Life is full of transition. Whether it be the “pack up everything you own and move to a different state” transition, the “I am taking a job in the same field at a different company across town” transition, or the more simple “I’m moving from being a junior to being a senior in high school” transition…change and transition are perpetual…unavoidable…absolutely necessary. I sit typing in the midst of one of those simple transitions. I am departing summer camp life where I lead hundreds of people into God encounters, and returning to my more customary routines. This annual shift is accompanied by a wide array of emotions, adjustments, positives and negatives.
The resounding roar of hundreds of young people and leaders crying out with hunger is replaced with the peaceful tones of ambient instrumental worship music as I sit at my office desk.
The energizing interaction with so many friends and acquaintances from my tribe is replaced with a substantial increase of vitalizing solitude.
Opening my mouth, activating my vocal chords, speaking and declaring the truths of God’s word until my voice is frayed is replaced with many hours of silent reflection and contemplation.
Aggressively and authoritatively leading a company of people on a climb up Mount God is replaced with re-submitting myself to a staff/team member role in which listening and following well are at a premium and subtlety is a precious virtue.
Immediacy is replaced with pace. Urgency is replaced with patience.
Having a nightly front row view of the miraculous is replaced more so with the trusting diligence of sowing seeds and consistently creating culture.
Long tees, head bands, distressed jeans and Jordans are replaced with button up shirts and jackets.
To say I miss camp when it has reached its conclusion is accurate. To say I am disappointed to move on is inaccurate. Notice, in none of the transitions above do I disparage my post-camp experience. Nor do I compare my now days as being deficient to my former days. One of the more debilitating things we can do is play the comparison game. This is true as it relates to comparing ourselves to others, but it is often equally true as it pertains to comparing our present season to one prior.
We have all at some point in time offered the sage wisdom to a friend to “let go of the past.” This encouragement is most commonly expressed as it pertains to “letting go” of a previous season which was painful, disappointing or lacking in some way. However, it is also valuable advice to “let go” of previous seasons which were joyous, fruitful, successful, exciting, vibrant or any other positive description. One of the reasons our “todays” occasionally seem to lack the significance of our “yesterdays” is because we disservice ourselves by comparing this season to one prior.
Transition is perpetual, unavoidable and absolutely necessary. Transition is navigated best when we receive it as a gift. Transition is navigated best when we receive it as it is, rather than wishing it were something else. Transition is navigated best when we do not demand that our present season live up to a prior season, but instead allow it to be what it was meant to be. Every season of life has beauty and every season of life carries with it the mundane. Every season has variations of success and failure. Often our past can be a hindrance to seeing the beauty and can cause us to wallow in frustration with the mundane.
Certainly, it’s ok to miss the past…to reflect…to smile…but don’t allow it to diminish your present. The present is necessary. It is integral in who you are to become. Don’t allow prior great days to so overshadow your present days that disappointment creeps into the soul illegitimately.
Until we come together again, I will miss the roar, the energy of my tribe, climbing Mount God with a company, seeing wonder in the eyes of the crowd…
But make no mistake, I see the necessity and value of the solitude, the quiet, the contemplation, the subtlety, the diligence, the seed sowing…I don’t even mind the button-ups and jackets.
As you find yourself in transition, don’t allow what you are entering to be reduced by what you are leaving.