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Relaxing Into a New Pace

by CHRISSY WINSLOW TRANSITION Balancing ministry, family, & life Burn out Expectations
Relaxing Into a New Pace
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“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:1-2

As a fitness instructor, I’ve observed how perception influences the transition from starting point to making progress toward goals. For example, if someone wants to lose twenty pounds, she may over-focus on the desired outcome of fitting into jeans or buying swimsuits. Longing for the end goal (that may or may not happen the way she wants) makes small successes along the way impossible to see. It makes incorporating new, healthy behaviors into her routine feel like drudgery. Every meal and workout becomes an obstacle preventing the outcome, instead of measurable progress she can celebrate. 

It’s as if she is on the ground, trying to leap onto a roof in a single bound. It’s impossible to make successful transitions this way. This mindset usually leads to giving up, regressing, or sinking further into unhealthy behaviors. Some antonyms for transition describe this well: stoppage, decrease, idleness, stagnation, decline. 

I’ve been stuck in this mindset for two weeks. Our city entered a third lockdown. We've returned to online school. Another pandemic-related transition. 

I have all my normal responsibilities plus new ones. Again. My stress relievers—gyms and coffee shops—are closed. Again. 

I understand why it’s necessary, but I despaired when I heard the news and groaned, “I can’t do this again.” 

After a week of exhaustion, trying to accomplish my normal routine as if there had been no change, I realized my efforts were not sustainable. I could not change the realities of another shutdown, but I could make healthy choices in the transition. 

I went to God in brokenness and took time to decompress. Eventually I realized completing my goals would take longer than I wanted. That was a reality I needed to accept. Instead of giving up, how could I set more reasonable goals? How could I learn to recognize and celebrate small victories in a slower process? Those shorter, reachable rungs on a ladder would eventually get me closer to my goals. 

Once again, through practical life experience, God is teaching me to enjoy the process of refinement and see beauty in small victories. I am free to relax into the pace He is setting in this transition.

Closing Prayer
Father, I am overwhelmed by the expectations I’m heaping on myself during this latest lockdown. I need to accomplish many things, but I can’t finish them all quickly, with one giant leap of willpower. I can’t continue on the schedule that worked for me two weeks ago when community life was carrying on as normal and my child was attending school on campus. I alternate between feeling immobilized by stress so that I can’t even get started, or exhausting myself by taking on too much for one day. Please show me a better way to live during this time. Please help me sort through what I can let go of for now. I need help prioritizing what remains in doable, healthy ways. Help me reach out to You and others for encouragement and help when I need it. I do not have to walk through this time alone. Amen.
Question for Reflection

What have you learned in the past that could be helpful to remember when unexpected transition comes into your life?

Chrissy Winslow
June 23, 2022

I can’t always prevent change, but I can choose some things about how I transition by turning to God and others for help. I can prioritize my to-do list carefully and give myself grace. It’s also okay to give myself time to adjust. I do not have the physical strength or mental capacity to get everything done in one day. I can give grace to others as they are also re-learning life during the transition. I can walk with my Father, one step at a time, in this new pace of life. I don’t have to have everything figured out in order to move forward with Him in trust.