There are some things in life that we look forward to ending. Personally, I like it when these things come to an end—a bad movie, a visit to the dentist, a stressful workday, a long phone conversation … a pandemic. I could go on and on, and I’m sure you could name a pretty long list without much help as well.
These types of endings are great. They are the endings we look forward to, but what about the endings that we don’t want—the end of a relationship, a job, a hobby, your health, a stage of life. These types of endings can be challenging. In fact, they might be so difficult that we don’t want to deal with them. Instead, we want to move on quickly to the next thing, believing we are okay.
Last weekend, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder shared with us what William Bridges wrote in his book Transitions—that we’re better equipped to navigate change and uncertainty when we understand the journey of transition. This journey starts with a healthy ending.
The first step to ensure a healthy ending is to name it. It might be something significant and obvious, like a relationship, but it might be something smaller that isn’t as easily identifiable. The indicators from this weekend’s message can help us see that there may be an ending in our lives that needs to be named. If you find yourself comparing, criticizing, or catastrophizing, slow down and ask yourself if something has recently ended. Once you recognize it, name it.
The second step Ben shared is to grieve it. Something has come to an end, and along with that ending comes a variety of emotions. Many of us would prefer to move on to the “next thing” and ignore those emotions, but that doesn’t allow us to experience a healthy ending. If you are missing “what was,” let yourself remember and reflect on the good things that are no more.
The final step is to release it by giving it to God. Surrender your emotions, your grief, and your plans for the future to him. Trust that his plans are good, even if it doesn’t feel that way. He can take whatever you are going through and redeem it, giving you hope and purpose for the future.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Have you recently experienced an ending?
Was it a healthy ending?
If so, were the steps of naming it, grieving it, and surrendering it present?
If not, what is the next step you need to take in order to make it a healthy ending?
For fun, write out a list of things that you love (or would love) to see end.
Write about your most recent significant ending. Take time to name it, capture your current feelings about it, and begin to grieve it if you haven’t. Finally, release it to God and trust him for what’s next.
21 Days of Prayer: Deepen Each Other’s Love (Day 12):
Dear God, in the uncertainty and unknown of this season, deepen our love for one another. Let the way I treat others be a reflection of the way you have loved me. Let the world see how great it is to follow you through the love your followers show to one another and to the world around them. Help me to treat each and every person with the dignity and worth that you have placed in them. Allow me to see others through your eyes and have compassion and love that is often hard to find in this world. Thank you for loving me. Amen.
21 Days of Prayer: Courage to Authentically Share and Care (Day 13):
Dear God, there is no greater purpose for today than to share your story. But we confess how often we miss opportunities to share, or even turn away from a moment when we could care for another. Help us set aside anything that would distract us or take away from this great truth – it’s because you first did all of this for us that we now have the privilege to do it for you. When we are united with you, Father, our hearts grow. Give us the courage to believe what you say and then act on it. Amen.
21 Days of Prayer: Guest Online and In Person (Day 14):
God in heaven, we pray that you would give us open hearts and open minds to receive those whom you send through our doors, be they physical doors or virtual doors. We trust that each person shows up because you ordained their presence long ago. We thank you for the incredible privilege of telling them about how much you love all of us, but especially them. Open their hearts to the message you have for them today. Give us wisdom as we continue to discover new ways to share your love, and help us to do all we do for your glory, because it is in your name that we pray—amen.
This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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