“He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it.”
We’ve covered three out of the five tools for a healthy heart in the past two posts. Keep in mind that tools only work if you use them. To heal our hearts from the guilt of sin and our separation from God, we utilize the tools of confession and repentance. Our hearts are restored when we’ve been hurt and offended by others by using the tool of forgiveness. The fourth tool for emotional wholeness is grieving when you’ve experienced loss or disappointment.
Emotions are a gift from God. They help us understand ourselves and those around us while connecting us with God. Pain alerts us that something is wrong so that we can tend to it, to experience God’s healing and freedom. One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to give ourselves permission to feel and deal with our emotions. Don’t ignore or deny your emotions by sweeping them under the rug of your heart, because eventually they will come out.
I experienced great loss when my dad was not able to be at most of my wedding festivities. I had forgiven him for the offense, but didn’t realize I hadn’t grieved it, until being triggered forty-five years later. I thought I had forgotten the pain by slamming the door of repression, only to realize that God, nor my heart ever forgot. It was God’s kindness to bring the loss up to the surface of my memory and emotions so that through grieving, I could be set free from the hold it still had on me.
I intentionally grieve my disappointment from unmet expectations by pouring out my heart to God through prayer, or by writing it down in my journal. I then listen to God speak to me about that loss and let Him comfort me. At times I also share my heart with my husband or with a trusted friend and confidant.
Grieving helps us move forward and not remain stuck in the past. Releasing and letting go of our pain and loss helps us get to the place of acceptance, where we can fully embrace what God has for us next. Psalm 34:18a promises “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” Let God turn your mourning into gladness and give you comfort and joy in place of sorrow (Jeremiah 31:13). Instead of sweeping your loss and disappointment under the rug of your heart, use the tool of grieving to bring restoration.
“We are healed of grief only when we express it to the full.”
Charles R. Swindoll
What loss or disappointment do you need to grieve?