Nobody is immune to sorrow, loss, and pain. Sometimes we add in guilt for feeling joy during times of celebration.
It is possible to be happy and to experience Joy without guilt. While I’m no expert, I have experienced GRIEF and have gone through its seven stages.
I’m no expert; I’m just a student of the Bible and have found some strategies that have helped me. Perhaps they can help someone else who may be struggling with the weight of GRIEF.
It may help to know that after every winter there is a spring.
“A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”
5 Strategies for Living through GRIEF, (from my own experience).
1) You never get over death, nor should you, but you may GROW through it. That hole in our hearts never gets smaller, but our hearts can GROW larger with time. If we will Look up, we can GET UP. [1King 19; Col 3:1-4]
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” [Jas 1:2-3]
2) It’s OK to REMEMBER our loved one that sleeps. If you mention my mother’s name you might make us cry. If you don’t, you’ll break our hearts. Talk about your loved one who sleeps. A word of warning; it’s possible to steal another’s joy. You can end every conversation by REQUIRING others to REMEMBER your pain. This may be difficult to understand right now while you’re engulfed in sorrow, but be aware of other’s joy or pain and that it’s unfair to steal another’s joy. There’s a time for every season. [Ecc 3:1-13].
RECOGNIZING other’s Pain or Joy gives one perspective. Perspective is powerful, but it’s up to you to RECEIVE it. Perspective is a self-soothing tool. It’s no real comfort to say that somebody else has it worse than you. How would you comfort that person with the most pain? (REMEMBER Job? Jas 5:11). But there is Someone who feels what you feel.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [Heb 4:15]
3) Don’t IGNORE your feelings, nor your physical health. It’s easy to let GRIEF permeate every part of our life and destroy it. Don’t IGNORE your emotions, but also don’t IGNORE the rest of your life. Get up & move, take a shower, and do what needs to be done. Keep doing those IMPORTANT things. Also, don’t ISOLATE yourself from others. You’ll be surprised by how many people are grieving something. You can grieve & still do what is IMPORTANT. Go to worship [2Sam 12:20-23], celebrate birthdays, and do your work. You’ll discover an INCREASE in strength you never thought possible.
“And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” [1Kings 19]
4) Ecclesiastes 7 talks about the “house of mourning.” It’s better because it’s there that we will consider our own END and take it to heart. The end of the book concludes with this lesson; “fear God & keep keep His commandments.” Life is frail & short [Jas 4:14]. Think on ETERNAL life. The hope of being resurrected unto ETERNAL life is our only true comfort. [1Thess 4:13-18]
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” [1Thess 4:13]
5) Prevent the repetitious spiraling FALL into darkness. GRIEF doesn’t have to define you & become your identity. Instead, FOCUS on the FUTURE and the FRUITFUL things you can do. There are people you can help, like those that have helped you. It’s possible to FEEL joy again. Ask yourself this, “What would your loved one want for you?” Do they want you to give up or to FEEL joy again? We know, through scripture, what they truly want for you. [Php 3:13; Luke 16:27-28]
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” [Phil 3:13-14]
It may not feel like comfort at this moment, but you’re not alone. One thing I noticed during my two plus years of trial & loss was how many others needed help. There were others who were just beginning their grief as I was working through mine. Your pain now can become another’s lifeline later. We’re all in this together.
Spencer is an evangelist for the church of Christ that meets at Franklin & Juniper Street in Borger, Texas.