Monday, August 4, 2008

Transition No. 1

Every once in a while there will come an external influence that will transform your world. Something you see, something you hear, or something that you read. There likely are more stimuli that touch your life – but in my case these three pretty much cover the way that I am deeply moved.

Coming back to Moses again… and to his burning bush experience… I see this kind of influence on his life. He led the flock of sheep to the far side of the pasture. The place was near Mt. Horeb. Then he saw a bush burning but it was not consumed with the fire that was in it.

Living on/in the desert with sheep you likely see a lot of things that others don’t see. But bushes were pretty ordinary. But it wasn’t the bush that was extraordinary – it was the moment. It was time for Moses to see it. And with that thought in mind – it was God’s time for Moses to see it.

I have waited for a few days to reveal one of my personal “burning bush” experiences. I have had to try to sort through what has taken place – or rather what is taking place. And it is not a “Bush” but rather a “Book”. Maybe like Moses I have not been sure what to say about the fact that God just spoke to me in a new way. Wow – what will people think or say!?

First I thank a friend of mine, Lauretta, for being obedient and instrumental in sending this book my way. The day the post man dropped of the package it all started.

Second I thank all the folk that have prayed me through this past three months. It has made a difference… a very real difference.

The author of the book is a man by the name of William Bridges and the book is “the way of transition” – 'embracing life’s most difficult moments' (lower case letters are on purpose – no caps in the title).

Outside of my Bible this one has hit me harder than anything that I have read for years. I have read some very good books – but this one is way above them. But it may well be just the timing – the place – the situation – the God Time for this Bush/Book to burn.

Two things happened when I have been reading and re-reading this book. First – the words need to hit home – and I must understand the concept. Second – the thoughts that are raging through me must be sorted out as well – and with that one… how will I talk about this to express the deep feelings that have rushed back from my many memories and help me to see how true what is happening to me – is GOOD – so very GOOD?

It is unfair to sum the book up in a few words – because that is not going to happen – you need to read it for yourself. But a few words will help me to help you understand – I hope.

William Bridges is an expert on the topic of Change and Transition. His life and all that has happened to him demonstrates this fact. This little book traces most of his life story.

The Concept…
Change and transition happen to everyone. Some times it is good and sometimes it is uncomfortable – or in fact down right horrible! For these reasons we may not like Change at all. We may not always be able to appreciate what is happening is for our own good with the Change and Transition.

Look at Change first. Change happens when we move from Point A in our life to Point B. This can happen with a move because of a job, a promotion or demotion, a change of jobs, a change in life, or any one of a million changes in a family. Just keep Point A and Point B in mind.

Transition takes longer than change. As we move from Point A to Point B the transition is often under way toward the end of Point A, then in the space between Point A and Point B, and finally into Point B.

Mr. William Bridges describes Transition as having
1.) An ending
2.) A neutral zone
3.) A beginning again

Change will come. It is part of life. Transition is possible – nut not always embraced or accepted – right away… and in some cases never.

In a healthy transition we must give up something. In an unhealthy transition we refuse to give up anything…or more importantly what we should be giving up – or must give up.

The giving up something takes place in the neutral zone of transition. At that point the “Old” can be let go of and the “New” can be fully embraced.

I cannot write all that Bridges has written here. You must buy the book. And No – I Will Not loan mine out for about a year – I will be re-reading this one over a few times.

My Burning Bush…
Change has happened for me – Northview Pulpit to Northview Pew… from pastor of the church to member in the pew. Change happened on June 22, 2008 when I completed that day as Pastor of the Church.

Transition began with an End. The knowledge of a possible change coming started a way back when we saw the finances begin to drop. No it wasn’t this last winter with the snow plowing costs… but longer than that… loss of the Bible college from our community… loss of members of our church for many reasons… and loss of members due to death had a greater influence than any one will ever know.

Transition in our case definitely includes a neutral zone. The clearest indication of the neutral zone beginning would be in May 2008 as our Board and myself faced the last reality of making the final decision to change our staffing at the church. To help the financial concerns at the church all the staff was dismissed – laid off – given notice. There was nothing nice about whatever way it was worded – everyone would lose their jobs initially.

Being that I was in my 64th year, 2nd month it would feel better for everyone if we talked about Pastor Murray’s “early retirement”. It would look better on paper for people to read of an older pastor making the decision to leave because of his decision – not the church’s. But in effect – that was only done to make us all feel better. And we did for a while – even me.

The announcements of
1.) Going on E.I. and then possibly starting my own new business –
2.) Becoming part of Leading Influence Ministry – an unpaid ministry with no money to pay – made me feel better for a while.

My friends were happy for me as well. That feeling of happiness lasted for a while. It returned again and again and evaporated each time when the thought returned that “you were turfed, you were fired, you are old and no one wants you…. yadda, yadda yadda.”

With the reading of this small book I have come to realize that I am in the Neutral Zone now – BIG TIME. It is uncomfortable but I am also realizing that the best thing that I could ever do is “give up something”… in fact maybe give up a whole lot of “somethings”.

The other day without anyone knowing I buried a few things that should have been buried a while ago. I gave them up. In my mind I walked out to an empty field and dug a big hole. I then grabbed the things that needed to be given up and tossed them in the Big Hole! I shoved the dirt in like it was a grave. Then I walked away.

The freedom that followed me was amazing. I am going to do much better as days go on. I am looking forward. I am alive and well.

Now the study of Moses’ life has been even better. Moses’ Neutral Zone appears to have been 40 years in length. Mine hopefully is going to be a little more than a few months.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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