Not everything is changing. We are still with the same organization. We continue in the same ministry, and are not planning to move. So a lot remains the same.
But after 15 years in the same role, I am transitioning from it. It is a good time for it. Knowing that, I also know transitions are never easy. My emotions fluctuate! Sadness, hope, excitement, fear, a sense of lostness and yet purposefulness! See what I mean by tangled emotions? Transition includes grieving losses; adjusting to new normals; relishing new opportunities. All at the same time!
The future, like the picture above is green, filled with promise and life. There is a path, but it’s foggy ahead. Walking into the unknown can be unsettling.
There is grief in letting go of what I know and have enjoyed doing for a long time. I am comfortable. I’ve loved big picture thinking and the opportunities to meet so many of our co-workers around the world. I enjoy knowing what to do and having my routine. I’ve relished regular interaction with other women leaders and building those relationships. I will miss the comfort of the known. Transition appears to be moving from what is mostly known to what is less known. My soul twinges in uneasiness. I will miss what was.
The unknown doesn’t always feel scary. I also get excited. There is hopeful dreaming of what is to come. I have a few projects in mind that thrill me. Writing and developing more resources! Mentoring others! Teaching and training opportunities! The prospect of investing in those newer to cross-cultural service energizes me. It is meaningful to think that I can use what I have learned through life and ministry to walk alongside others in their ministry journeys around the world. The ripple effect is appealing. My heart beats a little faster. I anticipate what could be.
Forging ahead through grief with hope, it is sometimes confusing to separate who I am with what I do. One thing God has taught me, and I continue to learn, is that my value to him isn’t based on what I do. God doesn’t love me more when I do well and love me less when I fail. He loved me when I was his enemy. He loves me as his daughter. His love never fluctuates. It is constant. The ministry roles I have do not define me. My position or title doesn’t indicate my worth. What matters is who I serve and how I do so.
As I transition into another chapter of ministry, I plan to focus on three short reminders. I jotted them down in my prayer journal so I won’t forget. They are true through every stage of life and ministry, but vital to contemplate as I move forward.
In your ways. By your power. For your glory.
In your ways: God’s ways are different from mine. He has a much larger perspective. His perfect plan uses people and world events to accomplish his purposes. I confess, I do not always understand his plan! But depending on my own wisdom and wanting my own way is foolhardy in a walk of faith. I choose to trust God and his ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
By your power: I cannot do things on my own. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) I am not the vine; I am a branch. Even on my good days I am not enough. My strength is puny, my will power is not dependable. Life and ministry must be empowered by the Lord. I recognize my limitations, and by his grace, I remain in him.
For your glory: This life isn’t about me. My gifts. My roles. My contributions. My vision. My past, present or future. I can have all these things, but none of it is for me or because of me. I am not in a competition with others to see who is ‘the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’! All I have is from God. As I recognize that and choose to trust him through everything, he will be honored. I desire his glory.
Paul ends a doxology he wrote in Romans 11:33-36 with, “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
Transition is another opportunity to walk by faith as a follower of Jesus. When it feels right or messed up. When I miss the comfort and am leery about the unknowns. When I am scared or excited. Whatever I am feeling, by faith I take the next step trusting in the One who goes before me.
In his ways, by his power and for his glory.