Think back to the last big transition you made in your life. Was it high school to college? Single-life to married-life? A move to a new city?
My guess is that as you reminisce on those memories you are flooded with both positive and negative emotions. The thrill of a new adventure, the anxiety of unknowns, the fear of failure, the hope of a fresh start. Some transitions we look forward to with anticipation, others are forced on us unwillingly. But one characteristic of transition is true for everyone…it is inevitable.
And when we face transition, gentlemen, we must face it well.
But what does that mean? What does it mean to face the transitions in our life “well”? I would argue that transitioning well has very little to do with what life looks like after the transition is complete, and has much more to do with how you carry yourself in the midst of the changes taking place.
I wrote in detail previously about how we are to treat those around us during seasons of trial in an article titled “As the Fire Refines“. You’ll find there that I advise everyone approaching difficulty to remember the importance of how you treat others who are in your life during those seasons. We must never neglect or mistreat the ones closest to us who are the most able and willing to press into our pain.
Those are the people we must let in. Those are the conversations we must continue to have. And those are the relationships we must keep healthy and tend to before all others. Not because we are seeking to take advantage of their kindness by constantly needing more from them. Conversely…we water the soil of those relationships to ensure that the people we love most are not pushed away. To ensure that they feel loved, and that they are cared for well. Doing this during seasons when people expect the opposite is an exceptionally effective way to make an impact in their lives.
In this same way…we are to be thoughtfully intentional to seek out opportunities to serve and love others during seasons of transition. There are so many details that can keep our focus turned inwards when we go through life changes. But if we keep those things as our focus, we miss an incredible opportunity to serve and love others well. Transition, as with trial, is expected to be approached with selfish and self-serving behavior by those on the outside looking in. As gentlemen in this modern, ever-transitioning world, we need to do our part to redefine that expectation.
Make a conscious decision to be someone who looks for opportunities to serve during seasons of change in your life. If you’re moving to a new city…bake something to take to your neighbors instead of expecting them to come knock on your door and welcome you to the neighborhood. If you’re starting a new job…come home and start doing the laundry without being asked, instead of slumping down on the couch and expecting your wife to tend to your every need after your long and stressful day as “the new guy” at work.
Meet the expectation of selfishness with an attitude of service, and you’ll create a unique opportunity to genuinely bless those around you. That is, after all, to be one of the primary intentions of the modern day gentleman. To create opportunities, in everyday interactions and experiences, for us to bless and serve the people in our lives.
So go. Go and be men who look outwards instead of inwards. Who first think others instead of self. Who pour out instead of seeking to be filled up.