October 6, 2014 – Overcoming Losses – Part Three

5. Facilitate the grieving process

The natural response to any crisis is to first deny that it is really happening, then get angry that it did happen, then try to alter the situation by bargaining with God or others. When that doesn’t work you feel depressed. You cannot bypass the grieving process, but you can shorten it by allowing yourself to feel the full force of the loss. The fact that certain losses are depressing is reality. It hurts to lose something that has value to you. Your cannot fully process your loss until you feel its full force. That is probably what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

6. Face the reality of the loss

Only after you have faced its full impact are you ready to deal with the reality of the loss. This is the critical juncture. Are we going to resign from life, succumb to the depression and drop out, or are we going to accept what we cannot change and let go of the loss? We can feel sorry for ourselves for the rest of our lives, or we can decide to live with our losses and learn how to go on in a meaningful way. A prolonged depression signifies an over-attachment to people, places and things that we had no right or ability to control.

7. Develop a biblical perspective on the loss

The trials and tribulations of life are intended to produce proven character. We suffer for the sake of righteousness. We can potentially come through any crisis a better person than the one we were before. Losses are inevitable and they are not intended to destroy us, but they will reveal who we are. People have discovered or deepened the awareness of who they are in Christ as a direct result of losses. Each subsequent loss only deepens that reality, perfects our character, and prepares us for an even greater ministry. We are all going to be victimized by losses and abuses. We can drown in our own pity, blame others, claim that life isn’t fair, and stay depressed the rest of our lives. Whether we remain a victim is our choice. “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11).

Dr. Neil

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