Overcoming Grief

    All of us struggle with grief from time to time. Grief is the result of suffering of loss.  It is also associated with affliction, anguish, vexsation, pain and sorrow. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:" (I Corinthians 10:13a).  However, we can allow it to destroy us or we can have victory over it.  The following is an outline in overcoming grief.

I. Recognize that there are stages of grief.
A. Shock.  The mind and body go into a shock mode.
B. Disbelief.  "I just can't believe this has happened to me."  This can lead to total denial or a twisting of truth.
C. Reaction.  Quite often the reaction is anger (there must be someone to blame).  This is often followed by depression.
D. Assimilation.  This is a calmer attempt to rehearse and gather all the facts.  (How, when, where, and why).
E. Recovery. There may be various approaches, but complete healing can only come through God's divine intervention.
F. Note: These stages may not always be in order and one may get stuck in any stage along the way.
II. Acknowledge your loss.
This is that you should come to realize that grief is part of life and accept the reality of it.  Denial and fantasy thinking lead to additional problems and even to a MPD or DID.  Remember all defense mechanisms are lies.  SEE Defense Mechanisms.
III. Allow yourself to feel the grief.
If you haven't stopped to grieve, stop and give yourself the privilege to grieve.  "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: .... A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance"  (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4).  It is O.K. to weep for a season.  Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).  David the King of Israel cried tears.  "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" (Psalm 56:8).  Even Jesus, the Son of God, wept at the death of Lazarus.  "Jesus wept" (John 11:35).
IV. Find a confident friend/s with whom to share your grief.
This should be someone that will have empathy with you but will also encourage you.  God and others can help you with your grief.  "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).  God is always available.  "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4).  Jesus knows what we are experiencing. "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrew 2:18).  "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" (Hebrews 4:15).
V. Understand that time does not bring true healing.
It is a lie of the enemy that time heals emotional wounds.  Time does not.  We may direct our attention on other experiences over a period of time, but deep inside the hurts remain. Emotional wounds just don't automatically go away. However, we may bury them and need to ask God to uncover them. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my disquieting thoughts: And see if there be any way of pain in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24) (Literal translation).
VI. Understand that grief does not have to last for ever.
Although time does not heal emotional wounds, they don't have to continue to be a burden.  "For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance"  (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
VII. Cast your burden of loss upon God.
Give your loss to God and let go of it.  "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (I Peter 5:7-9).  Why? Because He cares for you and if you don't you get to face the roaring lion who will devour you.
VIII. Seek God for the healing of your loss.
Jesus declared, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).  Note that Jesus was sent to heal the brokenhearted!  How?  "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5).  Jesus was our grief substitute that we might receive healing from our griefs.
IX. Prayerfully look at how you, by God's grace, can benefit from the loss.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).  The question is, "How can we know?"  Please consider raising the following questions:
A. Was it a consequence for your sin? (We should be willing to repent and learn from it).
B. Was it a consequence of the sin of someone else?  (We should purpose to forgive others and seek God to receive our healing).
C. Is God doing some pruning in your life? (We should be willing to have the goal to let go and follow the Lord).
D. Is it the result of a natural course of events such as aging?  (We should have a willingness to accept our limitations and remain available to be use of God.)
E. What character qualities could God develop in your life through this experience (example: patience, frugality, organization, faithfulness). It would be good to stop, pray, and make a list of those character qualities that God may want to develop in our lives.
X. Look to see how others may benefit from your loss.
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.  And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.  And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation" (II Corinthians 1:3-7).  God does not want to waste our experiences, even the bad one.  Remember that Joseph was bound and sold by his brothers as a slave and remained that way for some years.  However, later Joseph told his brothers, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:20).
XI. Look forward to life.
A. Look at what David said after the death of his and Bethsheba's son.  " And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?  But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.  Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.   Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.  And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?   But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.   And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him" (II Samuel 12:18-24).

B. We are to redirect our thoughts.  "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things" (Philippians 4:8).  "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2).

C. Remember that God has a plan for your life.  "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jeremiah 29:11). God says, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jermemiah 33:3).

Emotional Wounds