I’ve experienced more than my share …
of transition over the past 6 months. I said farewell to life and ministry in the land of Turkey. My oldest daughter was married (I gained a super son-in-law by the way.) Our son recently moved away to college. Our youngest daughter started her high school career in a new town. A new home, church, and community. While many of these life events give good reason to celebrate, they are nonetheless big changes to navigate, and especially all at once!
It wasn’t easy saying goodbye to full time cross-cultural ministry. After all, it was some of the most rewarding and fulfilling 20 years of my life. Someone recently asked me what it was that triggered such a big transition. I couldn’t point to just one thing. Transitions are strange in that way. Feeling under-utilized, not challenged, restless – there were a number of indicators over a long season before the actual transition took place. God has his own way of getting us ready for change.
Transition is a process of letting go, grieving the losses, celebrating the past, and moving forward by faith into a new season of life and ministry
God has used transition, in its many forms, to shape my character, re-align myself with His purposes, and get me ready for the next assignment. And he’s not finished with me yet. I recently came across a devotional about the life of Joseph. We know about the multi-colored coat he proudly wore in his youth, but there is something much more enduring: his character.
“It was Joseph’s character, not his coat, that sustained him through years of betrayal, temptation, accusation and imprisonment.”
– The Word for You Today, December 2016
Prolonged and difficult transitions can be fertile ground for transformation
I’m also thinking of the global scope of this coaching community. I think of God’s promise to Abraham, that through him and his seed (that’s us) all nations will be blessed. May we pray to be shaken like salt and dispersed like light among the nations, in order that God’s promise to Abraham might be fulfilled, to the ends of the earth.
As a family, we’re starting to recover and regroup from all the transition. We’ve settled into our new abode (new for us), a 1960’s era home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California. I’m back to building fires in the woodstove, raking up loads of pine needles, and a bit of hiking and hunting – all activities that were not part of life in the big city of Istanbul. These are things that renew and energize me. Well, maybe I could do without all the yard work!
Time and space to breathe
Transition has taken its toll on me emotionally and spiritually. Thankfully, God has given me the gift of time and space to breathe. I’ve been reminded of who I really am in relationship to God. I’m kept in the love of God and sustained by Him through intimacy with Him, not merely by what I do for Him. I’m passionate about coaching, but I want to be more passionate about God. I need this reminder from time to time. I always will.
As a coach, I’ve learned two valuable lessons through this season of change:
– Working with a coach is a vital part of processing and planning through a transition.
– We don’t need to have our own transition all figured out to effectively coach others.
God can and will use us to serve our clients well even when, or maybe especially when, we are navigating our own transitions.
Tim Austin is a certified Life and Leadership Coach, an MCT 2012 graduate, and ordained minister.
Tim believes that transitions, in their many forms, are fertile ground for personal and professional growth. He is the founder of Encompass Life Coaching, a consulting firm dedicated to coaching fellow transitioners in the marketplace, in ministry, and in missions. Prior to engaging as a full-time life coach, he dedicated himself to a life overseas. The adventure led him to Central Asia, where he gave vision and management to non-profits, international churches, and small businesses.
Tim thrives in culturally diverse contexts, contributing his gifts and skills for the common good.
Tim is the author of Transition Companion: Tips and Encouragement for Navigating Seasons of Change. He blogs at encompasslifecoaching.com.
He and his wife Eve have three amazing kids, one dog, and a marriage going on 25 years. Tim lives in the mountains of Northern California. Tim cannot imagine mornings without coffee, life without the great outdoors, a home without kids (2 out of 3 have currently left the nest), and an existence without God.