I had my four bullet point post all ready to go. It was a pretty decent “how to article,” and they are helpful. Then the Lord pricked at my heart, like He sometimes does, and I felt compelled instead to ask you a question:
Are you grieving?
Don’t just give me an off handed, “No,” because you don’t know anyone recently who hasn’t passed away. That is grief as well, yet it’s not the one I am asking us to consider today.
Are you grieving:
- The loss of a relationship or marriage
- Leaving a ministry you thought would be “living the dream.”
- For a student who is walking away from the Lord
- Being fired or laid off
- That the “plans” you had for your life just seem to not be working out
Grief is not merely reserved for a loved one who leaves this earth. All sorts of things “die.” Instead of dealing with it, we think we should just declare, “Jesus has this,” quote a scripture and move on. We don’t really know what to do. Yet, we are holding a proverbial grudge and the knot in our stomach proves we don’t truly rest on the words we are saying.
I think too often we don’t even recognize that it’s grief, so we don’t know what to do or how to feel. I didn’t until a friend pointed it out.
My family is in the midst of a difficult transition of ministries and states. The decision to leave our current location was not an easy one, and was wrought with much sweat, tears and prayer. We thought we were called here “forever.” Yet, this place for the “long haul” wasn’t in the Lord’s plan and I have not been handling the whole thing very well at all. Recently, a friend of mine who works in hospice pointed out I was working through the cycle of “grief.” I thought I was just a train wreck of emotion. He actually suggested I sign up for the “Griefshare,” daily email. “Just try it, even though it sounds crazy and it might not all apply, but it just might help,” he suggested.
The first day I opened the email and thought, “I guess so.” Then as each day has passed, I have been surprised by how “on target” it is with what I am feeling. And you know what:
Honestly, I feel stupid for grieving.
I admit it. This is just a situation that isn’t working out as well as I hoped. I compare myself to all the “real” things out there that are taking people down, and I feel ridiculous that I can’t get my emotions in check. Again, I know Jesus is here with me. I know His plans are better in the end. I know the right answers, scriptures and prayers and they are helpful. I know I will even learn something through this. Yet, still I grieve and I can’t rush it. I have been angry, depressed, in denial, yep I am running the cycle.
I wonder how often we are grieving and don’t let ourselves “go there?” (It’s called denial, ironically a stage of grief.)
I wonder if we too often compare ourselves to what we “ought” to be feeling and don’t just let ourselves lean into Jesus and go through the struggle?
I wonder how often we think,
Well, my “issue” isn’t “as bad” as this, this or this. Therefore, we get stuck, isolated and stuffing down emotions that are tearing us apart. (Depression.)
Do we tell God if He will change this circumstance we will follow? (Bargaining.)
Do we say it’s alright while secretly we blame God? (Anger.)
I believe it breaks God’s heart that sin remains in the world and that it hurts us so deeply. He is weeping with us.
I think healing begins with an honest assessment of our heart. In the arms of Christ is where we find the peace that passes understanding. He holds us while we weep.
So I ask you again:
Are you grieving? (Acceptance.)
If so, me too. I guess I just wanted you to know that if you are in this process, it’s ok not to be strong or have it “all together.” Maybe you just need to hear today that it’s ok. Sometimes it’s just that we need to know the cycle is normal. Maybe we need to take ownership of our grief and discover if we need to forgive or repent. Find people to pray with you. Know if you allow Jesus in to this place, you will get to the other side.