The Experience of Grief

I recently experienced a loss. I believe loss is subjective. Although some may minimize my experience, it was beyond tragic to me. My heart was broken. I spent a lot of time crying out to God and relying on Him to strengthen me. Although grief, like pain, is subjective, I feel that I am now in a place to look at my experience objectively. You see, I believe that every experience should lead us to a greater understanding and relationship to God. At the end of each experience, we should not only find ourselves closer to Christ, but also more like Him. My grief has taught me a reliance on God that I have never drawn upon before. I have been reminded powerfully that God will comfort us in our time of need. He will strengthen and sustain us when our own power is inadequate. Repeatedly in my recent prayers, I have been reassured that God strengthens me in every moment.

Through this experience, I realized that grief has a weird way of making the world stop and move faster all at the same time. Life was going on around me but I felt trapped in a weird vortex of motionlessness. I was aware but detached. I found myself in a perpetual state of forcing myself through the next right thing. I was making my bed. I was forcing myself to eat. I went for walks. Even as I felt some semblance of joy returning to my daily routine, fresh tears remained just beneath the surface ready to spill at any moment. None the less, I was being healed. I was starting to regain spiritual and physical strength and I have found myself incredibly grateful for the innate healing properties God has assigned to time.

I liken grief into the sorrow of our souls as we clumsily maneuver through our day-to-day world. Specifically, in working with professionals in various industries, I find people grieving physical loss of loved ones, disappointments in personal and professional capacities, and failed expectations in various promotions or roles. I find successful people expressing fear of failure, intelligent people demonstrating fatigue related misjudgments, and ethical people blurring the lines of right and wrong. Sometimes we find ourselves acting in ways that contradict the very things we believe. Like grief, when we become overwhelmed for substantial periods of time, we lose ourselves. In fact, we risk becoming the very things that displease us in others. If we’re not careful, we find ourselves in a weird vortex of motionlessness as the world moves rapidly around us perpetuating our problems.

What’s the answer? The answer is largely foundational. Although step two is to force yourself through the next right thing, that’s impossible if you don’t know what the next right thing is that you need to do. How do you force yourself through a healthy meal if you don’t realize you need to eat? You can’t. It becomes imperative that we recognize our need for Christ, not just on Sundays but throughout the week- not just at church but in our homes and offices too. We must understand that we need the Word of God and develop the habit of communing with Christ daily through prayer and application of Biblical principles. This is foundational so that in the time of crisis, we know exactly what we need to do to survive.

May we respect the healing properties of time as we continue to do the right things. Take time for yourself before you’re exhausted. Take the vacation with your family before you’re burnt out. Make exercise a priority. Make a balanced diet a habit. Stay in the word of God before circumstances knock you to your knees. We live in a fallen world. Because of this, and until our Lord returns to redeem us to Himself, we will experience heartache and frustration. A certain level of stress is unavoidable. Yet, we can powerfully instill healthy habits- both spiritual and physical- that will direct us to the source of our ultimate healing. We can begin to feel strength returning to us and eventually move beyond the situations and circumstances that are intended to break us. We can know and do the right things. By trusting in God and relying fully upon Him, we can enjoy life again.

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