How to Remain Peaceful Through Difficult Transition

From The Heart of Innovation:

Finish this sentence:

Change _____________.

Is good?


Is necessary?

Is hard?

Is life’s only guarantee?

There are countless possibilities to end that sentence. It depends on what the change is, who is changing, how significant the change is.

But any change, big or small, brings it with it at least a modicum of discomfort, if for no other reason than we are creatures of habit and when our habit is disturbed we get confused. For at least a fraction of a second we think, Wait! That’s not right!

We often expect change to happen at certain times. When the seasons change, at the due date of a baby or a set date for a wedding, a natural ending to something such as a graduation or the end of a work assignment. But what about the unexpected change? The transitions that occur at the most unexpected time, for which you are given a very short period to adjust to and accept. When something in my life changes unexpectedly, I brood around the house for a couple days with my iPod buds tucked into my ears while listening to Josh Wilson, Maroon 5, Lady Antebellum, and currently Hunter Hayes. By brooding, I mean thinking about my next move and what I need to do in order to stay sane during the upcoming transition. Not bad-mood-brooding. Just thinking, praying. Wondering what the change is going to be like.

I also come up with a plan to remain peaceful during the transition, particularly if it’s a change I didn’t ask for. In our culture, the easiest thing to do when something changes is complain about it. Be upset about it. Ask ‘Why this’ and ‘Why that’, “knowing” that our current situation is far better than any change Life could possibly bestow upon us. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to brood in a bad-mood way. You don’t have to complain to anyone who will listen. You don’t have to be upset and assume that your current situation – which by the laws of nature has to change eventually – is better than your future situation.

And in order to avoid change, you have to follow Lucy’s advice:

Charlie Brown unlisted ilfe

Since an unlisted life isn’t possible, I (try to) make an intentional effort to be positive and set an example during any transition. Three ideas:

1. Understand the “Why”. If you can understand the “Why” of any situation, forging ahead is much easier. The “Why” gives us the reason, it gives us the beginning of our purpose so that we have a foundation for our next move. Understanding the “Why” can also help manage your negative emotions. It can keep you from becoming angry or resentful.

2. Be comfortable with being sad. It’s okay to be sad, it’s okay to cry, particularly if you’re changing from something close to your heart to an unknown. But we can be sad without being mad. And just because we’re sad doesn’t mean something shouldn’t be happening. It’s a natural, healthy emotion. It lets us know that we’ve done something right, that we’ve had a positive experience that we don’t want to disrupt.

3. Pick out the positives. Yes, change can be tough. Change can be completely unwelcome. I was just told I’ll be switching schools a week from Tuesday. I have a vested interest in the lives of more than 400 children and I now have to set that aside and invest in a different set of kids. Yes, I’ve cried a lot since Wednesday afternoon when I found out. BUT – my job is still the same, and I care about counseling children, not just certain children; my commute will be shorter; the grocery store across from this new school opens earlier (I can get my breakfast banana and not worry about being late); it will be more of a challenge, and I love a good challenge; my job is secure for next year; new things help to engage the brain; I believe different experiences, whether difficult, easy or in between, enrich our lives.

For a faith component, I’ve added Hebrews 6:19 to my plan –

We have this [hope]-like a sure and firm anchor of the soul-that enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.

God is asking me to change, so I will change. He doesn’t harm me, He helps me. His hope is my sure and firm anchor in the middle of my change, and I just know that He doesn’t make mistakes.

You tell me:

Some people welcome change with big, open arms. Some people run for the hills at the very mention of a transition. Which side of the fence do you fall on? How do you get through a big change?


  1. Elisa, I love this post! I love it because you are choosing to cooperate with the plans God has for you. God will wonderfully fulfill these GREAT and AWESOME plans in your life. Jeremiah 29:11
    What a beautiful example you are, Elisa!

  2. Elisa, I think change is hard for many people, but in this day and age we have choices and we also need to be flexible. Look at my changes in the last 5 years. My feeling, as much as some days it is hard to say, this is God’s plan is for me? When I was so ill, or when a friend passes, I say God why don’t you take me. But then I realize he isn’t done with me yet on earth. Every day He has wondrous plans for me whether I like change or not. Hard or easy I go with the flow. If I find it hard for a friend or another individual I try to get them through it. It is a wonderful feeling when you can put a smile on another individual’s face or help them get out of their issues they are trying to cope with.

    Again what a wonderful post. You are a beautiful person.

    Lots of love, Aunt Sharon

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