Why are endings and transitions so poorly handled in our ministries, organizations and teams? Why do we often miss God’s new beginnings, and the new work he is doing?
We miss seeing what is ahead in part because we fail to apply a central theological truth— that death is a necessary prelude to resurrection. To bear long-term fruit for Christ, we need to recognize that some things must die so something new can grow. If we do not embrace this reality, we will tend to dread endings as signs of failure rather than opportunities for something new.
Use the list of statements that follow to briefly assess your approach to endings and new beginnings:
You Know You Don’t Handle Endings and New Beginnings Well When …
1. You can’t stop ruminating about something from the past.
2. You use busyness as an excuse to avoid taking time to grieve endings and losses or to allow for the possibility that you might meet God in the process.
3. You avoid acknowledging the pain of your losses rather than grieving, exploring the reasons behind your sadness and allowing God to work in you through them.
4. You often find yourself angry and frustrated by the grief and pain in life.
5. You escape or medicate the pain of loss through self-destructive behaviors such as overeating, use of pornography, inappropriate relationships, substance abuse, over-engagement with social media or working too much.
6. You struggle with the envy you feel toward those who don’t seem to be hit by the same hardships in life that you experience.
7. You often dream of quitting in order to avoid the pain, disappointments, setbacks and endings that routinely characterize leadership.
8. You are not honest with yourself about the feelings, doubts, and hurts deep beneath the surface of your life.
9. You rarely acknowledge directly that a program or person has outright failed. You avoid that pain by spinning the truth and glossing over the losses, disappointments and struggles.
10. You rarely think about change in your role or position because you dislike change.
Pete Scazzero is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, and the author of two best-selling books: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and The Emotionally Healthy Church. This story was originally posted on Scazzero’s blog at EmotionallyHealthy.org.