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After allowing me to wallow in my humiliation for a time, my wife finally revealed the secret: "If you get close to the picture, relax your vision and focus on one spot, it will magically appear before your eyes." I finally did, and the picture became clear.

The key to retaining your sanity during the unexpected moments of transitional living is to stay focused on the big picture. Many people find themselves struggling with arrested emotional and spiritual development because they have lost the power of vision during the process of transition.

What I thought was anger in the delivery room that stormy night in Kansas City was actually the intensity of my wife's focus. When I questioned her attitude, she quickly reminded me of the doctor's advice: "Find something and focus intently on it. It may be a picture, a light bulb or even my bald spot, but whatever you do, don't break your focus."

The same advice can be applied to transitional living. Find one spot on the horizon of your destiny, and focus on it.

Our ability to change determines whether or not we survive. The simple reality is that we have no choice over whether or not we will encounter the force of change in our lifetime. Our power lies in the ability to handle it correctly when we are confronted with it.

If you resist the changes that are necessary to succeed in business, you will eventually file bankruptcy papers. If you refuse to change as your spouse matures, you will eventually file divorce papers. If you resist the changes that are necessary for soul growth, you will eventually face defeat and despair.

In order to survive transitional living, we must make peace with the journey. The challenge to change is not some kind of divine punishment; it is a gracious invitation to rise to a new level of being.

Once you stop resenting the process you can engage in the exciting journey of encountering the unexpected. I challenge you to settle these issues once and for all and get on with the business of being "transformed ... from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18).

Terry Crist is the senior pastor of City of Grace church in Scottsdale, Ariz. He is the author of The Image Maker and The Language of Babylon.

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