When we were kids, change was easy, and a natural part of growing up. Each summer we graduated from one school grade, and began the next one in fall. We started playing a sport in one league, and playedin that league until we were too old for it. Beginnings and endings were determined by our age eligibility (well, I guess grades and performance played a small role as well…).
As grown ups, though, our commitments aren’t broken up into neat grade levels. We can stay in our current roles and positions indefinitely. Quitting or moving on is generally frowned upon and we resist this kind of change. Besides, we tell ourselves, people are counting on us, we wouldn’t want to let them down!
But, just like graduating from Grade 3 to Grade 4 is healthy in school, change is important as grown ups too. Quitting (what we call “graduating”) Grade 3 is precisely what allows you to move to the next grade, just as saying “no” some grown up commitments lets you move into a new season of life.
In his podcast, Rob Bell introduced his mantra “everything for a reason, for a season”, which has been incredibly helpful as I’ve evaluated various commitments recently. It can be helpful to look at some roles and responsibilities and ask, “has this season come to an end?” Or, “am I still tracking with my original reason for saying ‘yes’ to this commitment in the first place?”
Are there any commitments you need to “graduate” from in order to move onto the next thing?
Seasons of life aren’t well-defined, but if we think of them more like grades in school we might give ourselves the permission to “graduate” occasionally in order to grow into the next season of life.