FLIGHT delayed. Bummer.
After 18 hours of flying from Singapore, and five hours of waiting at Chicago’s Ohare International, I was more than ready to get going.
Then the announcement came: “Flight to Orlando delayed for four hours.”
“Lord!” I cried. “This is so purposeless! I’ve a meeting to attend, people to meet, the Great Commission to fulfill!”
As I sat there leafing through my Bible, fuming, the Lord spoke to me,
“Waiting is part of the going,” He said, “the transit—is also the journey.”
THAT was a ‘moment’. One to which I’d return again and again to revise the lesson I learned that day. Like when my husband stepped down as national director two years ago.
On 1 July 2006, we left the local office of Singapore Campus Crusade and began our new assignment at EAST, the East Asia School of Theology.
We were in transition.
It wasn’t sudden. As early as two years before then, we started to prepare for the change.
It wasn’t like we were stranded. We were sought after by north (Japan), south (Australia) and EAST.
It wasn’t as though we’d missed a step. We took time to inform, announce, prepare others. Everything was thought through, and unhurried.
Yet, on moving-out day, I didn’t feel ready.
HERE’S what I learned about transitions.
I learned that even with the best preparations, transitions are hard things to do.
It’s saying “goodbye” to the familiar that’s hard.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night and thinking the strangest thought: “I won’t see so-and-so at the zerox machine anymore.” I cried.
I wasn’t even close to so-and-so.
One day, while clearing my drawers, I suddenly realized I’d be giving up my parking lot, and the tears flowed.
The emotions weren’t always logical but they were real.
I learned that though I’d said my goodbyes verbally, emotionally I was hanging in in-between for a while longer. I was where Linus was, as writer Marilyn Ferguson put it, “when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to.”
It’s the indefinite waiting for things to pick up that’s hard.
The first week at EAST, my husband and I wanted to jump right in and become instant insiders. But we couldn’t.
There were boxes to unpack, emotions to sort through, and new routines to remember.
Our engine was stuck in second gear.
It’s not being able to skip any step that’s hard. Because transitions—getting out of, getting used to, getting there—take time. There’s no short cut. Whether it’s overcoming a heartbreak, or adjusting to a new culture, new job, new cell phone—it takes time.
And time won’t be rushed. Time moves at its own pace and rhythm; time keeps us humble.
So I learned that it’s wise to leave transition alone.
And while it’s working out the process, fret not but soak in all that God wants to teach us.
For me, one key lesson was a refresher course on self-worth.
WHERE do I find my self-worth? Is it from the number of people who report to me or the title that follows my name?
Or does it—as I always preach—come from Jesus and Jesus alone?
I wrestled with these questions. I asked myself if I honestly believed in my own answers. And God directed me to the life of John the Baptist.
John the Forerunner was the kid “most likely to succeed.” He had a job description and title before he was born, and he fulfilled it. So perfectly that many of his disciples left him to follow Jesus.
At the prime of his life, his term ended and he decreased, as he himself had predicted—right into Herod’s prison.
From the world’s standpoint, John’s life might be considered an anti-climax. But in God’s eyes, his was a life lived well.
During John’s dark night of the soul, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the One. And this was what our Lord said, “ . . . among those born of women there is no one greater than John" (Luke 7:28, NASV). What a compliment!
Here’s the point: John’s glory wasn’t found in what he did or where he set up his office. His glory came solely from Jesus’ nod of approval.
So where does my self-worth come from?
It does not stem from position, power, or people; but from my Lord and Master.
COMPARED to what I’ve learned, and am still learning, through the transition, what’s convenience, familiarity and a shaded car park?
While his blanket was in the dryer, Linus must have finally discovered he could survive without his false security, and grew up.
In due time, the coast will clear and my flight shall take off. Meanwhile, I’ll stay put in the transit lounge, enjoy the coffee, and smell the flowers.
love the ocean - God made it for Himself
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- In the Old Testament in the Bible, there was a man named Jacob who "wrestled with God and man." He wouldn't let God go until God answered his prayers. God admired that and renamed him Israel, "the one who fought or wrestled and prevailed". He fought with man--his inner man--and conquered his own weaknesses. He's my hero. He is what I hope God and man see me to be.