I shared some behind-the-scenes true stories of my “fail” moments as a blogger with those who subscribe this week…which could be you too if you sign up here, but no one needs to know if you do or don’t. You are OK.

So, it’s 2018. I feel like I need to start there because I’m still living like it’s 2017. Even my Christmas decorations seem ready to move on, because I’m almost certain I’ve noticed them inch their own way to the storage closet, understandably tired of twinkling past their season.

If you walk with us on social media at all, you’ve learned this about me: I’m slow at change. But not just slow, I’m just not good at it. Transitions are tough for me, my emotions run deep and I am one uphill haul into hope for goodness yet ahead…even with the Maker of all Hope within me, it takes intention on my part to dig deep and root my faith in what is steady and unchanging.

Now 40 years in my skin I’ve learned a few things that help me in times of transition, maybe just a few, but they are good things. And they work well for helping those who feel thin in transition. And any transition really: from sleep to wake, from month-to-month, single to married, hunger to full, year-to-year, couch potato-to-5K or whathaveyou.

Here are a few of those things I’ve learned that have helped me go from being terrible to tolerant at change (we aren’t thriving yet, that may be a blog in my 50’s ya’ll…and it will likely be a holographic translation because we will be living in a real world Star Wars):

1. Just say ‘no’. I say ‘no’ to every commitment that makes me feel tired, except bathing my child, connecting with my man and showing up to my work (which we’ll talk about later). These are always things that are worth showing up to, even tired. We can always say ‘yes’ to commitments later, but rarely will I have regret for having more space in my day. I can think of no time ever. So embrace “JOMO” – the JOY of missing out, and give yourself the gift of wider margin, especially in transitions.

2. Just say ‘yes’. I say ‘yes’ to things that make me feel alive, except for sky diving. {This is just unreasonable in any season, at least according to my feet.} Mostly these things include group fitness with salsa music; people who ask me good questions, listen and then snort when they laugh; events involving my husband and no one else; or, things that bring great delight to us as a family. Another test is if I can say, “YES!” in all caps with exclamation, it is likely to be the kind of life-giving calendar occupant I need during a transition.

3. Meet with you. I schedule appointments with myself each week, even for an hour. The agenda: so, how are YOU doing? While we all want close friends who do this for us, and we reciprocate, there is often more to be said than we say when we are in a big transition, and we need a little extra attention for those wobbly places in our soul – so pay that attention. We don’t have to stay here forever, it is not narcissistic to ask ourselves what we need. King David asked his own soul why it was downcast, and instructed himself on what to do next to help him feel better. Talking to ourselves is not the craziest thing we will do during a transition, it could be the wisest thing we do!

4. Eat Word. I aim to read Scripture in some form every day, even for 5 minutes with a timer. Reading Scripture can “feel” like work when we have lists of things “to do”, like in a transition. We see a “study” unfinished, or let’s be honest – that we never started – or piles of them, and feel overwhelmed by how much “work” it is to “get into” God’s Word. Let this not be our way. Let’s instead meet with Someone, Jesus, and visit together simply and briefly until we get better acquainted in this new place. I just read a little something, or listen on an app or online to Scripture, and then think about it in my day. It’s as simple as this: my belly needs food and my soul needs Word, so I feed it in little bites until I can handle more. We like to say around here “plant small” because this is really all it takes for growth.

5. Soothing sounds. I play lots of music, and all kinds, but when things are feeling upside down I choose beautiful rhythms without words so my brain can take a deep breath in away from all the input of everything, allowing me to focus better on what is right in front of me. My daughter’s favorite ride tunes are hymns set to absolutely gorgeous meditative lullabies. I know. She’s adorable. Loud noises are “too much” and she will cry for me to put on “Be Still muskit Mommy, Be Still!” We all need this at some point, but especially in times of transition. By the way, here is the song she loves, and here is the album, because it is worth it for small and big kids!

6. Drink water. Drink more water than usual. I know, so simple, but it’s the small things that add up to big wins. Being on unfamiliar ground stresses my body, cortisone releases and adrenaline rushes more often, but water helps refresh and relax my body. I’m reminding my body that it will survive, water is near, everything is going to be OK. In fact, let’s go take a swig of water right now…I’m not going anywhere, take your time.

 

Wasn’t that good? If you skipped the water, you are such a rebel. But you are free, and I love it. Be free girl.

7. Remember God. Specifically, remember the times when God rescued you, showed up, made something lovely out of a train wreck…and then tell someone, write it out, put it into the air somehow so it goes from your memory into your muscles and strengthens your faith. When I look into an unknown future in this life, I’m vulnerable to fears of all kinds. One fear is that the sweetest seasons are behind me, and it’s nothing but labor and pain ahead. Right here though, if we are Christians we know this cannot be true, because eternity stretches before us always dangling hope for our future. Also though, we have been in hard places and dark nights before, and we are here today reading this together…so God has clearly gotten us through in some way, and can absolutely be there with us again in the future. If I don’t remember with intention though, I forget, especially when my season is in flux.

8. Eat well. Now don’t misread this, I didn’t say eat “…” according to a certain food regimen, that is a matter of personal conviction between you and the Maker of your body and maybe your physician, but whatever you eat, eat it WELL. Slow your bites, taste the flavors, imagine the nutrients working into your bloodstream, notice the smells, feel your mouth and throat and stomach taking in the food. Eating is so intimate, we are taking in substances that our body will turn around and use, our body depends on us to choose well, and our souls delight in us eating well.

9. Work. I talk a lot about resting, playing, slowing down and savoring, but work is what we are made for too. Each of us have a work to do in this life, and though it shape shifts in our seasons, it is our work. Our unique contributions draw out our strengths and giftings, and even if what we do doesn’t fully exercise all our strengths (jobs are imperfect and cannot always give us every outlet we need) we are most satisfied when we are doing what we are made to do in each season. For me, parenting is one of my core vocations because I have a toddler at home, but so is writing and speaking. I have chosen these, so embracing the good work to be done in these places is good for my soul and grounds me when a thousand options are flying during a time of transition. I root back in my work, I let it take a prominent place in my calendar after my soul and family, and before I know it I am more myself again. *Note, I root in my work for that season, not someone else’s or what I could be doing in another season. I find that the more I intentionally apply these 10 transitional helps, as well as others, the better able I am to recognize when I’m veering into a lane not meant for me…which is a common challenge when we face times of change!

10. I plan a trip. You heard me, I get out of Dodge. Transition can take it all out of us, but we will make it. We will find ourselves again, and though “ourselves” may be different, we will orient in our skin soon and resume subduing and ruling our land again with God guiding our way. But I have discovered it helps as I anticipate and wade through those changes of season, to have a time etched on the calendar for celebrating, for looking back from a higher vantage point at what has happened and cheer a little for having made it through changes. If I’m waking at home, the trip is to the coffee pot and the celebration is sweet. For a new year, it’s a little get-away with my husband, where we can catch our breath before going back in with strategic vision for where we are going in this new place…like 2018.

And this isn’t a surprise #11 tip for transitioning like a human person, but this is another practice I’ve employed for many years now. Though it is helpful and worth being #11, I know many people talk about it so you are probably over-versed in this method: I pick one word to guide me into the new season.

Some of my favorite years were REST and REMEMBER, last year it was RELEASE, and from the tone of this post today maybe you aren’t surprised by my guiding word for 2018:

NOURISH.

I’ll share how I’m experiencing this word this year as we go along, but may this word guide you too, through your transitions whatever they may be. May we NOURISH our soul, body, relationships, and even our calendar with the goodness that God has for us in vast supply.

Welcome, 2018. May we choose what will nourish…