Moving Forward Through A Season of Change
Three times the date had to be changed.
Every time I sat in denial. I had been single for over 20 years and launched 4 children into adulthood. Now it was my turn to be honored as the bride.
I had dreamed of celebrating this momentous event with all of my children and grandchildren gathered around. I had planned for friends to join in the celebration with glitter and bubbles.
The Coronavirus seemed dead set against me enjoying the wedding celebration I longed for.
I became angry and sullen.
This virus was robbing me of my day in the spotlight and an opportunity to be with all of the people I loved.
However, as I moved through my resentment and grief and stepped into becoming Mrs. Hughes, I knew the season of change was only beginning.
I celebrated the event by sprinkling glitter all over my new husband as I committed to bring sparkle and shine into his life from 'this day forward, until death do us part.’
Before embarking on this major life transition, I spent countless hours with friends, counselors, and my fiance, creating a vision for who I wanted to be as a wife.
Seasons of change happen.
There are times when a major life transition sweeps us up in the wave of the great unknown. We are thrust into something NEW and unexpected. Often, uncertainty of the future wants to overwhelm us, sink our ship, or get us off course. Change can be a marriage, a new department head, the loss of a loved one, a birth, moving (across town or the country), buying an animal, children graduating, ending a toxic relationship, etc. Change can be good; something we choose. Or, change can be negative, something that happens to us.
But seasons of change happen.
Stages of change are very similar to grief, because change typically involves a loss of some kind. Even with a great change such as marriage or a birth, there is loss involved: loss of life as we knew it, loss of personal space, loss of sleep, etc.
Knowing the stages of change can help bring normalcy to our lives and the lives of those we have influence over.
Denial - During this phase, it may seem as if everything is ok, that change is not really going to happen or happening. People tend to live in the past or try to maintain the status quo.
Resistance - Often, as this stage begins, blame is shifted to someone or something else which allows for the lingering of the denial. Morale may become low, performance decreases, and anxiety may increase. Anger and depression are can be the go-to emotions we choose.
Exploration - After the challenges of resistance, questions such as, "what would it be like if we embraced the change?" begin to surface.
Commitment - Change is accepted and hope for the future is embraced. Productivity may still be low, but there are signs of recovery evolving.
Moving through these stages will look different for the various changes of life. There is no formula for processing through a change successfully.
Following are some questions to consider as you assess a change you are currently in, or a change that is on the horizon.
WHERE I AM AT?
No matter the WHY change is happening, it is important to stop and take inventory of the structures and support systems that are already a part of life. Taking account of these structures can aid in maintaining a sense of 'sameness' or stability. This sense of stability will help maintain peace of mind for ourselves, our family, or team members
Questions to consider:
As a woman, where am I at in my emotional well-being?
What healthy habits are a part of my life?
Where am I at in my important relationships?
What are the relationships that I value and want to hold onto right now?
Typically, change brings a limitation of time and emotional capacity. We slow down. Some relationships may have to take a backseat during a season of change.
Where am I at physically, my job, my residence, etc.?
WHERE DO I WANT TO GO?
Even in negative or bad change, we get to decide where we want the change to take us.
The international Coronavirus Pandemic brought an onslaught that no one could escape. As schools, businesses, and gathering places shut down, immediate decisions had to be made. Although many decisions were made for us, we still made choices which affected our families and careers.
Many people have said "when things get back to normal,” change is about embracing a NEW NORMAL.
Questions to consider:
What would I like to see on the other side of this change?
What will my new normal look like?
WHO DO I WANT TO BE?
We also have the opportunity to allow the season of change to make us or mold us into someone more beautiful.
The process of removing the impurities from gold involves increasing the heat so that impurities rise to the top and can be removed. God often uses the uncomfortable fires of change to remove the impurities in our lives…IF WE LET HIM. Even good changes, such as a birth or new job can 'turn up the heat,’ and suddenly we are confronted with the not so lovely aspects of our character.
Knowing what we want to look like on the other side of change can help determine how we will embrace the change, and how successfully we can move through the change.
Questions to consider:
What do I want to look like on the other side of this change?
How will I respond to the fire?
What impurities are surfacing?
What is God showing me about myself?
Will I allow the impurities to surface and be skimmed off?
WHO IS WITH ME?
Involving others in your season of change takes courage.
Because a season of change can involve a lot of emotional energy, it is important that we obtain the support we need. Women are often concerned about being too emotional; we suppress and stuff our feelings. In the DENIAL stage, we are able to resume life as normal, therefore, there may not be an awareness that we are stuck, until much later.
Finding the right coach, counselor, mentor, or friend will be an invaluable asset to your journey.
As a coach, I guide and encourage women through a season of change. I bring my belief that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:38 NASB) And from that perspective, I empower women to assess, acknowledge, and allow change to happen.
Together we discover that CHANGE CAN BE A JOYFUL JOURNEY.
What season of change are you in? How have these questions assisted you in evaluating your ability to move forward through the season?
What other questions help you navigate through your seasons of change?