Soul Care #2: Focus on Grief

Are you aware that you are fundamentally grieving?

The discomfort you are feeling is grief!

Much is written about grief, but here is my short thought:

Most grief is deconstructing
some kind of idol that we have developed
to aid us in not having to face our God in the light…

Real grief for a follower of Jesus involves:

  • Acceptance (think about Joseph) and then
  • Sorrow and sadness, which links to the fallenness of our world (Jesus being a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief) and last
  • Thankfulness, which is a direct product of grace (see 1 Cor 4:7, ‘what do you have that you did not receive?’)

So, when we are . . .

angry, surprised, bargaining, anxious, depressed, in our collective dark night of the soul,

we are wrestling with our self-constructed “comfort source,”
which is always something short of the hope that is rooted in eschatological virtue.

During our last chat on Zoom, I used a metaphor about us ‘normally’ avoiding the ‘being’ side of our human existence, as most of us lean on the ‘doing’ side. Somehow performance and production win the day.

I have yet to meet a leader who most often values ‘being’ before trusting the easier measure of ‘doing’, producing/succeeding. There is an underlying distrust of looking at and grappling with the ‘inner man’ that Paul often speaks about.

See, Ephesians 3:16-20 NASB, note that in v. 16 Paul uses ‘inner man’ and in v 19 talks about the product as being ‘filled up to the fullness of God.’ Then in v 20, His power works, where? ‘within us.’

This interior arena is avoided in our performance world where success / control / power is the drive extolled as the most basic in the human personality, motivating all human behavior. Which, by the way, is exactly what Friedrich Nietzsche claimed: “The will to power.”

The metaphor I used last week was about how most of us have been trained to deliver messages as if we are a channel – much of what we deliver to others is not really ours, but borrowed and then transferred, not owned.

The other option is to be a reservoir, where fullness allows to us to give out of the overflow.

The channel is a scarcity model; where the reservoir is an abundance model.

So often, our motivation is on the side of lack and need, instead of lavish grace.

Fear as a present primary motivator follows the sense of shame, coming from lack of success or felt failure if we cannot be in control.

A relative of ours, who is very active in combating human sex trafficking in Alaska, wrote something related to the above metaphor that I wanted to share with you:

“When we judge, slander, and attach motives to others for the decisions they make in such a graceless way, chances are we are critical and graceless with ourselves as well. If you are graceless with yourself, chances are you have really never experienced grace!

The only cure is to sit at the Father’s table and feast on the Grace He offers. You have permission to fail, permission to be wrong at times and permission to get up and to try again. You can’t give away what you do not possess. But, when you know what it’s like to receive tons of undeserved grace, you can’t help but offer it to others.”

Most Christians don’t want process; they want the encounter. They want some kind of impartation that means they can be miraculously delivered from their circumstances and can be made into a new person without having to do anything. That is not impartation. That’s magic, and God does not do magic.

If God wants you to learn something through your circumstances, He will be totally committed to walking with you in such a way that you learn something and become the person He made you to be. And it follows that being begins here the way He intends us to live now.

In a book titled, “The Failure of Success” (think here about being successful in terms of production…. how addicted we are to performance for our state of “okay-ness”), the author talks about the Touchstone Fallacy:

1) That high occupational and consumer status will somehow transform us into happy ‘whole’ beings— and

2) The American dream: where anyone can succeed if he tries hard enough, and if you do not succeed after trying and trying, then there must be something wrong with you.The world worships power, and sees it as an ultimate mark of success. It has a hard time comprehending a kind of success that is based on the mutual submission of love. Power is a mark of success within our society, and the human appetite for it seems insatiable.

Maybe here we can think about re-setting
some of our outworn habits of performance and production…


And instead, filling our reservoirs with transcendent inner strength –
So that we come out of this quarantine time with a fullness we have not experienced and have not accessed
even though we are given mercy
and grace
and life
and love
in abundance.
On this beautiful journey together,