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 ten 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 someday.
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