As Niky wrote about last week’s blog, in life we all go through different seasons where change comes.
I have experienced times when these changes feel exciting and I am happy with the path of the change I am walking. At other times a new season hits, and I cannot see my way out or the direction I am heading and I feel as though I am in a black tunnel that is so long, I cannot see the light at the other end. Change in itself and the unknown of what it brings can feel a real challenge and very unsettling. I can have the tendency to feel out of control and off balance and this can lead me to struggle to manage my emotions and lead to thought patterns that spiral into panic, anxiety and worry. As a result, I can spend a lot of energy focusing on the ‘what if’s’ rather than the ‘what is’ and catastrophise the worst case scenarios rather than recognising the truth of where I really am in my present circumstance.
I love the song lyrics written by some friends of mine which say ‘Your present circumstance is a gift to behold’. I have found during difficult times this has been a really powerful reminder. To help me cope with the changing seasons, especially when I am in a period that feels dark and cold like winter, it helps me to refocus on the beauty of what is around me - the small things in the present of each day that I am grateful for.
I spent some time in Africa a number of years ago and distinctly remember on a visit to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, there was a bus with the words inscribed ‘The journey is more important than the destination.’ This really stuck with me and has helped me when moving through the different seasons of life. Sometimes we do not know where we are heading, things do not make that much sense, but it is what we learn and how we grow through these changes in life that are the exciting bits and far more important than the end place of what we want to achieve.
Niky explained last week, that I and my husband are currently walking into a change of season. As Christians we are walking a path of faith, stepping into something unknown and different to what we thought would happen or perhaps would have planned for ourselves with a move to North Devon. Two years ago we felt God gave us the vision to set up a rest and retreat centre and since then we have been pursuing His journey for us. For me who likes to be very planned and know where I am heading, I had very strong expectations of how it would all pan out. I thought we would reach the destination quickly and easily, finding the property we needed to set it up that and by now we would have a story to tell of how God had slotted it all into place. Of course on hindsight, what I have learnt is that this is a long journey, that we need time to be prepared and equipped for whatever the next season brings and that each of the stepping stones along the way is foundational and significant. I have had to learn to surrender and enjoy the ride of the journey, rather being so caught up with getting to the end destination immediately.
I now recognise it is out of these places of uncertainty where we are less prescriptive about what and how everything needs to be, that we have more room to grow and learn and be transformed and leave more space for ourselves to recognise the beauty of our present circumstance, however hard and uncomfortable it may feel at times.
My time partnering with Intentional Health as a volunteer, as a member on a Programme, as an Angel and over the last six months as an employed team member has been one of those significant stepping stones in my journey. When I took on the job, we all knew it may be only for a short season, but however long that season turned out to be it would be a fruitful one. Through this time, I have been taken on my own journey of transformation, I have learnt to care more about myself, in order to be able to serve others better, have recognised how to take more rest (so that I can help others with this in the future) and have most importantly taken more control over my thought patterns. When I am tempted to catastrophise and focus on the ‘what if’s’ and forget to take notice of the things I am grateful for around me in the present, I am now more able to take captive the negative thoughts for myself. It is all these things that have helped me to intentionally manage my season change as I follow the next steps of my journey, despite not having a clear picture of what it will look like and how I can plan for it!
It has been significant in helping me to see things in different ways, equip and help me gain the confidence and skills for the next part of the journey as well as being able to help Niky and the team move things forward.
Thank you to all the team at Intentional Health, and to you all for the way you have impacted my journey and helped me walk through the changing season. I will very much miss working with Niky and the team, but I am forever grateful for the experience and what it has taught me.
God bless, Tonya.
We have now launched our 2018 training dates for churches who want to partner with Intentional Health. To find out more about this, please click here.
Our next season also requires us to find more Intentional Health Angels just like Tonya. These are people who can support us along our journey as we get our 10 session community programme out into communities across the UK. you can find out more about that by clicking here.
If you want to access our free resource library - including our Free webinars and worksheets, including how we can control our thoughts and feelings please sign up here.
This part of the site is still a work in progress, so please let us know if you have any difficulties by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And once again, please let us know how you are finding your current season of life too and please share this with anyone you think might be encouraged.