If you really knew me, you’d know that I’m always looking for a challenge. I haven’t decided yet if that’s a good thing or not. Born with a competitiveness that runs deep in my veins, I’ve always been one to bite off more than I can chew to prove something about myself to someone. (Yeah, maybe not a good thing.) Take, for example, my decision to graduate from college early by maxing out my schedule each semester, getting married the day after graduation, immediately moving to a new city, and starting a new job a month after moving.
When I would enthusiastically tell people that this was my plan, I expected a “Woohoo! Good for you! Change is fun, isn’t it? Here’s to the future!” and then we high five all around. But instead, I’d receive this consoling look, as if he or she were about to say, “You poor girl. Why would you willingly enter into so much change at once?”
So, the time came, and I threw on a cap and gown, then popped on a wedding dress, then donned a name badge around my neck, all within a month.
I’m not going to lie to you: all of this change only sometimes felt high-five worthy. And as good as it all was at times, I quickly realized that I had a lot to learn about adjusting to this much newness.
No matter what type of transition you might be going through, it’s undeniable that change is hard. With graduation season here and wedding season coming (not to mention many of us moving cities, growing our families, and facing a thousand other kinds of transitions), all types of changes seem to happen during these summer months. I want to offer some encouragement to you if you’re in the middle of a season of transition or if you know someone who is:
TO THE GRADUATE
- Don’t let being “new” hurt your confidence, whether it be that you’re new to your city, new to your community, or new to your job. Allow yourself to fail and learn again. Spoiler alert: learning doesn’t stop in college. Extend to yourself endless grace as you begin again, and be confident that if the Lord places you somewhere, He will certainly equip you to see that season through (2 Corinthians 9:8).
- Your job (or lack thereof) does not define you. You aren’t your job title, sister. You are what Scripture says that God calls you: daughter (Romans 8:16), dearly loved (Colossians 3:12), given a purpose (Psalm 57:2). Sometimes believing that, though, is a lot easier said than done. Surround yourself with what’s true by putting Post-it® Notes scribbled with Scripture in your car to see on the way to interviews or stick them to your desk to dwell on at work. You are not your failures or your successes.
- Be bold in creating community. Don’t sit back and wait for it to come to you. This is going to feel awkward sometimes since you’re the new girl entering an established community. But you might just be surprised how glad others are to welcome you (especially at a local church). First though, you can make the move to introduce yourself, invite them to coffee, or ask them how to get involved.
TO THE NEWLYWED
Disclaimer: I’m still a newlywed too, but here’s some helpful advice I was given that’s already proved to be true in our marriage:
- Intentionally love your spouse. It’s going to get easier and easier to let days pass where you hardly see each other. Make each other a priority, and decide that time with him is a worthy reason to tell other things no when it needs to be. Know his love language and love him in that way (which takes extra intentionality if it’s not your love language). Take note of when you’re being selfish, and find areas where you can be intentionally selfless. The more intentionally you love beyond the emotional love you have for him, the more roots you’ll grow to weather difficult seasons in the future.
- Don’t become so consumed with your spouse that you both become an island. This is the other side of the coin. Your spouse should certainly be a top priority. However, it can sometimes feel easy to want to spend so much time with your new husband that you look up a year or two later and realize that you’ve yet to form true community with other couples, within your church, and with your family. Having each other is a pretty miraculous blessing, but you will find even more blessing in partnering together to foster friendships and pour into the people around you. Don’t seclude yourselves from that gift.
- Find another couple to mentor you. This might take time, especially if you’re moving to a new place after getting married. But as you create community with other young couples, ask who they look up to, what older couples they know whose marriage is a model to them. As you get involved in your church, notice the marriages that stand out to you, and ask those couples to dinner. Wherever you find these standout couples, create a relationship with them, and let them teach you. As you grow closer, go to them with questions, worries, and victories in your marriage knowing they will grieve and celebrate right alongside you.
P.S. If you’re a ministry leader, LifeWay just launched Woo Marriage, a great new resource to help you prepare engaged couples and equip marriages. I can attest to the fact that a good foundation in your marriage makes all the difference, and Woo Marriage helps couples to create just that.
TO ALL THOSE TRANSITIONING
- Change isn’t bad unless you decide it is. As hard as it can be, shift your perspective. Change in and of itself isn’t “bad.” Don’t be afraid of it! Simply be ready and willing to let go of some things and take hold of others, knowing that the Lord always gives good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11).
- Lean into your church or small group. Whether your transition goes as expected or in no way that you planned, these people have been placed in your life to be the hands and feet of your Anchor. Talk to your pastor or small group leader about the difficulties of your transition, and let them celebrate with you in your victories. Text friends in your small group when you need support. And if you don’t have these people in your life yet, be proactive in planting yourself in a local church and making connections.
- Cling to Jesus. Run to His Word in fear, in loneliness, in insecurity. Tell Him when your heart aches over the change and loss and when you’re celebrating over the blessing of new life. You can be certain that when everything else is changing, He is not (Hebrews 13:8).
TO THOSE WHO AREN’T IN TRANSITION
- Look for places to mentor. If there are graduates, new wives, or new moms in your life, chances are they are hungering for someone older to come into their lives and take them under their wing, to show them the ropes of their new season. Be that person. Boldly seek them out without being asked.
- If you know other people in a similar season, help them get connected. Introduce new ladies in your church to other women that they might click with. Take them to a small group. Be a guide in helping them find community, assuring them that they are not alone in the nerve-wracking nature of trying to create new friendships (and that they’ve already made one friend in you).
- Prayerfully consider how you can make those in shifting seasons around you feel loved and seen. What are the practical ways that you can invest in those in the midst of change? Consider your resources and how they can be used in these peoples’ lives. Maybe you love hospitality and inviting friends over, you love to cook, or you love to travel—use it! Help them to know that you notice them in this new space and that they are welcomed by you.
All of us have been through a transition in some capacity, and while it can come with infinite blessing, we’d all admit that change can also be unbelievably hard. Take a deep breath, sister, and know that you’re not alone in this new season. God Himself controls the seasons and holds you in the palm of His hand.
Emma Wilson is the Digital & Social Media Strategist for LifeWay Women. She and her husband, Garrett, have served in YoungLife together ever since they met as leaders in college. Emma is an Alabama native with a city girl’s heart and loves exploring her home in Nashville, TN. A perfect day looks like coffee shop hopping, perusing local bookstores, cooking something from scratch, and sharing it all with friends. You can follow her on Instagram @emma.c.wilson and online at emmacaitlyn.com.