For the past ten years or more society has had an obsession with reality TV shows that focus on change. Whether it’s ‘Backyard Blitz’, ‘Biggest Loser’ or ‘Extreme Makeover’, the common denominator is change. The ‘before and after’ is often presented to us in a neat half-hour or one hour episode but the fact is, change isn’t quick.
Behind the scenes sits a process that takes time, commitment, hard work and usually a sizeable support team. Have you ever wondered what happens after the show ends, or wished you could visit a year or so later just to see how things have progressed? What we witness during the program is just the initial change but it doesn’t finish there, because unless the person commits to continuing the process of transition or maintaining the initial change, at the very least, they’re likely to end up back at the starting point. I would suggest that the transition never ends; it’s actually an ongoing process.
This fascination with change shouldn’t really surprise us because we’re actually designed for it. While God isn’t particularly concerned with outward adornment or renovation, he has a keen interest in renovations of the heart and mind. We are encouraged throughout the scriptures to be constantly striving to become more Christlike and to persevere in the development of Godly character, qualities and practices. So as followers of Jesus, we too should be undergoing a transition that never ends.
At HopeStreet, everything we do is geared towards transitions. We believe that there are no quick fixes for poverty, homelessness, or social isolation. Real change happens when we journey with people for the long haul. Research reveals that it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit or make a lasting change. The bigger the change or the more dedication it requires, the longer it takes to make that change and sustain it. Whatever the number of days, months or years, this is the transition period when new ideas are formulated and behaviours adjusted. Our experience at HopeStreet tells us that the transition period for most of the people we work with is measured in years. To confront and change their thoughts, issues and behaviours requires tenacity and dedication on their part, along with intensive and consistent support, from us and other agencies, over a long period of time.
HopeStreet’s programs are all about encouraging healthy choices and positive change. They are designed to provide the participants with every chance of ensuring that the changes they choose to make will be permanent. The programs are designed to support people as they transition from a place of isolation or worthlessness to a place of hope and fulfilment. Whether it’s a homeless person who enters ‘The Terrace’, an intensive program to transition men from homelessness to independent living; a person who hasn’t worked for many years who enrols in our Employment Training Program, a social enterprise that provides paid on-the-job training to transition people from unemployment to work readiness; or a woman involved in sex work who visits our Women’s Space program, a safe space for street based sex workers, supporting women as they work toward a safer and healthier lifestyle. Whatever the need, we’re here to support and journey with people as they navigate their way through transition towards wholeness in life and hope for eternity.
Transition is an essential part of our life experience and we should welcome it, because the lesson or gratification is often not in the change itself, but in what is learned during the process of transition.