Part of my work is helping people grieve. Or at least learn how to grieve. It’s not one of my favorite parts because it always stems from the reasons why they need to grieve. It means hurt. Brokenness. Pain. Disappointment. That never feels good.
Yet the fact remains… part of living in a fallen world… is living among the thorns. We must learn to grieve because there will always be reasons to do so.
As much as we need to know how to grieve, however, I continually meet people who either don’t know how or refuse to allow themselves to grieve. I’ve even met well-meaning believer who believe they shouldn’t. The Scripture is clear. We do grieve. We simply don’t grieve like the rest of the world.
So, here are 10 suggestions for healthy grieving:
Don’t deny the pain – It hurts. Admit it. Be honest with yourself with others and especially with God. If it’s anger… tell it. If it’s profound sadness… say it. You’ve got to grieve at some point to move forward, and you’ll grieve sooner and better if you’re honest about the need.
Learn to pray – Grieving can draw you close to the heart of God. See that as one blessing in the midst of pain. The Scripture is clear… draw close to God and He will draw close to you. He is close to the broken hearted. Use this difficult time to build a bond with God that you’ll never regret having.
Remain active – You may not feel like being around people, but if you’re normally a very social person, discipline yourself in this area. Granted, some people were never very social, even before their grief. We shouldn’t expect much more from them in grief, but even for them, community matters. Don’t shelter yourself from others.
Stay healthy – Eat well and exercise. Sleep as regularly as you can. Stick to a schedule. You’ll need the strength to carry you through this time.
Help others - There is a special blessing that comes from serving others that can help you recover from your own pain. Serve at a soup kitchen. Deliver toys to needy children. Find a way to give back and you’ll invest in the health of your own heart.
Journal your thoughts and feelings – One day you’ll be glad you did. You’ll see the process God has taken you through and the healing He has allowed you to experience. You’ll need these reminders again some day.
Give it time – Grieving doesn’t complete itself in a day… or a week… or even a year. The depth of the pain always is relative to the time of a sense of recovery. And some pain never leaves us. We simply learn to adapt to it. We learn to find contentment and even joy in the midst of sorrow and loss.
Share your story – You help others when you allow others to see you share and understand their pain. When you hide your story, you deny others of the privilege of healing through your experience.
Get help when needed – Don’t suffer alone. There are times all of us can use professional help. Don’t be ashamed to seek it.
Remember hope – If you are a follower of God… the best days are still to come. Even in your darkest days, remember, one day… every tear shall be wiped from your eyes.
You can get up, recover, and move forward again even stronger than you were before, but please don’t fail to grieve. It’s necessary. Vital. Healthy. Natural. Even Biblical. (1 Thessalonians 4)
Praying for you who need to grieve.
What suggestions do you have for healthy grieving?
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about
I was talking with a young pastor recently. He is overwhelmed with the responsibility he’s been given. His church expects a lot from him…leading the church, preaching great messages, and seeing the baptistry consistently in use. He realizes the weight of his position, but much of it he doesn’t feel qualified to deliver. He accepted the position knowing there would be challenges, but now he’s wondering if he’s in over his head.
I realized he was dealing with a huge dose of insecurity. I previously wrote “7 Traits of an Insecure Leader.”
It caused me to ask myself, so I could counsel him:
What’s the best way to deal with insecurity in leadership?
Here are 5 ways to deal with insecurity as a pastor or leader:
Avoid comparisons – Insecurity often develops when a person compares him or herself to another. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be yourself. Realize that who God designed you to be is not a mistake. Obviously, someone believed in your abilities as a leader. You need to stop comparing and start living in your own skin.
Concentrate on your abilities – What are you good at? Make a list of your good qualities. You probably have more than you think you do. In times of feeling insecure we often forget. Keep your list handy. It will help you to feel more confident if you focus more on the positives than the negatives.
Surround yourself with people who compliment your weaknesses – Part of having a healthy organization is the strength that comes from different people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are probably people who can do things you don’t feel comfortable doing. It’s not a sign of weakness to get others involved. It’s actually a sign of strength as a leader. (And it's a more Biblical model of the church.)
Keep learning – Seek wisdom from other leaders. Read books. Take additional classes. Knowledge is power. The more you grow in information the more competent you will feel in your role. (By the way, when I feel overwhelmed or insecure, I read the stories like that of Gideon, Moses, Joseph, David, or Joshua repeatedly. Great encouragement.)
Ultimately, find your identity in what’s really secure – You have a relationship with Christ. Remember, “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” If you are facing insecurity in leadership you may have to simply get better at walking by faith. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Insecurity will weigh you down and hold you back as a pastor or leader. It will keep you from doing all you were called to do. Don’t let it!
That’s my advice.
What would you add?
I often encounter people who want to begin a daily quiet time, but they aren’t sure how. It really isn’t as complicated as we often make it out to be.The main thing is simply to do something, but in case you are one of those still wanting to but not sure how…
Here are 5 easy steps to begin a daily quiet time:
Place - Pick a definite place where you’ll be everyday for your quiet time. Obviously if you travel frequently this is more difficult, but the more routine you can make this the better. It should be as free of distractions as possible. This place will soon become very comfortable to you.
Schedule Time - Pick a reasonable amount of time and put it on your schedule. If you use an electronic calendar like I do, you can set it to repeat the appointment everyday. Start with 15 minutes, maybe even 10. The key at this point is consistency, so make sure you don’t burden yourself with something you will not do. By the way, it most likely will seem like a sacrifice at first, but keep the objective in mind. You need this. As you accomplish discipline in a little time it will be easier to increase the time you spend.
Format - Decide basically how you will structure your quiet time. You may ask first what you hope to achieve and base your format around that. If developing intimacy with God in prayer is your goal, then certainly choose to spend more time in prayer. If Bible knowledge is your goal, then you may want to choose to do a Bible study. You can change the format over time and do combinations of each of these.
Activities – Decide what you will specifically do in your time. Will you do a Bible study or simply read Scripture and pray? If your time is 15 minutes, for example, you could spend 6 minutes reading the Bible; 3 minutes talking to God; 2 minutes in silence, asking God to speak to you; and 4 minutes writing your thoughts at the time. If you choose the structure of a Bible study, you may need to allow more time, but again, the key is that you decide before you start what you are going to do during this time. The goal is not to be mechanical or punch a clock here, but rather to provide structure, which will lead to productivity in your building your God relationship. Don’t worry as much about what activities you are doing at this point, just do something.
Discipline – Commit to doing something consistently for at least 30 days. Every day… without exception… do it… whether you “feel” like it or not. If you miss the exact time, make it up later in the day. Again, it will require sacrifice. Habits and lifestyles form this way and you’ll need this discipline, because as soon as you attempt this dozens of obstacles will stand in your way.
Now I realize “easy” is not the best choice of words for this post, but I did want you to read it. Forming this time into your daily schedule will not be easy. Nothing of value is ever easy. The main objective for any of us, including pastors, is disciplining ourselves to do something everyday. Over time, it becomes a habit that is easily repeated. Even better, it will soon become the best and most productive part of your day.
Help my readers out. What tips do you have? When do you do your daily quiet time? What format are you using?
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
Wow! How many times do I hear people asking a question like that? It seems to be a daily occurrence.
Or maybe not just like that, but they want to know what to do — and they don’t know what to do. So they ask a question about what to do. (Are you following?)
Unfortunately, knowing the right thing to do is not an exact science. If only I knew every time I’m asked. In fact, if it were, many of us in my profession would either be out of a job—or making a lot of money.
Of course, the first answer is to talk to God, but how many times have you done that and still cannot discern what He is saying. What do you do then—when you don’t know what to do?
Again, I don’t always know. Wish I did. Sometimes I do, but sometimes I simply have some principles I can share.
Here are a few suggestions when you don’t know what to do:
Phone a friend. Someone who knows you well. Isn’t it wonderful how God puts people in our life who can speak into our life? The challenge is often having the courage to ask and then yielding to those voices. Have you been listening to people God has been sending your way?
What would daddy or mama do? What do the morals you were raised with say you should do? If you were raised with good principles go with them. Many times we actually know the right thing to do, but our question is whether we want to do what we know is right.
Do nothing. Don’t be afraid to not make a decision if you don’t have to. Sometimes it’s okay just to be still. In fact, sometimes that’s the best decision.
Follow your gut. If, that is, your gut is good. And it’s very important that your gut be good. But if you are in a good place in life, and you know you are making wise decisions in other situations, then you can often trust the voice within you.
Take a risk. Now may be the time to put all safety concerns aside and go for it. Most risks come with an element of the unknown. You will often have to pull the trigger on moving forward without all the answers to your questions. Don’t be surprised about that. Or afraid to do it. If it is something you feel strongly about, it isn’t sinful, and it doesn’t go against some of these other principles, then GO FOR IT!
Stop worrying. It won’t help. It won’t solve the problem. And it’s probably distracting you from making a good decision.
Walk by faith. Hopefully you have a faith in God. If not, we need to talk. But if you are a believer, then you have access to a power greater than your ability to make a good decision. The Spirit of God lives within you. Take full advantage of that privilege.
Those are just a few suggestions when you don’t know what to do.
Do you have any you would add?
Ron Edmondson pastors Immanuel Baptist Church. Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about
Ron Edmondson serves as the senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, and has an impressive history of church planting and church growth. A nationally known Christian leader, he was raised in a Christian home and active in his home church, First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Tennessee, serving as a lay leader, deacon, Sunday School director, and teacher. After twenty years in business, including time owning an insurance agency and a small manufacturing company, Ron heard God’s call to ministry.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Ron’s strong theological background guides him to teach faithfully from Scripture. Ron identifies himself as a wisdom seeker and a teacher.
Find out more at: http://www.ronedmondson.com/about