Usually when we hear the word grief/grieving, we associate it with the death of someone close to us. But the truth is, people can experience grief for other reasons. Any situation that causes the feeling of loss can result in a person experiencing grief.
I believe we are in the “grieving” process as a nation and do not even realize it. I believe we do not recognize we are grieving because “fear” is being promoted irrationally. This does not mean there are not things we should fear. It simply means it is out of balance.
For those of you that do not know the stages of grieving I am listing them now with just a short definition of each which is only a breath of how much stuff could be identified for each stage.
- Denial - The inability to accept the reality (truth) of the situation initially. Knowledge (head) and emotions (heart) just do not connect.
- Anger – Lashing out blaming others, self, and even God for the loss. What lies behind the anger/frustration is anxiety/fear. Anxiety and fear cause us to feel out of control, not knowing what to do or how we will make it, what about kids, our home, etc.
- Guilt – Usually has to do with “if I had only” statements. If I had only been there. If I had been watching more closely. If I had put more money in savings. If we had gotten to the doctor sooner, etc.
- Bargaining – This usually takes place when dealing with a terminally ill patient. In the case of a terminally ill person bargaining with God for more time. In the case of a parent bargaining with God to take them instead of their child, etc. This stage involves the hope that the person can avoid a cause of grief
- Depression - This stage brings on feelings of being overwhelmed, feeling hopeless/helplessness and belief that things will never get better. This can result in loss of interest or desire for usual life activity, crying spells, anxiety, insomnia, loss of weight, gaining weight, anger outburst, etc.
- Acceptance/hope – This is the final stage of grief/grieving. It is when we have had time to work through the other stages and are accepting a new normal. We can talk more freely about our loss without emotions overwhelming us. The acceptance stage does not mean we have forgotten the loss, whether a person and or other circumstances. It just means we have moved on to putting a new plan/options in place for our life without allowing the loss to keep us stuck in the past.
The grieving process is not an exact science and it does not always follow the 5 stages in the model Kubler-Ross shared in her book in 1969 “On Death and Dying”. It has however become a common foundation for many to understand the grieving process. The stages do not always happen in order and many times we go back in forth between the stages and can even get stuck in the stages. The magnitude and intensity of grieving varies between individuals, the circumstances of the loss, personality types, beliefs systems about God, etc.
Why did I take the time to give you all the information on the grieving process? Because I want you to be able to understand what I mean when I say I believe we are grieving as a nation.
So, what are we “grieving”? Here are just a few possibilities of many.
- Loss of freedom- The ability to come and go without considering covid-19 to church, the grocery store, hospitals, family gatherings, schools, nursing homes, funerals, etc.
- The ability to have an opposing opinion without being attacked verbally, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Loss of lives to Covid-19, rioting and murder. The loss of jobs, homes, businesses, our history whether you agree with it or not, good, or bad it is still history.
- The loss of feeling and or being safe.
- The loss of order that has been replaced with chaos.
That is a lot of loss my friends!
So, would you mind doing something today as you read this? Check yourself. Be honest. Could you be grieving? I can promise you that many of you have been in touch with the term “fear”. It has been being instilled in us since Covid-19 broke out. Again, we should be wise about Covid-19 it is real, but we should not live in the fear that is being perpetuated about it. Then add the George Floyd’s death, rioting, media, politics, and life as we knew it is gone.
So, I took the test if you will. I got honest with myself and I realized that I am in the grieving process. So here is what the grieving process looks like for me.
- Denial –. I have had days when I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. I still have them occasionally. But in the beginning of this I could not believe this was our nation. Each day I am confounded by the craziness of it all! When I finally accept what is occurring at face value, I go straight to the angry stage.
- Anger – I have a difficult time believing people can be so deceived. I can get angry about how the loss of freedom in all those areas I mentioned earlier has affected our nation. The anger for sure has been perpetuated by all that I see and hear. I do hold lots of government officials responsible for where we are as a nation. Some of my anger is righteous anger as people make a mockery of the things of God. The absolute disrespect of authority starting with God, coming back down to governmental authority, police, etc., wears me out! But I keep most of my thoughts to myself and immediate family members. Which stuffing things as we know can lead to the next stage.
- Depression – Yes, I for sure have been in and out of this stage. Some due to side effects of chemo medicine. But some from stuffing feelings about everything that has been going on in the world instead of taking it to the LORD! He is such a Gentleman. He does not grab it from us, but He is there waiting for us to hand it over.
- Guilt – I suspect I get concerned that I am missing opportunities to bring truth into the middle of this chaos. But then I am reminded by His sweet Spirit, do what I can where I am.
- Bargaining – Not really
- Acceptance/Hope – About 2 weeks ago, I started going in and out of this stage. Mostly by being reminded by His Word that He is Sovereign, All Knowing, All Powerful, and He fights for His Children, He avenges wrongs, and He is a shield about us. He is our Hope and our Salvation. He is not knocked off his throne by what is going on anywhere in this world including our nation. Is He sad, displeased, and angry at the sin? Yes, but as believes we know how it ends and it does end my friends. God will not be mocked!
So, can I ask you the question again. Is it possible that you are grieving the loss of freedom as you knew it? Are you really living in fear and or are you grieving loss? I suspect many people are stuck in the angry stage of grief regarding our loss of freedom. Are you stuck in any of these stages? Do you realize grieving is happening to you more than fear? Being able to move forward requires us to be able to identify the real issue.
I would like to end this blog with a paragraph from Charles Stanley’s 30 Life Principles Bible Study, which is well worth your time if you get a chance to go through it.
And I quote, “…because His standard it higher than that of the culture in which you live, obeying His commands will set your apart from the crowd. In certain circumstances, it will make you a target or scorn from the world that denies His authority. As you strive to meet God’s standard, you might be accused of intolerance and narrow-mindedness, or single out on social media or in social settings. The consequences can be sever …which is why God instructs you to leave them to Him. He can bring ultimate good from even the direst consequences.”
And remember Ephesians 6:12 (ESV), “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him