“1 After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Get going . . . ‘ “(Joshua 1:1)
Some transitions in life are just really clear. Historically for the people of Israel, when one of their great patriarchs Moses dies, it is a clear and distinct line in the sand that things are going to change. It can’t be like it ‘used to be‘ because Moses is not in the land of the living and there is no evidence of a zombie apocalypse. Moses is dead, he isn’t coming back. His reign as a trusted leader is over, it’s not business as usual. He’s not going to make Israel great again, so now what? It’s unsettling, it’s confusing, it’s a time for many questions and can throw you right into a land of chaos and anxiety. How will it turn out? How will this end? Where does this bridge take us? What is the land like over there? Is it like the old way of life? Is it safe? Is it good? Do I want to go there? What can I trust?
Time of great transition can be very, very unsettling. I know because my family and I are in one. I’m here to testify to the great unsettling. I do find comfort in the fact that we aren’t the first ones to do a great life transition, it’s been done before and even studied as a psycho-emotional phenomenon. In 1991, William Bridges, wrote a book called ‘Managing Transitions’ in which he lays out the 3 stages humans go through in great times of transition. His focus is not on the external ‘change‘ that happens to you, but on the internal free choice to slowly and deliberately move through ‘transition‘. We can’t always control change (i.e. Moses is dead) but we can control what choices we make to transition internally. Focus is on transition, not change.
Bridges 3 step transition model is as follows:
- Ending, Losing and Letting Go – this is the human emotion area of fear, denial, anxiety, anger, sadness, frustration, loss etc. Until acceptance happens, we stay here.
- The Neutral Zone – the slow process of detachment with the old. Resentment towards change, low productivity, low morale, skepticism and anxiety about new roles. This can be opportunity for seeing things completely differently with new lenses altogether.
- The New Beginning – this is where acceptance leads to new and bright energy. Excitement over new roles, openness to new learnings and a renewed commitment to the group. When you get here . . . take time to mark the transition and celebrate!!!
Just because there is a marked process, it doesn’t mean to hurry up and get it over with. The process is it’s own learning, trust the process. Don’t look to get it over with, soak up the juices for the learnings that are in there, it’s part of the marrow of life. Take your time, take care of your emotional self, you are worth a healthy transition. Are you in great transition like me? Let’s cross the bridge slowly and deliberately . . . on the other end is a New Beginning and I’m believing it’s good.
“If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly
If you want your dream to be
Take your time, go slowly” –Little Church’ (Donovan Leitch)