Surprised by Grief

When I finally surrendered to God earlier this month over His calling, I wasn’t surprised to see doubts and fears crop up, understanding that part of this “incubation” period is to work through them.

What I wasn’t expecting was grief.

It’s hit hard over the past few days, overwhelming me with its force.

With doubts already present, it’s caused me to question whether I’m just fooling myself in believing that not operating in my favor (ie gifting and calling) has been the problem. Because maybe I’ve been the problem all along and maybe I’ll always be a “business flunky.”

(Side note: that thought right there? It’s actually a sign the enemy is at work. I’ve heard similar versions from every woman I’ve talked to as a client and potential client. It’s what is actually at the root of why we stop ourselves from getting support in making change – because if we believe we are fundamentally messed up in someway and beyond help, then we can never justify investing in the kind of accountability and support that would actually make a difference.)

The intensity may be due in part to the recent death of my aunt I was closest to, the anticipation of the changes that will come my two oldest launching themselves into the real world and being overtired from interrupted sleep which always wears me down.

I wanted those to be the reasons for this grief. Those make sense.

Yet, the Lord has gently told me, “No, there are other things you need to grieve too.”

I don’t like it – it’s highly uncomfortable, but the Scripture He keeps bringing to mind is Isaiah 53:3 which tells us Jesus was acquainted with grief. 

According to dictionary.com acquainted is having personal knowledge as a result of study, experience, etc.; informed; brought into social contact; made familiar. There is comfort in knowing the God of heaven studied, familiarized Himself with, and experienced grief.

Despite my resistance, apparently, grief is not something to shun and a new and surprising lesson I’m learning is that, when done with God, it brings clarity…

I’ve grieved the continued presence of doubts and fears in spite of the surrender. 

Yet, it’s helping me to catch glimpses of habits and beliefs that need uprooting and reworking. Otherwise, they will remain present regardless of what I do for God’ Kingdom.

I’ve grieved the ways I’ve exhausted myself and my family in trying to build a business that is financially meaningful. 

However, I see how these lessons and that pain have equipped me to see those same tensions and tendencies and others so I can help them resolve it more effectively.

I also sense God is asking me to grieve the familiar way of doing things – all those things that haven’t worked and I need to shed.

Does that sound as odd to you as it did to me? Why would we need to grieve being done with the things that have brought us grief to begin with?!

Here’s what the Lord reminded me of…

The part of our brain He designed to keep us safe and survive hates change because might cause us to be worse off or die. That part of our brain isn’t responsible for the critical thinking piece, so it does what it can to stop change from happening. 

Perhaps that part of the brain that craves the familiar needs to mourn the death of what it has known so it can receive what comes next.

It needs to know there is no going back, so the only option is to press forward. Ideally as an act of faith, trusting God as the guide through the dark valleys and the mountaintops.

In this wrestling with God through the grief and that thought, I heard this line like a song:

“With Your death, I came to life.” 

(A quick Google search didn’t yield any worship songs results that contained this verbatim, but if you know of one, will you tell me?)

It was the confirmation I needed.

In a flash, I saw that sometimes we grieve because, at first, we only see in part. (1 Corinthians 13:9)

We see only the death and the loss and not the life on the other side.

Loss of any kind is real and isn’t to be brushed off as insignificant.

Yet, it isn’t the full picture.

And it isn’t just an end, but a beginning too.

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