(Photo: CJ Rapp)
The beginning of a new year is when most of us reflect on the times, seasons of life and experiences of the past year. Really life is a series of transitions. We are always in a process of endings and new beginnings. In fact, Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…" A modern day example of this verse might be ending your life as a single adult and beginning new as a married adult, or becoming a caregiver for your aging parent.
The reality is change can be difficult. How can we successfully transition from one "time" or season to the next?
Recognize the ending.
Good, bad, happy or sad endings are all part of life. An ending isn't always a bad thing. Endings can be liberating. For example, ending a bad habit that has cost you years of poor health or robbed you of peace of mind is freeing. Admittedly some endings are difficult and many people struggle with ending well and letting go. For example, the end of a cherished relationship or the transition from full time parent to empty nester can leave us longing for yesterday or brokenhearted.
End well by being grateful. Gratitude is preventative medicine and a powerful healing balm. Bitterness, resentment, anger, fear, disappointment or unforgiveness cannot take root in a grateful heart. When facing an ending, make a list of all the things you are grateful for and thank the Lord. Gratitude will give you the grace to move on with a healthy perspective.
Lean on Jesus to help you through.
Jesus is the King of new beginnings. His mercies are new every morning and in him we are a new creation. The Lord has power and control over everything. No situation is too difficult for him. Lean on his strength to empower you in this new season of life. When you feel life is overwhelming or too tough remember his strength is made perfect in your weakness. Trust him to carry you through the seasons of life and to turn your trials, troubles and triumphs into evidence of his goodness toward you.
Carry the lesson forward.
Seasons are part of life and each comes with its own set of lessons. Every ending is a learning opportunity. You can avoid "going around that same old mountain" by being humble and teachable. Reflect on what you have you learned about yourself? How have you grown? What have you learned about Jesus? How has he shown his love or his power at work in and through you? Never forget that our experiences mold and shape our character to become more like Jesus. You are more like Jesus today than you were yesterday.
Embrace the New Beginning.
What would happen if you decided to drive your car looking only in your rear view mirror? What are the chances you would arrive safely at your destination? Don't hold on to what has been when it's time to let go. You cannot get to where you are going while looking over your shoulder at the past. Instead, put the past in its place and surrender your ending to the loving arms of Jesus. God never wastes anything. Remember, the lessons you've learned from past experiences will be the fuel to help you successfully navigate the twists and turns of your new seasons of life.
See this new beginning as part of your ongoing life adventure with Jesus – King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Lastly, live in the present.
Allow each moment to unfold in its time. Live completely dependent on our completely dependable Father God. He will give you all you need to journey through every ending and new beginning.
For further reflection:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Lamentation 3:22-24; Romans 8:28-30; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
CJ Rapp is the founder of Unfading Beauty Ministries, national speaker and a women's issues expert. She has authored several books including "I AM Says, 'You Are…'" which guides women to discover their true identity as a beloved child of God.