I’m in a life transition now. Maybe you are too.
A transition is simply this: something in our lives has ended (or is about to end), but we still don’t know what will take its place. We’re stuck in the middle, where most of us don’t want to be. Your transition could be:
- A period of unemployment.
- The moment you realize you need to change jobs but don’t know where to start.
- The inception of a new business.
- When you’re nearing graduation and begin to realize the wider world is on the horizon.
Don’t be surprised if you feel afraid during the stress of a transition. It’s normal, even if your fears are irrational.
In the movie The Intern, Ben (Robert De Nero) and Jules (Anne Hathaway) provide us with an enlightening example of how our fears can get the better of us.
Jules is confiding to Ben that she knows her husband is cheating on her. Her mind, churning with anxiety, begins to spin out of control.
If we get divorced, he’d re-marry, maybe not to this girl but to someone. And we both know that I’m not easy. So, I could be, like, single forever, which means that, forgive me, but this, like, does keep me up in the middle of the night.
I don’t want to be buried alone. Paige will be with her husband, and Matt’ll be with his new family, and I will be buried with strangers. I will be buried in the strangers’ single section of the cemetery.
When Jules starts speaking, she’s in a difficult situation with her husband. Within seconds, however, she imagines herself divorced, lonely for the rest of her life, then dead and buried alone!
It’s an illogical pattern, but I’ve done it. Maybe you have too. We all have similar fears. We work to suppress them — or at least to keep them hidden. Under the stress of a transition, though, they come out irrationally.
When we look back, it’s easier to realize how wrong we were. But in the moment, it’s hard to see clearly.
- The person in a job search is convinced they’ll never find the right job — or any job at all.
- The person whose leader left the company is convinced they’ll never work for someone as good again.
- The person experiencing a divorce believes they’ll never love again.
In most cases, there is no rational evidence to support those feelings. That doesn’t mean these fears don’t persist!
Don’t discount the role of the devil either. Satan doesn’t want you to stay connected with God. If the enemy can get inside your head, he’ll work to keep you from trusting the Lord. He may even try to get you to walk away from God at a time you need your Heavenly Father the most.
So then, what can you do when your mind is spinning out of control?
You have to get those thoughts out of your head somehow. I suggest starting with a God-conversation. Give it to Him — He’s ready.
You can close the door and tell Him every deep fear you have. You can write it in a journal. Or talk it through with your spouse or a close friend.
Don’t hold back the tears either! Tears can help. Do whatever you need to do to get those thoughts out of your inner darkness and into the daylight.
Then, add a dose of scripture, remembering God’s promises to be with us through all our trials:
- Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Remember: when your fears are about things that haven’t happened (and likely won’t) … live today and let God worry about tomorrow.
Dale Kreienkamp is a keynote speaker, Human Resources consultant, and the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.