Monday, December 28, 2015

How Do You React To Loss?

Inspiration From A FB Friend

While I was scrolling down my personal Facebook page, I read a friend’s post and I was inspired by what he had to say. This was his post: “I was telling my co-worker about the freeway accident that caused me to lose time getting to work. His reply to me? More music. Of course! I'd been able to enjoy more listening time! In just two words, he had kicked off a reflection on how we respond to loss. What if, instead of thinking about what we lost, we thought about what we gained? More patience? More faith? More empathy for others? Seems to me the potential gain is so much more than the loss, if only we'll reach out and take it.” – Terry Peoples

Why Doesn’t Loss Usually Feel Like Gain?

The inspiration I received from Terry’s comment has made me ponder the depth of meaning behind it for days. It’s true. In every loss, we do gain something that in the long run grows us as human beings and gives us compassion, empathy, faith, patience, etc. But in the moment of frustration, pain, suffering, or whatever negative emotion we are forced to work through, we cannot look into the future and understand that this is going to benefit us at some point in the future. In that particular moment in time, all we can see is the stress, the anger, the hurt, or the hopelessness that whispers to us “things will always be like this”.

Ability As The Object Of Purposeful Life

What makes life meaningful? If all of your ability to perform were stripped away, how would you react? In Shana Schutte’s devotional Thirty Days Of Hope, she writes, “If the object of my ability is to sing, and I lose my voice due to infection, all hope for a purposeful future is lost.” She continues with several other scenarios emphasizing ability being the object of a purposeful life. I serve a disabled lady who lives life simply…she works each week, she shares life with friends and family, and she strives to meet goals that she and I work on together each week. She attends a church service once a week. She bowls and she makes some time for activities she enjoys such as going to the movies. Would you think of her as living a purposeful life? Her ability to do many things was taken from her when she was born prematurely and her brain lacked oxygen during the birthing process. Yet, God saw the need for her to live and touch the lives of others through her limited ability. While there are moments when her lack of ability can be frustrating, she has encouraged me in situations when I wanted to throw my hands up and give up. She often reminds me to give it to God and let Him handle the problem. Yes, I believe there is purpose in every life.

Gaining Through Loss

We lose a loved one and in our humanness we grieve the loss. We are diagnosed with a debilitating disease and our thinking immediately turns towards life that we are going to miss out on. We struggle in various ways such as financial hardship or the hurtful actions of a family member or friend and we grumble and complain. We are disappointed because the plans we made are suddenly altered and there is nothing we can do to rectify the situation. Loss is part of living. As I ponder Terry’s reminder that instead of reacting negatively to a negative moment or series of moments in our lives, what if we switched off the negative thoughts and spent the time praising the lord instead. I realize that there are moments of shear grief or emotional turmoil when this is the most difficult request one could be asked to do, but He is always with us! The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:5:  Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If the Lord is always with us in every situation we must endure in this life, then faith and trust need to our focal point. 
Retreating When Life Is Overwhelming

In moments when life becomes too much to handle, allow yourself time to grieve, to be angry, to release stress, but then, retreat if at all possible and allow Jesus to comfort you. Read His word. Listen to worshipful music and drink in His compassion and goodness. Allow a Christian friend to listen…vent if you need to. Pray without ceasing. And, then, get up and live life with hope and the knowledge that with Jesus walking with us, we can not only survive, but we can prosper, even in a time of suffering and pain. 

What losses are you going through at this time? Is there anything that I can agree with you in prayer? I’d love to take your request to Jesus and join you in trusting in His faithfulness.

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