Grief Is a Healthy, Helpful Choice
BY RICK WARREN — OCTOBER 14, 2015
For over 20 years, I have been blessed to be a member of Saddleback Church led by Pastor Rick Warren. Like all members here, Rick, his wife Kay and their family have gone through the loss of their loved ones, including their son Matthew. He often says, “God doesn’t waste a hurt.” That was the inspiration of starting this site a few years after my husband’s early departure to heaven when our son Michael was 4 years old. He turned 16 a few weeks ago and my heart is full of pride and joy at what an amazing young man he has become. He helps out with this website. My mother, Joan Downs went to heaven earlier this year in February. I cried last night when I made pumpkin bread, which I brought to her every year around this time. I also laughed, thinking about when she called me last October to let me know that I had baked a fork inside the loaf!? The circle of life … life (and death) goes on …
I received this post below written by Rick Warren as part of his Daily Hope emails. I hope it is helpful and inspirational to you at this time:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens …. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 NIV)
Life is tough. Would you agree with that? Since Adam’s sin, the world was broken, and nothing works perfectly. Your body doesn’t work perfectly; the weather doesn’t work perfectly; the economy doesn’t work perfectly; no relationship works perfectly. Life is full of losses.
You need to understand a couple of truths that will give you a better perspective as you face the inevitable losses in your life and rise above them.
First, God doesn’t expect you to be happy all the time.
There is this myth that Christians should be always smiling, always happy, always cheerful, like Pollyanna or Little Orphan Annie.
In fact the Bible says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens …. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 NIV).
Sometimes the only appropriate, logical response to life is grief. The Bible says you are to grieve over your losses, including your disappointments, your sin, the suffering in the world, and your friends who are spiritually lost. God doesn’t expect you to be happy all the time. In fact, he wants you to be intentional in your grief.
Second, grief is essential to your health.
If you never grieve over anything, it means one of three things: You’re out of touch with reality, you’re out of touch with your own emotions, or you don’t love. Because when you love and you see sad things, then that makes you grieve.
Grief is a painful emotion, but it’s a healthy and helpful emotion. And it’s God’s gift. It’s the tool that God gives us to get through the transitions of life.
Some of you were hurt many years ago growing up. Maybe your parents divorced. Maybe you were abused. Maybe you were hurt by something somebody said about you. But as a child, you didn’t know how to grieve in a healthy way, so you just pushed it down deep inside you.
You need to go back and grieve over it. Why? Because if you don’t grieve, you get stuck emotionally, and you spend the rest of your life reacting to something that happened a long time ago and taking it out on the people around you now. It’s unhealthy!
David talked about this in Psalm 32:3: “When I kept things to myself, I felt weak deep inside me. I moaned all day long” (NCV).
The bad things that happen to you are not your choice. But grief is a choice. You say, “I don’t like feeling sad.” Not everything that’s helpful and healthy feels good. You’ve got to let yourself mourn the losses of life so that you can move on with your life and receive God’s blessing.
Talk It Over
- What loss have you failed to grieve? How has it affected you physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
- How do you know when it is time to finish grieving?
- What does it look like practically to allow others to grieve and support them in their time of loss?
Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.
At Grief Hope Network, we recognize there are several ways to help you feel better in the grief recovery process. Many people don’t feel comfortable in sharing their feelings with people they don’t know in traditional counseling sessions. As part of your online grief support, you can connect and communicate with other members at www.GriefHopeNetwork. I hope you enjoy this message; post your comments in the Chat Room, Discussion Forum or Member Blogs. Please reach out to other members for support there and share your thoughts and feelings as well. Please let us know if the member grief blogs and online grief discussion forums are helpful. I pray this site provides you Help for Today & Hope for Tomorrow.
Grief Hope Network