So last week I asked my nun what might be helpful for me to get the most out of this whole transition away from campus into my new job. He suggested that the value of transition is that it takes away all the props that we have over time begun to identify ourselves with.
I've worked on campus for fourteen years. Throw in four years as a student immediately prior to that, and that's eighteen years on campus. I turn thirty-six in two days. For those of you who struggle with math like I do, that's exactly one-half of my life.
I "get" this context. I have figured out how to do some things well after eighteen years on the college campus. In a broader culture that celebrates competency and results, it's easy for me to begin to define myself by those strengths.
Transition is giving me the gift of stripping me of what I've come to identify myself by--if we allow it, it can do this for all of us. Sometimes those are good things, like friendships or a particular religious community or even a good work like parenting or being a campus minister, but they are lesser things nonetheless.
Transition kicks away all our crutches, all those things that prop us up, that tempt us to think that we have something to make us more loveable or worthy before God or before those around us.
We stand just as we are before God. Our illusions about being accepted or loved or delighted in because of how good/smart/competent/toget
And in the process we are given a delightful gift: the realization that God loves and delights in us apart from anything that we do.
I'm hoping that I might come out of this period of transition more settled in the love of God over me than ever before. I'm trying to lean into that in prayer, looking for promises and words of that in the Scriptures, trusting that God might give me this gift as I start to freak out about what the future holds.
Transition gives us the gift of stripping us down to the core of who we actually are, not what we would prefer to appear to be. A scary thought for most of us, especially someone prone to performance like I am.
But I believe and trust that there's life on the other side of these little deaths along the way. This is the way of Christ--and as his follower, I go there with him.