Coaching involves helping individuals or groups get from where they are to where they want to go. Counseling, teaching and leadership have similar goals although they use different methods. In the Old Testament God gave Moses the challenge of getting the Israelites from where they were in Egypt to where they wanted to be in the Promised Land. All of these are transitional situations involving three parts: leaving where we are, reaching our goals, and getting through the transitional period in between. Getting through the “in between” time can be the toughest part of the journey.
In his book The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions, Jeff Manion discusses how God meets us during wilderness-like in-between times. Ponder this when you or others are in transition or in between the end of one year and the start of another.
- In between times can be difficult, especially when they are prolonged. They bring confusion, discouragement, anger, anxiety, impatience, futility and lack of control.
- Pay attention to how you respond. It is easy to lock into a pattern of embittered complaining, ingratitude, criticism, and rumination on the negative. Impulsive reactions or overreactions can complicate the problem. God rarely responds when we whine or demand that he take action in our timing and on our terms.
- In-between times can grow us spiritually. Hope for the future often is anchored in reminders of God’s goodness and faithfulness in the past. Manion warns, however, that “the Land Between” also can be “the place where faith goes to die.”
- When we look back on transitions we may see that these were training periods when we were thrust into impossible situations to learn trust, patience and dependence on God. We also can learn the limits of our self-sufficiency and experience the need for the support, accountability and wisdom that comes from others.
- Expect that growth may be incremental. “Even if we move forward inch-by-inch, we are moving in the right direction and this incremental progress works to fend off spiritual drift.”
How can or do you apply this to your self or to others? Please comment.