Calling all people who don’t want to hope anymore. Grief is an important, irreplaceable process that all of us must experience. It is painful and alienating. The person who grieves is often not understood by those who surround him or her. You might not feel understood because of your grief. It feels like life stops and the world is turned inside out. It becomes harder to work, to sleep, and even to dream. But don’t let your grief define you.
But then the strangest thing happens. Grief becomes comfortable.
We pass the stages of denial and bargaining, and reality sinks in. We slowly, somehow, pick up the pieces and go back to the office. We keep paying the bills and buying groceries. Life continues to carry us along. But the person who has grieved will never be the same. And in fact, that person doesn’t want to be. It’s important that you don’t let your grief define you.
Don’t Let Grief Mark You for the Rest of Your Life
Grief can tear your heart out, but some people allow grief to mark them for the rest of their lives. They hand their power over to the spirit of loss, and it plagues every decision, every conversation. These people remember the alienated feeling that set in when they first began to grieve, and they believe this feeling will never leave. They resolve to be forever alone and forever hopeless. Grief weaves itself into their identity. It’s important that you don’t let your grief define you.
Is that what you were created for? To let a traumatic experience divide your life into two parts – the “good life” before and the “bad life” after?
Does God Want Me to Suffer?
God created you by breathing his own breath into you (Genesis 2:7). He made you in his image and gave up his own life for you (Genesis 1:27, Romans 5:8). You are infinitely valuable to him because he redeemed you with an infinitely valuable person. You have gone through a lot – more than any human person will understand – but you must know that God feels your pain as much as you do. He’s heartbroken, and there’s only one thing on his mind – bringing you back to joy.
This grief and loss, on the other hand, is not from him. You need to start seeing it as a prison that Satan has trapped you in. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;” says Jesus in John 10:10. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” It’s important that you don’t let your grief define you.
Will I Ever Be Happy Again?
Are you living life to the full? Is it hard to even remember what that was like? Take a moment and think about your favorite memory. This might be hard if that memory includes someone whom you’ve lost. But do it anyway – go back there, and really feel that moment. And if it makes your heart break, then invite Jesus to meet you in that heartbroken place. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalms 34:18). You and I both know that this is the ultimate act of trust. Allow God to meet you in your brokenness, and he will teach you how to hope again.
I Don’t Want to Hope Anymore
Who is more powerful – God or your grief? And who offers a better life? Grief has fed you the lie that “this is all there is.” But if you allow God to clear your eyes, you’ll start to feel things you thought you’d forgotten.
I see people imprisoned by grief all the time. People who have lost a child, or a husband, or believe that they will never marry. People who have lost relationship with their parents or experienced a divorce. Their grief tells them that they must protect themselves and create a safe world. They become anxious about everything because they believe they must control everything. The grief often affects their physical bodies – injuries worsen, eating habits change, and aging accelerates.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” writes Paul in Galatians 5:1. “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” It’s easy to let ourselves be burdened again – the burden can actually feel like it’s protecting us! But you know that you can dream again. You know it. You’re just afraid to hope for it – and that’s okay. Let God meet you in your fear – ask him to show you the way out.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.(1 John 4:18)
Read more about How to Find Joy Even Through Grief.