• Karissa

How to Keep Your Head Above Water During a Season of Transition

I spoke today to my dear friend who is going through a monumental transition. As in, moving across the world transition. It was so encouraging to hear from another soul in the same season as I am, going through something completely different yet at it's core the same.

Life is change. But some seasons the change can be radical.

My husband and I joked that we have had so much transition this fall that if we had a few more years under our belt we could call it a midlife crisis of epic proportion. And you want to know something? We are doing just fine.

I know. I'm as surprised as you are.

This type A, anxiety ridden, plan the future like it's my job and attempter at controlling everything until it's downright delusional gal is doing just fine.

Every aspect of life has changed (except my hair, but I'm gonna go ahead and get a new style just to be the cherry on top), and gosh darn it The Barkers are great. We are tired, at times completely overwhelmed, and have had to really wade our way through some hard, hard things but we have not once felt that God was not keeping us above the waves. And that's a new concept for us.

I know I am not alone in this season of transition, so wanted to share some tips to help and reminders along the way:

1. THERE IS STILL THE SAME CORD running through your life; our lives. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His good plan for you was already laid out before you were thought of on this earth. The cord of grace runs through every season of your life, and someday you will see the tapestry it wove together.

2. PRESS IN TO HIM: the One who walks on water will keep your head above it, if only you keep your eyes on Him. Practical ways to press in: Read your Bible and pray, without fail, in a structured way every single day without fail. For those who thrive in a less structured Bible and prayer life, what I mean is consistency. It does not all have to look the same, but now is the time to be completely purposeful in communion with God. Make time with God your HIGHEST priority, because it is anyways, right? The wisdom that you need will be revealed to you. The grace you need will be poured out on you. The comfort you need will be in abundance there for you. And the love you need will flow through you.

3. DO NOT LIVE OUTSIDE OF YOUR BODY: God chose to make your body the way it is, and work the way it does. Do not forget that in this season, and know that if you are not sleeping, eating, or taking care of your body you will feel crushed emotionally. Give your body the NUTRIENTS and REST it needs, and you will better be able to handle this season of life. Please, please, do not skip past this one. I know the terrible consequences of ignoring what your body is trying to tell you, and I do not wish that upon anyone. It is good and wise to take care of the house your soul lives in.

4. GIVE YOURSELF A MAKEUNDER. Yes, you read that right. Now is the perfect time to decide how you really want to live, and make-under your life accordingly. Edit your schedule, removing all things that steal from the life God calls you to. Add in Sabbath rest that we are commanded to observe. Get rid of clutter in every form weighing you down. Take time to write out how you want to live: how you want to feel every day, how you want to live out your priorities, and what that looks like. A gentle reminder: now may not be the time to add things in, hence the "make UNDER" recommendation. It could even, dare I say it, be a time to say "no". Goodness knows it takes courage to break the cycles we have fallen into, and get rid of the clutter and distractions keeping us from a full life. A filled up life does not mean a full life.

5. FEEL it all. Take time and energy to just feel what you are feeling. We are image bearers, with the incredible capacity to feel. It is wise, helpful, and healthy to do so. If you need help, find a counselor or a person you trust to help you navigate the tide of emotions. Just don't stuff it all down: it'll come out in more difficult ways than if you had processed it all in the first place.

6. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SAFE PEOPLE and let them be another safety net. It is incredibly important to have wise, Godly people to process with. It is also incredibly important to not process with people who are not "safe". Safe people can be trusted with your burden, will not betray that trust, do not feed emotional fires, pray with you and for you, and will aid you in walking with God always. Find those people.

7. KNOW THAT YOU ARE NEVER ALONE and let that be your life raft. No matter what happens, no matter how you feel, no matter how much your life feels like a hurricane, you can rest mentally, spiritually, and physically, knowing you are cared for by a good Father who will never leave you nor forsake you.