I attend The Community Church in Ashburn, Virginia and felt inspired to share my notes from Pastor Charlie Whitlow's sermon this morning.
Are you blessed?
Matthew 5:4 says, "blessed are this who mourn, for they will be comforted."
1. ALL of us will experience loss in this life. No one will escape this life without being touched by pain, sorrow, and loss in this life.
Christianity is a sober-minded walk through this life that embraces and experiences the tangible presence of God in spite of difficulties of life.
2. The only healthy response to loss is mourning.
What is mourning? To allow the feelings of grief, loss, heartache, and sorrow to run the full course of life. The book of Psalms is the largest book of the bible. People are speaking to God. Laments are in the book of Psalms. What are laments? Songs and prayers of sorrow, heartbreak, and confusion. Where are you God? Why did you let this happen? This is not what I thought was suppose to happen. Prayers of anger to God. People pouring out their real troubles and complaints to the Lord. Anger, weeping, and crying to the Lord.
If you have never been disappointed or angry at God, then at best you have a superficial relationship with God.
3. Problem: Not all of us adequately grieve or mourn our losses.
We ignore the pain through hyperactivity in Northern Virginia.
A blessed life happens to those who know how to mourn.
Whatever we suppress doesn't go away. It finds an alternative way out. Usually undealt with grief comes out in unhealthy ways including addictions and physical illnesses.
Grief is a normal healthy human response when there's loss, which when handled effectively leads to a growth. When the grieving process is short-circuited, it can lead to health issues. Unprocessed grief can lead to anxiety and depression.
Experiencing losses without adequate grieving stunts our health physically and spiritually.
4. All of us need to learn how to grieve well.
How many of our health issues are caused by blocked mourning and unfinished grieving?
Symptoms of unfinished grief that we're not done mourning a loss by Peter Garlock:
- Seeming forever sad, angry, depressed, often feeling numb or nothing at all. The intellectual type. Unemotional. Flat. Unable to bond emotionally with others.
- Minimizing their loss. It's not a big deal. Others have it worse than I do. I'm not sad, just tired.
- Chronic weariness or anxiety. It takes a lot of energy to suppress pains.
- Addictions. Trying to temporary trying to medicate or numb the relentless pain. The #1 addiction is through activities.
- Repeat anniversary depressions.
THE BLESSED LIFE TEST
Question: Have you adequately grieved your losses?
Life will reach new heights if we grieve well.
Grieving well assignment:
1. Pay attention to your losses. Think through your life and losses. Write them down. Make 3 columns. One with age, the loss, and how you responded. Ages 3-12, 12-19, 20-26, and 27+.
2. Honestly express your feelings to God.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief; And like One from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him. But in fact He has borne our griefs, and he has carried our sorrows and pains; Yet we assumed that He was stricken, struck down by God and degraded and humiliated. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was crushed for our wickedness. The punishment for our well-being feel on Him. And by his wounds we are healed.
Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the So info God, let us hold fast our confession of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted, knowing exactly how it feels to be human, in every respect as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with confidence and dwitout fear, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
3. Share your grief with others in the family of God. Community Church Motto: This is a safe place NOT to be 'OK.'
4. In time allow the grief to give birth to something new.
Death leads to resurrection. Something new will be birthed. You'll have a new way to connect with others.
In Matthew 26, Jesus grieves well. What does he do? He takes his friends, goes into the garden, and prays. He says I'm so sad to the point of death, would you pray for me?
The Community Church has a Grief Share support group on Tuesday nights at 7pm. For more information, go to: www.thecommunitychurch.org