Navigating Times of Transition

Transition. How do you recognize the signs, and how do you make it through to the other side? We’ve heard a lot of prophetic words in recent months and years that declare a shift is coming. The church is in a transition phase. Change is in the air. There’s a new wine and outpouring coming, but we don’t know exactly what it will look like. We’ve heard words like recalibration and reformation. Things like ‘exposure, shaking, reset’ and others that tell us changes are about to happen. The problem is people often resist change. We don’t like it. We grow comfortable with what we know and tend to resist the new because we are so accustomed to our comfort zone. We say things like, “This is the way we’ve always done it. It’s too much work to do things differently. It’s fine. Just keep doing what we’ve been doing.” 

That’s what a lot of people said in Jesus’ day, too. The old wine is good enough. But Jesus warned people that God couldn’t put new wine in an old wineskin or the wineskin would burst. It can be easy to misunderstand this parable, but Jesus was telling people that the freedom He offered could not co-exist alongside the rigid demands of a religious spirit. A religious spirit is inflexible. That rigidness and demands to adhere to traditions and expectations imposed by others constricts joy and fruitfulness, and actually places people under the bondage of limitation. Those who are used to the old, traditional ways they have always known, will find Jesus’ new ways very difficult to accept. Psalm 18:19 says that God’s desire is to bring us into a broad place – a spacious place to grow, but many times that is a process that requires deliverance from all our limited beliefs.

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” When God says He’s doing a new thing that means we haven’t seen it before. We need to shift our expectations so that we don’t keep expecting the new thing to be built by an old, familiar model. It’s difficult when the only model of ‘doing church’ is what we’ve known for hundreds, if not thousands of years. How are we supposed to build the new thing if we’ve never seen the blueprints? You can’t, until God shows you. Keep an open mind about how God moves and what He’s doing.

This is the season and the kairos time of the Lord for those things we’ve been hearing about to take place. What it really means is the body of Christ is in transition. We don’t want to miss what God is doing!

Transition is a process of change that leads to Transformation. What once was, is becoming something new and different. Change is often linked to an event. A change in employment may cause you to relocate. The house you’re renting may be sold out from under you and force you to move. A pastor leaves, retires, or passes away, and suddenly the church has a vacancy to fill. You may suddenly become the caregiver to a grandchild, or get remarried. Death, divorce, or many other things can bring sudden changes that you must learn to adapt to whether or not you like change. The body of Christ is always in a state of change and transition, because our lives are constantly adapting to new things. Transition is how we process and respond to change, and the internal transformation of a growth process.

Let’s look at some signs that a person may be in transition. 

Restlessness and discontent. There’s a feeling like God is stirring something inside you, but you can’t yet clearly define it.

When people are tired of the status quo, nothing is really happening –  they become restless with a holy discontent to discover a purity and the power of the real Jesus, and they will follow where there is evidence of God’s presence and power moving among His people. If that presence and power is not displayed in the local church, it will become symbolic of an old wineskin that has ruptured and all the wine is spilling out. A religious spirit will often repel people. The church will leak members. People are hungry for the supernatural encounters with God. When the organization imposes restriction and does not allow room for God to move inside the church, the Holy Spirit will break out in unexpected places. It could be a college campus, a prayer meeting in someone’s home or another unusual place. Wherever we build an altar, He will come. If we make room for His presence and honor Him, the Holy Spirit will meet with God’s people. 

God may begin to speak to you directly or through others to confirm that change is coming. You may sense the desires of your heart changing even when the direction hasn’t yet changed. He may prompt you to take a step of faith in a new direction. 

There have been many times when the Lord spoke and told us to take some radical steps of faith. My first experience was when I was a single mom and God told me to leave my job quickly. I didn’t make enough for one paycheck to stretch to the next one. I had no plan B. Yet 3 times I heard Him speak, and thought it didn’t make sense in the natural, I was obedient. I won’t pretend it didn’t get scary stepping into the unknown, but that step of faith led me to a marriage, a new family and relocation to Florida. It was a completely different spiritual atmosphere from where I had been. It was like living under an open heaven. I had no idea what was waiting for me there! Several years later, When God told Norm to leave his job and trust Him, He told us to be committed to the change. It was incredibly difficult and a faith-stretching journey. It was frightening when we got down to our last meal with no help in sight, especially when we were responsible for two very young children, but we sowed that meal into some homeless people and it set off a domino effect that we never saw coming. We had numerous divine encounters and were brought before city officials where once again Norm heard God tell him to ask for a park to hold a city-wide event that brought healing and unity to the city. We saw the power of God at work – all of it outside the local church, but God was at work through the body of Christ in a powerful way. We have our stories of when God told us to do things that did not make sense in the natural, and people tried to tell us it couldn’t be God – but it was. In both those cases, we had to be obedient to what didn’t make sense before God breathed on that step of faith and the supernatural kicked in. Don’t try to make decisions by leaning on your own understanding. You must hear God for yourself when He beckons you to step out in faith.

Transition is a time when God changes our identity. We must go through a metamorphosis, an internal change. Take the caterpillar, for instance. A caterpillar in the cocoon undergoes radical change. The caterpillar must surrender to the process. Every time a caterpillar outgrows its current skin, it needs to shed its old skin to make room for a new one. The transformation process must be painful, because they are literally reduced into liquid by certain enzymes. The miraculous process takes what was once a caterpillar and recreates something completely new, a beautiful butterfly. This is symbolic to us in the fact that we cannot keep our old nature or identity. We must be willing to let go of how we perceive ourselves so we can embrace the new. 

We must stop fearing the pain we associate with change. God releases prophetic words and messages from His servants to tell us of things to come so that when it’s time, we don’t fear or resist what He is doing. Change and transitions are always birthed by the wind of the Spirit, but God also uses natural situations like what I mentioned to jolt us into something new. God has many ways to lead us into a new direction to begin a new chapter of our journey. 

Our inner critic will magnify fears and limited mindsets and tell us all kinds of excuses to make us think we are incapable of making it through transition. This is when we need to ask ourselves a few important questions. 1) What is it that’s really stopping you? 2) How do you benefit by holding on to your current beliefs? And, 3) Why are you telling yourself stories that disempower you and keep God in a box of your limitations? It’s what you believe about your circumstances that makes you feel stuck. Limiting thoughts are rooted in fear or unbelief, not faith. That mindset of unbelief tries to convince us that change is too difficult or altogether impossible. Unbelieving thoughts keep us stuck because it creates fear and paralysis. We become frozen with inaction, but faith requires action!

When we listen to the voice of our inner critic, that’s the voice that tears us down from the inside. It’s the voice that tells us we don’t have what it takes, we’re not smart enough to learn that new skill, or we don’t deserve to ask for big things. Stop listening to that voice, because it’s not your friend. When we reject ourselves, we reject the person God created. We reject the truth of His word and exchange it for lies, and then we live trapped in a shell of false identity – someone the enemy has created. And, please understand this – the Spirit of the Lord lives inside His people. That’s you and me. There is no way we can reject ourselves without also rejecting Him in the process, because we are made in His image.  Rejecting Christ in any part, whether it’s intentional or not, will always have consequences. Inevitably, when we listen to our inner critic, we live a much smaller life with a much smaller impact than the one we were created to live. So, renounce the voice and the lies coming from that inner critic, and command those spirits to leave you in Jesus’ name!

It’s overcoming the pain of disappointment, unmet expectations, ending certain relationships or alignments, the sorrow of loss, the weariness of feeling like you’ve been in some sort of wilderness that produces a greater anointing. Keep your eyes on Jesus and speak His promises! You must fight to hold on to your faith in difficult seasons. You also need rest and fresh oil for the new season.

In transition, you may find doors may close. That is another sign that God is preparing to redirect you. Transition is a reminder that we are NOT in control and our lives are governed by the unseen hand of God. Don’t get frustrated, take time to seek the Lord. One scripture that is a comfort to me is Proverbs 16:9. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” It reminds us that even though we have plans for our future, it is God that ultimately chooses the steps to get us where He wants us to go. I remind myself that Abraham stepped out on faith and did not know where he was going. Psalm 37:23 says that ‘the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in our way.’ Like Abraham, we must trust God to get us where we need to go. God wants us to surrender our plans and ask for His. You may need to accept that with new direction comes a foundational shift in how you’ve viewed community or done things in the past, including how you’ve viewed church. God wants to upgrade your vision and bring clarity where there’s been confusion. Confusion comes from trying to figure things out without the benefit of leaning into God and hearing what He has to say. It’s an attempt to make plans in our own strength. God can redirect us, whether we chose to cooperate or not. So, we can take the long, circuitous route or decide up front, “God, I know you have good plans for me. Jeremiah 29:11 tells me so. Lead me in the plan you have for my life. Let me fulfill whatever you have decided is the best plan so that I can bear good fruit for your glory.” Proverbs 16:3 tells us to commit our works to the Lord and He establishes our thoughts. It’s not our job to figure out how God will answer our prayers, only to believe that His is capable and greater than the problems we face. We must rehearse the promises of God to keep our heart in a place of faith and trust.

I heard the Lord say recently, “I’m turning the page.” I believe that’s a word for many people right now. That means there’s something different written on a new page than the part of the story that was on the previous page in our life. What is it? We don’t know unless we ask. The problem is our brains are wired to cause us to avoid things we associate with feelings of discomfort. Most people are uncomfortable with change because they are unsure of new experiences or a different way of doing things. People tend to avoid things that are outside their comfort zone. That is why we talk ourselves out of things before we try them, or why we may respond negatively with excuses without knowing why we’re doing it. Our brains are trying to help us avoid what we fear may be an uncomfortable environment. During those times, remember what is important. God continues to reform us – HIS BODY – because He wants to position us to advance the Kingdom of God. 

Transition is a time to Let go. The other thing I’ve heard from the Lord is this is a time to let go. Let go of anything that can be hindering your ability to shift with God. Let go of all the old emotional baggage. Let go of any disappointments, unfulfilled prophetic words, unforgiveness, offense, or limiting attitudes. Ask God to heal any brokenness in your relationships so that you’re ready to move into your new season. All these things are necessary so that you’re not carrying anything from the old season into your new. Forgive and let it go. Be the bigger person by practicing forgiveness and extending grace. Holding on to offense only hurts you. You are not yet ready for something new until you are willing to crucify your flesh and prove your humility and dependence on God through your obedience. 

Let go of all the things that are taking up your time but aren’t producing fruit. Everything has a season for serving its usefulness, but it doesn’t mean those things should continue forever. If it’s not producing something of eternal value, it’s become a fruitless fig tree. If there’s no life of the Spirit in it, cut it off and make room for God to do something new.

Let go of the things you’ve built, things that are marked with your identity on them; your blood, sweat and strength. When you put so much effort, time, and prayer into something that is not getting results, reevaluate. If you feel exhausted or resentful, like you are a slave to something you don’t want to do, reevaluate. If you feel like you are yoked to something that you have no energy or desire to keep doing, take your hands off of it and give it to God. When the grace to do something has lifted, no amount of self-effort will get different results. Don’t keep fighting to keep something alive when the signs indicate it’s time to let go. If you are not growing or thriving in your current environment, ask God if He has a new environment for you. Sometimes you simply outgrow your comfort zone. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to move with God simply because you’re afraid to move forward.

Even relationships can run their course if the season for those relationships has expired. Sometimes they can end abruptly with no warning, and it can be an opportunity to feel hurt or offended. When God closes a door to a certain relationship, position, or something you’ve been involved with, it can often come unexpectedly and cause hurt feelings. It can feel like rejection or even shame, but sometimes it’s just God moving people on. God has His ways of keeping us in his timing, and when we’re not supposed to linger in one place, He simply removes all excuses when we might be prone to procrastinate. There’s a saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. There is a purpose for each one. During transition, your feelings can shift suddenly, causing you to feel a sense of disconnection, but that is normal for the process. 

Is it warfare you must push through or is it God saying let go? It is so easy to make assumptions and think that you’re supposed to keep doing what you’ve been doing, and the reason things aren’t working is because that thing you were involved with, that group you were a part of, or whatever you have given your time to has simply run its course. You may feel as if you are constantly hitting roadblocks, dead ends, and signs that God isn’t moving the mountain out of the way. When God doesn’t move the mountain, sometimes He moves you.

Are you listening for the still, small voice, prompting you to consider new ideas and a new direction? Pay attention to your dreams. God uses dreams in the night as well as the dreams of our heart to lead us into His plans. Sometimes God will plant a new idea in our heart, maybe something we’ve never thought of before. If it’s God, it will come with confirmation and peace. That thing you never considered before will suddenly feel right. Pray and ask God to clarify and confirm His direction. Ask for divine appointments, favor, and the right relationships to come forth. Prov. 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.”

Transition is a time to pass the baton. You may not be called to keep what you’ve built but to hand it over to someone else. This can be a painful time, because there may be a certain amount of sadness associated with letting go of something that you birthed and cared for.  When God has spoken to you and you know He’s saying let go, it no longer belongs to you. That is no longer your baby, your position, or your role. Trying to hold on to what is no longer yours in the Spirit can become disobedience, and the right person is blocked from coming into position. Remember that the enemy will help you justify all the reasons why you shouldn’t let go. He wants you to act in fear or selfishness and miss the timing of the Lord to move with the Holy Spirit. He wants you stuck in transition, never entering into the new season God has for you. The flow of anointing can become hindered and bottlenecked. It gets choked out because those who are appointed and anointed can’t move into position. The kingdom of God is like a chess board. How are we going to get the enemy into checkmate if the people of God are unwilling to move? When God says get out of the way, we need to move aside. Ps. 20:4 tells us, “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.” God wants to lead you into the plans that bring fulfillment and purpose. When you surrender your dreams and ask for His plans instead, then your desires become what He wants for you.

During transition, you may encounter changes in your source of provision. When provision dries up, don’t spend all your energy trying to keep a door open that God may be closing. Faith is a belief system, but trust means to place your trust in Jesus as a person. His integrity and faithfulness can be counted on. The prophet Elijiah came to understand an important spiritual principle as he went through transition. Every believer goes through seasons of waiting on God and learning to listen for His voice. It’s how we learn to walk by faith. Elijah was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to await an appointed time. In his season of waiting, he was supernaturally provided for by God. You can read about it in 1 Kings 17. As God’s appointed time to move approached, the provision gradually dried up. God was preparing Elijah for change and another transition. The event that led him to where he was, was the prophetic word that Elijah gave to King Ahab, pronouncing there would be no rain until he spoke it. The lack of rain was judgment for the people breaking covenant with God. God was preparing to tear down the house of Ahab and Jezebel and establish a new house. There would be new leadership in the new house, and it was going to come through the house of David. Once again, we are in that time when that which has served the false gods of selfish ambition, built on men’s egos, and a lust for power and recognition will be torn apart to make room for the kingdom of God. The pronouncement of a drought and then the famine to come was not good news – so, God told his servant Elijah to go hide by the brook Cherith, a place where Elijah would develop patience, undergo humbling and testing of his faith. It took time for the brook to dry up. Elijah was in that place of transition 3 and a half years. While the stream was in the process of drying up, God was creating a river of living water flowing from within Elijah. The abundance was growing from Elijah’s increasing faith. When something in the natural was drying up, God was building something within His servant that was about to be released. God set the stage for a divine redirection, an encounter with a person God handpicked, and a miracle to take place. This too is symbolic of the fact that God cannot fill us until we are emptied of self. Another key point in transition is to keep asking God for his direction and divine appointments. There’s a time for seeking, then there’s a time to move, because God can’t direct you unless you take action. It was in the time of his testing that Elijah learned the faithfulness of God, so that when He was released, His faith didn’t waiver at what he saw in the natural. The clues to his transition were found in his growing lack of provision. It had been coming faithfully every morning and every evening, then the ravens began to come hit and miss until one day they didn’t show up at all. God can let you get hungry for change. It was a sign that God was preparing to move Elijah in a new direction. God was preparing his servant to look for provision in a different place. 

In John 10:10, Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life. He also said in John 7:38 that if anyone believed in Him, rivers of living water would flow from within them. This is the same river of life that is mentioned in Ezekiel 47. A river teeming with life. This river watered the trees that produced abundant fruit, and their leaves were healing for the nations. We are those trees. Remember the Kingdom of God lives within you, where this spiritual river lives. It’s a river of abundant life. The abundance is within you, and it’s up to you to unlock it. Your prophetic decrees establish the plans and purposes of Go, and set things in order. We are living in times when our faith will be stretched. You can unlock miracles with the power of your faith. God put his servant in a place of needing a miracle provision, and He sent him to a woman that also needed a miracle. Their miracles were wrapped up in one another. Elijah spoke to circumstances, she acted in obedience and a miracle of provision came forth. 

During that time of transition, God changed Elijah from the inside out. He rewired how he thought. Elijah learned how to unlock the abundance with his words. God wants to do the same in us. You will never worry yourself out of a predicament. Prophesy yourself to the other side! Prophesy to the abundance that comes from the Spirit of Life. Prophesy the abundance to be released. God has marked it on His calendar and set aside provision with your name on it, but we may need to call those things that ‘are not’ into existence with our faith and tell them to come forth in Jesus’ name. Romans 4:17 reminds us to speak the end result, call it into the present. Whether it’s a healing, or provision in some other form, God is able. God’s provision is not subject to the economy, it’s subject to your level of faith.

God prepares to reposition you so that he can integrate you into the culture of the Kingdom. We are to go into all the kingdom and fulfill the assignments God has for us. Preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, and demonstrate the kingdom of God’s power to a hurting world. God’s power comes from being in His presence. It is so important to be immersed in His presence because that is where we hear and receive. It’s when we minister to the Lord in worship that we become strengthened. 

I hope this word has been helpful. Let’s pray. 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for loving me. I accept the truth of Your word, and I believe that Jesus died in my place to enable me to live a victorious life. I believe Jesus is the Son of God who was raised up and has given me the opportunity for forgiveness of sins. I confess I am a sinner and I need You to be my Savior, Jesus. Please forgive me for all the things I’ve done to rebel and dishonor You, to reject You, or the person you created me to be. Forgive me for all the things I’ve done to cause hurt or injury to others. By faith, I choose to accept and love myself. Help me love others better, too, and thank you for eternal life. Holy Spirit, I invite you into my heart. Please help me live in the truth, in Jesus name.

As I stand at the crossroads of a new chapter in my life, I come to You with a humble heart, seeking Your guidance and direction. I know that You are the only one who can provide me with the strength and wisdom I need to navigate this time of transition. Let every old pattern and cycle be broken in Jesus’ name so that the new can come forth. Let every missing piece of the puzzle come into place.

I ask for your grace and mercy to be upon me as I step into the unknown. I thank You that you lead me step by step. I pray that You fill me with Your peace that surpasses all understanding, and that You would calm any fears or anxieties I may have. 

I declare your favor goes before me to help me go through new doors and connect with new people. I declare that You are my breaker, and all obstacles, red tape, and hindrances are removed now. I declare I am receiving a fresh mantle, fresh oil, and an anointing to operate in the new thing you have for me, in Jesus’ name.

Please give me courage and confidence to face any challenges that may arise and help me trust in Your plan for my life. I know you have a good plan and a good future for me, so I ask that you help me stay focused on Your will for me, even when it doesn’t make sense. Let me fulfill all that You have written about me in my book of destiny. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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