Don’t Freak Out When You’re in Transition

Three years ago this month, my wife and I packed our belongings and made the biggest move of our lives. After living in Florida for 24 years, we pulled up our roots and relocated to Georgia. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because I’m a sentimental guy who gets very attached to people and places. Yet I found extra grace for this transition because I knew I was following the Holy Spirit.

By J. Lee Grady

Counselors say relocation is one of the most stressful things in life—ranking right up there with the death of a loved one. It’s a huge combination of stressors—selling a house, buying or renting a new house, hiring movers, leaving friends and stepping into the dark unknown. Not fun!

Little did I know that the stress of this transition would be made worse by the loss of my father in 2018 and the loss of my wife’s mother just two weeks ago. To make things worse, my own mother is in hospice care now. Deaths or illness of family members can make us feel rootless and unsettled.

Perhaps you are about to step into a transition—or are already in the middle of one. I’m comforted by the fact that the Bible is full of people who were directed by God to move. Abraham, the father of our faith, began his spiritual odyssey when the Lord said: “Go from your country … to the land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1b).

When God wanted to do something really important, like start a new nation that would serve Him, it began with a relocation. Spiritual blessings often aren’t realized until someone moves! Moses had to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. David had to move to Jerusalem. And Jesus’ last words to His disciples were about moving to foreign countries.

If you are in a season of transition, consider these helpful steps:

1. Be brave. When Joshua was preparing to relocate the people of Israel to Canaan, God said three times: “Be strong and courageous” (Josh. 1:6a, a7, 9b). Moving requires a leap of faith, and doubters always get cold feet. Has God given you a big promise about the land you are about to possess? Don’t be surprised if the devil tries to make you fearful. Take a deep breath, resist fear and forge ahead.

2. Take one step at a time. Moving isn’t just one decision; it’s a tangled mess of many decisions that can overwhelm you. You don’t have to handle everything at once. The Bible says you are not on your own; you don’t have to figure out your relocation plan by yourself. You have a Shepherd, and He is good. He leads you “beside still waters” and He guides you “in paths of righteousness” (Ps. 23:2-3). Trust your Shepherd’s leading. He will make your transition peaceful.

3. Let go of the old. When God wanted to bless Naomi, He told her to leave the forsaken land of Moab and move to Bethlehem. Her Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth pledged to go with her, but her other daughter-in-law, Orpah, stayed behind. Orpah couldn’t tear herself away from her culture, even though God was doing good things for His people in Bethlehem (Ruth 1:14-16).

Sometimes when God calls us to a new place in the Spirit, we discover that we are hindered by many soulish distractions. You must love Jesus more than you love your comfort zone. It’s good to have roots in a place, but you must never let those roots become stronger than your willingness to follow God anywhere.
I have also learned that since I began putting down roots in my new town, the process of “settling” takes time. You don’t immediately find the right church and the right relationships. Don’t let fee