I went on an 11 month mission trip to 11 different countries. When I made my return back to the states I experienced a transition. I was transitioning from being in 3rd world countries for almost a year to a first world country where not much had changed since I had left. I was changed spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
I struggled with this transition. I felt alone, as though no one understood what I was going through, and I had no idea what my purpose was, and where to pick up with my life. I had seen kids living on the streets, bar girls being sold into the sex trade, people living in pieces of trash they configured into a structure to call home. I gained a global perspective and I didn’t know how to handle it when I returned “ home.”
Have you experienced a transition in your life? Chances are you have whether it be moving out of your parents’ home, going to college, turning 21, graduating from college and figuring out your career, moving back in with your parents, getting married, living overseas. You are not alone.
About one-third of twenty-somethings move to a new residence every year.
40% move back home with their parents at least once, and go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s. Things have changed over time and we are approaching older ages as we transition through milestones. In 1960, 77% of women and 65 % of men by the age of 30 had completed school, left home, became financially independent, married and had a child. In 2000, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had completed any of these milestones. (The New York Times Magazine).
As you can see and may have experienced, twenty-somethings go through many transitions, and to society as Yale psychologist Kenneth Keniston states, “can’t seem to settle down.” We need to make sure we are going about these transitions the best way possible. Transition is not easy. You are leaving something familiar behind whether it was good or bad, and moving towards something unknown. If this is you, here are some questions you should be asking yourself to let go of the past and move towards the future.
1. What have I learned in the season I am leaving behind?
This will help you sort through the past. Why would you need to do? Because this is an important part of growth. You are not the same person you were in the last season you were in and now is the time to figure out how you have grown and who you are. Write down all the lessons whether good or bad.
2. What mistakes have I made and how can I learn from them?
Don’t look at mistakes as failures, but as opportunities for growth. You will never know how to do something if you do not try. If you make a mistakes it’s a good indicator to not to do that particular thing again, however do not beat yourself up for making that mistake. Learn for it and make a change. Write them out.
3. What emotions am I feeling as I leave the past?
There will be emotions tied to what you are leaving behind. Whether those emotions are sadness, excitement, regret, you name it you must let it all go. Leave the past the past. What you have done in the past should not define who you are. Imagine carrying a back pack full of regret from past mistakes. It’s heavy and weighing you down. Instead of walking into this new season with your head high, you walk in with your head low looking defeated. Is this how you want to enter the new season? Write down your emotions and ask yourself: Why am I feeling this? What should I do with these emotions? Should I ride the wave and work through them? Should I let them go and give them to Jesus?
4. What am I looking forward to in the next season?
This is a fresh start, a new beginning. Looking ahead once you have let go of the past will help you to prepare yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. No, you may not have all the answers and may not know what is up ahead, but you can prepare your state of mind. Stay positive. Write everything down!
5. What emotions am I feeling moving into this new season?
Emotions are a huge part of our being. It is important to address any emotions we are feeling instead of stuffing them. Believe me I have been an emotional stuffer my whole life until God called me deeper and I realized He has given us emotions to connect with Him. Emotions are not a bad thing, but we need to know how to handle them in a healthy way. These emotions may be excitement, anxiety, scared. But I can tell you if you address these emotions your anxiety and being scared could turn into more excitement.
As I was living back at my parent’s house after my 11 months overseas, I sat and contemplated my life. This was a time all I knew to do was to cling onto Jesus. Most of my days I spent crying out to him, asking him what I should do with my life, listening for his direction. I felt alone and yet Jesus was with me the whole time. I started my transition by giving myself a goal of moving out of my parent’s house in 3 months. I allowed myself the first month and a half to process and ask myself questions to propel me forward. The next month and a half I began searching for jobs in the city I knew God wanted me to move to. And I did it! I moved out after 3 months!
You may be in an unknown season and have no idea what’s coming but God does. Sit and be with him. Spend time with him. He will give you the direction you need, however you have to do the leg work.