This faith post usually comes out on Friday but this week we are starting with an insightful post, about that time between now and your next big move, to go with your well deserved Monday morning cup of coffee. Having just come out of yet another huge transition, I am starting my second hectic week at my new job after 18 months of being unemployed. My body is still adjusting to the shock of it all but I am happy.
Today's post is very dear to my heart because it has to do with something I have experienced and had very little guidance during it. How do you prepare for your next big move when you don't exactly know what that may be or even more agonizing to know "when"? You know that time in which life hands you a clean slate, a possibility of a fresh start and while that is an exciting prospect, it is also really scary. It is usually a time of searching and unending questioning combined with dreaming of possibilities. I can think of a couple of times when I stood in that "in between" time of my life in which I felt like I had no purpose and no clear path to follow in terms of what I wanted my next step to be.
Make peace with the previous chapter in preparation for the next
We have all gone through experiences in which we voluntarily or involuntarily find ourselves at the end of a season. Regardless of how much time of preparation we have for the change to come, it is never as easy as we make it to be. When we wrap up a career, end a relationship or just move on to a different time in our lives there's always some sort of a grieving period. I am a firm believer that we must allow ourselves to grieve for a time, but after, we have it is important to make peace with the past. I have found that the best way to do that is by appreciating the good that happened and forgiving what did not go our way and letting it go. Easier said than done, but we never gain from dwelling on negative feelings. Forgiveness heals.
Surround yourself with the right people
Success is way sweeter when we have the right people to share it with. However, most people that I love and value are the ones that believed, encouraged and prayed for and with me before I reached my goal or before my next step was defined. It has been important for me to surround myself with a few people that speak truth and push me to thrive in that "in between" time when I've been haunted by so many unanswered questions, paralyzing fear and countless doubts. I love the Jess Lively Show (which is a podcast) and every time I hear all those inspiring success stories, they are always closely related to those few people that give you a gentle nudge and encourage you to pursue your new dream, that hold your hand when you are insecure or overwhelmed with having too many options to choose from or that offer a shoulder to cry on when the door we were hoping would open doesn't.
I would like to share a piece of advice that I have learned the hard way. In the period of time when you walking towards an exciting new chapter, be cautious on who you let in on the secret. At the beginning stage of your plans there are many little details that are not clearly defined yet and not everyone can handle that. I've learned to choose a few wise, prayerful people that genuinely love me and have proven to love see me succeed.
Explore and prepare
The first five months of my time here was what I have described above. I felt aimless, even useless at times. I went through a lot of transitions at once, (I talk more about it here) and as a result, those first months were really about exploring my new environment because I had "nowhere" specific to be and that was such a big change that I had a lot of quiet time that allowed me to tinker with more creative things that I always wanted to do but never felt like I had the time. So to anyone going through something similar, I would suggest that you explore, take a class, volunteer, work out, learn something new or get better at something you have always wanted to have time for. As you engage your environment you will meet new people and your transition will just go a bit smoother.
Once you choose at least an element of what your next step will be, go for it! If are in a (what I call an agonizing) waiting period (like waiting for a job, visa, acceptance letter, etc) prepare for it to the best of your ability. This can make a big difference and can really allow you to see whether this is the direction you want to go.
Pray and meditate
For me praying for guidance has always taken some of the anxiety that comes as a result of my "control freak" personality. In my quiet time with God during that "searching" time, I found peace and you will too. Meditating on scripture and just feeding myself with its positive and challenging truth has really kept me strong during the most uncertain times of my life. I also joined a couple of online communities that have helped stay encouraged, check them out! (She Reads Truth and Firework people).
I would suggest journaling prayers, feelings, and thoughts so that one day you can go back and be in awe on how you made it through that difficult time and how you have grown. I love to go read what I shared one year from today on my social media and on my special notebooks.
At peace with not having it all figured out
As I prepare for the next decade of my life (in a few short months) I have been thinking about society's expectations for me versus living purposely to create an impact on people; focusing less on financial gain and putting thought into the eternal legacy I want to leave behind at the end of my life. I know this is very philosophical but "end-of-the-year" months automatically make me revert to that, I can't help it. All this to say, it is important that if you don't like where you are, take the steps to change it (one day at a time) but it is important to have peace about not having it all figured out at once.
I know the feeling of looking through your social media feed and seeing how your high school friends are breezing through the steps of adulthood and for some reason your life has never matched the rest of the crowd. It may seem so discouraging at times but as the popular quote says "comparison is the thief of joy" and I could never overstate how true this is and how important it is to resist that urge to compare ourselves to others. I have discovered that the way I make peace with my own path is by keeping my eyes on my own paper because God made me unique for a reason and I must use my uniqueness to bless the world around me.
So I suggest trying to cut down on social media pollution during the time when you are trying to make a decision about your future or that may lead you astray from your mental peace, and life purpose. I like to do social media fasts, writing (only) days, real face to face meaningful interactions with interesting people. Finally, just bite into your own life that has been gifted to you.