How do you navigate change? Is change a trainwreck waiting to happen or do you relish change because it’s exciting? Are you in the middle of any changes now? Do you know someone who is in the midst of changes or transitions?
It seems to me that life is full of transitions and seasons. Presently, we’ve gone through Spring, and we are moving into the full experiences of Summer, complete with heat, sunshine, extended days and hopefully some wonderful outside pleasures.
While we recognize the seasonal transitions that happen every year, we also go through changes and transitions in our lives. These include developmental growth (toddler to childhood, childhood to teen years, teen years to young adult time, etc.), job and / or educational changes, transitions with family dynamics and lots more. Ultimately, life is about change, and we would be wise to integrate some helpful core essentials into our perspective so that we can navigate transitions with poise and wisdom.
In thinking about changes and transitions, I’m going to do a three part series on this subject because we can get lots of helpful wisdom and ideas to navigate our personal transitions. To do this, we’re going to look at the book of Joshua in the Old Testament, because it’s a book that is situated in the cross-hairs of change.
If you think about it, Joshua is the book that moves the nation of Israel from being nomads to being permanent residents in the land that God promised to them many centuries earlier. Joshua is also the book that marks the significant change in leadership from Moses to Joshua. Each of these men had drastically different assignments and goals. Moses’ job was to move the Israelites out of slavery and into a wilderness holding pattern. In contrast, Joshua was commissioned to move Israel away from the holding pattern into the active possession conquests necessary to settle Israel into the Promised Land.
With all that said, at the beginning of the book of Joshua, God firmly tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. Consider these verses:
- Joshua 1:6-7a, “’Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous…’”
- Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
It’s interesting to me that God tells Joshua three times in the initial instructions, to be strong and courageous. This makes me consider that it’s possible that Joshua wasn’t strong and courageous. Maybe he was weak and fearful. Maybe he was nervous about the future. Maybe he was insecure about the transition from Moses to himself. Maybe he had fears about his abilities, the enemies he would be facing, the Israelites following his leadership. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
It’s understandable to me that Joshua would have been anxious, nervous, fearful, insecure, worried, unsure, basically everything that is not “strong and courageous.” Thus, God’s repeated direction to Joshua was to be strong and courageous.
Here’s the important take-away from us with navigating transitions and changes: we have to keep our internal orientation grounded in strength and courage rather than worry, fear and insecurity. And I think that the most helpful truth that we can continually repeat is that God is with us, no matter what transitions are happening in our lives.
Dear friend, be strong and courageous because God is with you!