Figuring it Out: Navigating Times of Transition
A phrase that’s popping up in my everyday vocabulary more and more often is, “I’ll figure it out.” My roommate and I don’t know what to make for dinner? “We’ll figure it out.” Not sure which cabinet to put the new groceries in? “I’ll figure it out.” Having difficulty scheduling the events of my week? “I’ll figure it out.” It’s a very efficient way of saying, “I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but that’s okay, I’ll know soon.”
Being asked to talk about transition seemed very fitting. After all, this season of my life seems to be mostly transition — I move back and forth between Washington and Champaign at least four times a year for school. This year, however, was full of other, new transitions; I have my first-ever apartment, which brings with it a lot of new things, such as paying bills, buying groceries, managing rent, setting up internet, making my own meals on the regular, using gas stoves, paying for laundry, etc. It’s a lot to keep track of.
I’ll be the first to say that I dreaded coming back to school this year. Sure, I was excited for class, ready to see a bunch of people I hadn’t seen all summer, but there was just so much change happening and I didn’t see any way that I was going to be able to handle it all. Plus, my life at home was really good! My family is awesome. Who am I going to watch cheesy romcoms with back at school? Who am I going to sing Carly Rae Jepsen songs with while doing the dishes? The thought of being away from the people who get me on a fundamental level broke my heart. But here I am, a month or so later: figuring it out.
I think there’s a lot in this life that God calls us to “figure out.” I’ve found this fact comforting in times of stress and/or change — which seems a bit out of character for me, a person who likes rules and guidelines. The whole notion of God’s Plan firmly rests in the idea that we have absolutely no way of understanding the full picture, let alone how our life fits into it. Therefore, we have to do the best we can in the meantime, until hindsight enables us to see the way He’s been working. A lot of the time, we realize we ended up in the exact right place we needed to be, even if that place felt wrong and painful in the moment.
This is especially true in times of change, when there is so much more uncertainty in our daily lives. Ultimately, we’ll be alright, but in a season where everything is new and confusing, it can be hard to see that. For me, it took three whole weeks before I was able to realize that everything was alright. Being able to step back every once-in-a-while and say, “Eh, I’ll figure it out” instead of trying to grasp for answers that aren’t there yet has been immensely helpful for my mental and spiritual health.
I’m going to go through many more periods of transition, of course — I’m just barely twenty years old, and there’s so much on the horizon. Where am I going to go for Grad School? How on earth am I going to get an internship this summer? And beyond just the internship, where am I going work once I leave school?
I’ll figure it out.
Lily is an undergraduate student studying architecture at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, which is a bit of a mouthful. When she’s not at school, she lives in Washington with her parents Bryan and Laura, and her little sister Claire. She enjoys — among other things — naps, watching bad movies with her family, comedy podcasts, and dinner with good friends.