to experience the change in life?
He writes: “First there is an ending, then a beginning, and an important empty or fallow time in between. That is the order of things in nature. Leaf-fall, winter, then the green emerges again from the dry brown wood. Human affairs flow along similar channels, or they would if we were better able to stay in that current. But endings make us fearful. They break our connection with the setting in which we have come to know ourselves, and they awaken old memories of hurt and shame. Growing frightened, we are likely to try to abort the three-phase process of ending, lostness, and beginning…” (both p 17).
This is a transition year.
We all need to be aware that grief will take process for all of us and will look different in each of us. Remember those stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. They don’t necessarily come in order, and also can repeat. So, the best advice with the emotions of endings is this: When you hit the emotions, feel them.
As a transitional time, it is a time to invest into the community in which God has placed us, sitting with one another and remaining in Jesus to listen as He whispers His grace and direction into our lives: “Sit in Me. Last night you sat in self… Sit in Me.”
The church council has formed a transitions team which will be meeting to plan how we can work together as a community to walk through the process of ending, or saying goodbye, or finishing well, then through some sense of lostness, and then a new beginning, as you get to welcome a new pastor and new season of ministry together with the person God is bringing.
To do this year well, to grow through it means we need to all walk together in this.
I invite you into the real and essential season of transition that we might do well what God is calling us to do together in this season to become the people God desires we become through this season.
At the end of the year, when July 2020 arrives, we all might need to feel more emotions, especially then. There is no leap-frog jump into the new, walk slowly, and through all this let’s remember that line I came back saying from my sabbatical camino: Stay with your feet.
You cannot be anyplace but where your feet are. Unfortunately when we “sit in self” we are anywhere but “with our feet.” So, sit in Jesus, listen for Him to speak and let’s keep walking and feeling together.
Love to you all -- Brian