Some of the workers my wife and I support have been part of ministry teams in the Middle East. Due to the political climate, visa issues and other factors beyond their control, the decision was made to uproot and move as a team to another country in the region. The move is by no means seamless. It comes with a new language and distinct cultural differences. I’m guessing you might be able to relate?
Transitions are a source of disruption and upheaval in our lives. In transition seasons, we may come to a point where we don’t recognize our lives any longer. The steadiness and stability we once knew seems out of reach. We want to hold on through the roller coaster ride of change, but to what? What is there to hold onto?
It’s easy to give up on the idea of maintaining structure and routine through transition seasons. What’s the use anyway? Constant change will just sabotage my efforts. And so, we let the current of transition take us where it will, with the hope that we don’t drift too far or, worse yet, drown in the process.
But what if we could build some intentionality into the process of change? How could it help us stay more grounded, hopeful, and purposeful through the uncertainty of it all?
I’d like to share some insights I’ve gathered along the way, particularly as it relates to building structure and routine into these times of uncertainty. I’m referring to them as anchor points, but other useful language could be holds or non-negotiables.
WHAT ARE YOUR ANCHOR POINTS?
Anchor points can be anything we do to create a sense of stability in the messiness and uncertainty of change. They mostly center around rhythms of rest, routines and relationships. They are intentional ways we want to steward time and leverage opportunities for overall health and growth.
I see anchor points as non-negotiables, with the understanding that flexibility might be required. Imagine pulling up the anchor, rowing to another spot, then anchoring down once again. Our weekly date night gets disrupted. What other options do we have for quality time together? My morning quiet time needs to shift. No worries. Tomorrow is a new day. Actually, I have a one-hour window this evening. Win!
It’s usually better to tweak a non-negotiable than to give up on it altogether. Yes, God gives us do-overs, restarts and second chances. Do you see the grace principle at work here?
Having anchor points reminds us that we are not defined merely by the changes taking place. We are more than that. Even though transition can challenge one’s sense of identity and purpose, God can also use it to remind us of who we are in Him. That’s such a stabilizing force!
Anchor points play a critical role in building the muscle of resilience. It’s a balancing act for sure. We adapt and flex with the changes around us, even while staying committed to rhythms and routines which ground us. In this way, transition can take on its own unique cadence designed by God uniquely for us, for a season.
Here are a couple of ways to establish anchor points in transition seasons:
—Focus on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t. Limitations are real in transition. Capacity can be lower, options more limited. But at the same time, it can be a very creative season, allowing us to explore and experiment with out-of-the-box ideas and practices, which in turn can become new anchor points.
—Reflect and Re-anchor weekly, if not daily. Priorities tend to change more frequently in transition. Decision fatigue can set in. To remain grounded and focused on what matters most, it’s important to pause and re-order priorities prayerfully and regularly. I like to sit down weekly and ask myself a series of questions, something I call Reflection Point. Feel free to download these questions HERE and use them or some variation of them if you find it helpful.
—Focus on being, not only doing. This can be especially helpful when we find ourselves in prolonged holding patterns, with not a whole lot to do. Following 20 years of life overseas and facing a big transition, I faced an identity struggle. Who was I apart from the roles and titles that defined me all those years? By focusing on God’s invitation to be with him and to define myself in new ways based on my relationship to Him, I was able to let go of a false sense of identity and become more anchored in what really matters.
Do you have anchor points that have helped you navigate transition? I’d love to hear from you.
As you reflect on this post, what comes to mind? What are some ways you tend to drift in transition? What are some routines and rhythms that could help you stay anchored?
Let’s talk about this. Seriously. October 9th at 7:00 a.m. MT/ 9:00 a.m. ET (time zone converter).