We live in a “Now this” world. In his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman points to this thought as he references our nightly news. The anchor describes a bus full of children going off a cliff and many are killed. We have 30 seconds or less to consider this tragedy and then, “Now this…” and the next story is presented.
We often move at break-neck speed in our lives and rarely consider our losses. I believe we are conditioned and apply this “Now this” method to our own losses. I am convinced in my own life that this method causes me to act out in unbalanced anger and manipulative ways that seem unexplainable.
Sadness is God-given, yet most of us avoid it because of how intense it feels. And based partly on the conditioning mentioned above, we may not even know what to do to step into this sadness.
Of course, this article is not the magic solution. Dealing with sadness can be deep and complex. It can feel overwhelming to step into, and therefore we tend to live in our “Now this…” cycle. Before beginning to move toward sadness, let’s briefly look at what sadness is not:
- It is not a feeling sorry for our selves…that is manipulation.
- It is not weakness.
- It is not avoidable.
- There is no set time-table for grief.
Where to start? Let’s choose a jumping off point of the four parts of ourselves we work to develop through The Crucible Project. The King/Queen, Lover, Warrior and Sage.
The sadness and grief work resides in the Lover part of us. The healthy Lover knows how to mourn properly and allows sadness to run its course. This allows the comfort only God can give based on the Beatitude from Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” If the Lover part does not deal with this grief properly, he/she will shut off emotion completely or will replace the loss in unhealthy ways.
The Lover part of ourselves is not the only place we need to touch when it comes to our losses. Loss triggers sadness for the Lover from all four parts.
- The King/Queen – An unmet or lost expectation, vision, desire, dream, etc. will trigger sadness.
- The Warrior – A loss in “battle” will trigger sadness. (Battle with illness, for a marriage, struggling alongside a loved one through losses, etc.)
- The Sage – Unable to solve the problem. The plan did not work out.
- The Lover – The loss of connection.
Based on this, here are some simple questions to begin to identify the loss/losses. Before this, work through these two introductory steps: The first step is to recognize “What am I sad about?” The second step is to note what type of loss am I experiencing? What part of myself needs focus? Here are is a question to ask for each part:
- The King/Queen – What did I expect but not get for myself?
- The Warrior – What battle did I lose?
- The Sage – What problem did I not solve? Where was my plan flawed?
- The Lover – With whom did I lose connection?
Once you have identified your loss, spend time allowing the sadness into your heart. Ask God to join you and begin His comfort process. A quick note: For as long as I can remember, I have been asking God to take away my sadness rather than walk alongside and comfort me in my sadness. I have had to learn to feel the sadness to completion so that God will comfort.
With God alongside, now go back to the part of yourself and grieve that lost expectation, battle, plan, connection. Seek solitude, guidance, a confidant. Speak your sadness out loud, not in order to get something from someone, but rather to acknowledge your pain and open up a space for grace.
Feeling the loss has the gift of beginning to live in the new. Joy is around the corner. I encourage us to step into your sadness in loss and begin to live in our power and joy.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
By Byron Myers
Byron is a weekend leader and completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009. His deepest desire is to help people believe in their God-given goodness and live lives of integrity, authenticity and feel loved and accepted. Byron is the author of the ebook, Weekly Devotional Thoughts: Weekly Applications of God’s Word. Byron is the High School Principal at Midland Christian School in Midland, TX and a successful Business and Personal Life Coach. Follow Byron at Weekly Devotional Thoughts.