Transitions come our way all the time. But the most important ones are those we make happen ourselves.
By Mike Calhoun
Transition is a natural part of the life cycle. I have been with Word of Life for 38 years and find myself transitioning again. We all begin the process of changing, growing and transitioning from one life stage, position, sphere of influence, circle of friendships, and personal goals to another from the time of our birth.
It could be post-graduate work, getting a bachelor’s, master’s, or even doctorate degree. You may have married and raised a family, or even reached that glorious state of being a grandparent (Betsi and I love that one).
Then there is that transition called aging, with its novel aches, pains, and unwelcome restrictions — gentle and not-so-gentle reminders of our new limitations. I am not trying to depress you; these are just some of life’s realities.
We can control some of the transitions of life, but some are just going to come into our lives uninvited, unannounced, and uncontrollable. The uninvited ones usually capture most of our attention and time. These are also the ones that tend to drain our physical, emotional, and spiritual strength.
I want to suggest, though, that instead of being jolted by the many transitions we can’t foresee or control, we put our energy into “intentional transitions.” This is not to say that we are going to be oblivious to the realities of life. It is simply that we are making a choice as to the priorities of our lives and how we will live. Here are a few concepts that will intentionally shape our lives, making them more meaningful and productive while the normal transitions are taking place.
1. Spiritual Growth. Never stop growing spiritually. Our spiritual walk with Christ should be stronger today than it was at this time last year. We need to build some intentional practices for spiritual growth into our daily lives, creating space for Quiet Time, prayer, Bible study, or Scripture memory.
I love the example of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:5-9, where we find him at the end of his life, still growing in his faith. From the world’s perspective, he had gone through many positive and negative transitions, but here we see him living life intentionally.
2. Friendships. Have you developed friendships that encourage you to move forward in your faith? We all need good friends who are godly and willing to “stir us up” about our faith walk. In 2 Peter 1:13 and 3:1, Peter speaks of stirring up his friends by reminding them of what is important. Living life intentionally includes friendships like this.
3. Personal Witnessing. We have all heard Jack Wyrtzen quoted as saying, “It is the responsibility of every generation to reach their generation with the Gospel of Christ.” That statement is timeless. It is our responsibility. We all should be doing what we can to share the good news of the Gospel. Jack often quoted Romans 1:16, reminding us that the gospel is the power of God and challenging us to intentionally share it.
4. Personal Goals. Do you still have a dream? Are you still excited about life, or have you given in to the world’s “treadmill existence” approach to life? Your life is going to keep transitioning, but while it does, you can continue to set new, intentional personal goals. Don’t accept the status quo — reach for more!
I love the spirit of Caleb in Joshua 14:11-12. Here he is in his 80s, and he is explaining to Joshua his future plans and how he is ready to fight. Oh — and by the way, he still wants that mountain!
Now that is intentional living.
Mike Calhoun, senior vice president for Word of Life Fellowship, speaks to thousands of students, leaders, and youth pastors through a diversified ministry of camps, conferences, and evangelistic events. He has a deep burden for evangelism, discipleship, and development of future leadership. Mike has written several books and produced DVDs for students and local church leaders. He makes his home in Schroon Lake, New York, with his wife, Betsi. Find more of his writing online at mikecalhoun.wol.org/blog/blog.