Saturday, September 25, 2010

Touching Base! Part 99

Ever Experienced Transition?
(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Like it or not, here comes change. No season stands still, no circumstance lasts forever. Death itself will bring the ultimate change, but while on earth, our lives are often blessed, rocked and turned upside down because of transition.

Transition involves experiencing change, often loss:
  • The loss of a role
  • The loss of a person
  • The loss of a place
  • The loss of your sense of where you fit in the world

Some transitions can be exciting and hope-filled, other kinds of transition can be dark and despairing. Some transitions can represent places where we find ourselves surrounded by friends and family, and other transitions can be very lonely experiences. Some transitions we choose, we plan for, and we welcome, other kinds of transitions are forced upon us, and come our way without an invitation.

What is your transition?

This past Sunday we talked about how transitions represent seasons in our lives when our worlds change and our hearts can be open to a deeper work of God.
The question was: what are you learning in your transition?

Image #1 - Changing planets

Some transitions we walk through can feel like we have changed planets. It is not necessarily “bad” or “not welcome”. Think of the student who goes from a high school in her hometown, to moving away and arriving on a campus of several thousand students. That’s a “small planet, big planet” transition. What about the person who experiences a job promotion or who just got married or the young couple who just had a baby. That can seem like a completely new planet!

As you think of your life, what have been some of the transitions that felt like you were living on a completely new planet? Focus on the positive transitions.

Read the following texts on change and how God controls our times – Eccl. 3: 1-8, Daniel 2:21, Psalm 31:14,15. How has God taken you deeper with Himself when you changed planets?

On Sunday we talked about one of the dangers of some transitions being the removal of accountability structures or friendships that may have kept us on track and keen for God. This especially applies to students moving away to attend school. What are other dangers we need to be aware of?

Image #2 - Drop in Altitude

While changing planets may be a positive, a drop in altitude refers to transitions that are unwelcome and wear us down.

What are some of the tough transitions in life that can feel like a drop in altitude?
On Sunday I read Psalm 102:1-11. Read this text and talk about what images, feelings and expressions you can relate with when in this kind of transition. How has God taken you deeper with Himself in these tough kinds of transitions?

The danger when we drop in altitude is that we can become marked and even defined by some of the negative emotion that surrounds us. I talked about how if we are not careful we can become “water-logged” with the negative stuff that is thrown in our face.

What are you doing to guard your spirit as you have experienced a drop in altitude?
Who have you surrounded yourself with that can speak words of life and hope into your soul?

Image #3 - The Slinky Factor

One of the truths that transitions teach us is that we are complex people. The slinky illustrates our complexity. Ever watched a slinky go down the stairs? The front part “arrives” on the step below first, and it’s then followed by the rest of the body of the slinky. It is not instantaneous, and it takes time for the whole slinky to arrive on the next step. We are much like that. In some transitions, we can find that while we are physically present in our new surrounding, we are very much still not fully “present” (emotionally, mentally etc.) It can take a while for all of us (singular) to arrive.

Read Psalm 137:1-6. What are the Israelites longing for? What part of them is really not fully present in Babylon?

What transitions illustrate the Slinky Factor?
Some examples…
  • A person has just moved to Kingston yet they are still very much still back home in their heart and mind.
  • The loss of a spouse makes us realize how long it takes for our “insides” to catch up with our external reality of one less person living in the home.

The danger of this kind of transition is when we don’t give ourselves the space or permission to catch up, i.e. when we don’t do the hard work of processing.

How can we give ourselves space on this issue? What can a person do to help the process along?

As a group, ask yourselves the question: is there anybody at Bethel, at work, in your neighbourhood that could use some help as they work through transition?


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