Who wants to talk about grief? It is a very difficult topic which leaves us vulnerable. However, grief that is not fully grieved and not fully dealt with will come back to bite us eventually. Even if we stuff it so that it is out of conscious access, the emotions will come up. Then we will, not knowing why or the source, attack those around us unjustly. We might have stuffed it, but emotions always leak out eventually. When that happens, we have no idea why we are feeling what we are feeling because we have stuffed the conscious thoughts shoving them into our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind remembers and feels without the means for coping with it. The stress of the grief is still there, just unresolved. When stress is unresolved, it affects every part of our lives even if we do not recognize it. It can even cause illness to form, plaguing us, making life miserable.
Have you been chronically ill? Have you been to the doctors with physical issues and the doctor either cannot find anything wrong or what is wrong is hard to diagnose? Do you get really angry easily? Perhaps you have also had a big loss in your life that you stuffed thinking that would take care of it? Are you depressed? There are other questions you can ask yourself about your emotional and physical health. Perhaps it would be time then to search your heart to see if the grief of that loss you stuffed still brings tears to your eyes when you talk about that memory. If it does, search the memory to see where the sticking point is. What are you believing that keeps that pain alive? Ask God to help you to resolve the issue so that you can finish the grieving process. God did not intend grief to be a life long issue in your life. Grief is a truth based emotion that you feel because of a significant loss in your life. But, sometimes the enemy plants lies in the grief event or in our analysis of the event afterward. When that happens, we cannot resolve the grief, because of the imbedded lies. The lies keep the grief pain alive and make it fester like an infection in our soul.
There are many reasons why we may feel the need to stuff our grief. It may be too overwhelming to feel it all at once. A lie may be in our hearts that makes us believe we are at fault and that is too much to bear. Someone may have told us to get over it. That is their issue. Don’t listen to them. They are simply reacting to their own issues about it and they may feel uncomfortable with your grief. That is their problem. Whatever the reason is, it is time for you to pull that grief out and feel it fully, ask God to remove any lies or misconceptions attached to it, and allow yourself to work your way through it. There is no way around the “shadow of the valley of death” or loss. We must walk through it in order to truly get out of the valley.
Grief is not always about death. It is always about loss. When we lose someone or something that is close to our heart, we grieve the loss. Missionary kids and kids who grow up moving a lot tend to have many unresolved losses that they have not been able to grieve. The following is an excerpt from my diary:
“There is so much to think about and do. But, I struggle to do any of it. My grief is like a boa constrictor, squeezing the life out of me. It makes my mind foggy. It makes me clumsy and accident prone. It saps my energy, steals my thoughts and makes me feel like I have been hit by a Mac truck. It is all I can do to drag myself out of bed in the morning. Lord help me!”
That is the result of unresolved grief that was stuffed for years. When grief is stuffed, it grows and gets bigger, stronger and more unbearable. Please don’t stuff your grief. Allow yourself to walk through that valley so that you can come out the their side. I am now working through grief issues that I stuffed years ago. I have had many losses in my life but never felt like I was allowed to grieve. Now I reap the consequences. But I finally am recognizing the source of many emotions that I could not pin down before; anger, self beating verbally, physical pain that has started my arthritis, and so on. I am beginning to be able to walk with God in the places of loss. I knew all of this in my head but it has taken a long time for me to recognize it in myself.
If you are going through something similar, join a group that can be a support to walk through it with you. The Grief Share program is a great resource to help you understand what you are going through and point you in the right direction as you begin your own personal journey through the valley with God.
Many blessings to you all!