“Reversing the grieving process.”
When I heard this phrase for the first time, something about it didn’t sit well with me.
I’ve always been an advocate for feeling our pain. Not stifling it. Not ignoring it. Not pretending it doesn’t exist. I think we have to confront it and face it head-on to press forward toward Christ, and process it in a way that draws us closer to Him. Everything about the thought of reversing grief instead of wading through it until it begins to morph into a more comfortable companion that, through Christ’s strength, I can carry with me without being overwhelmed, seems counterintuitive to what the Lord intends for our lament.
But, sure – it sounds appealing: not feeling. Just breathing and moving, and continuing on like the pain never left its mark.
Still, that’s not how this world works. Evading pain is not an option we can choose, no matter how much we may want to.
So we keep going.
A few weeks ago I wrote about confronting the fear that I will be disappointed by being asked to let go of my plans to pursue the path the Lord wants for me. It’s a feeling so very real, but so very hard to articulate, because we’re not supposed to feel let down when our hands are held out and we receive these good and perfect plans ordained by the Creator of the entire universe – even if they’re not what we would have chosen for ourselves. We’re supposed to be filled with joy and thankfulness.
We know we are not given a spirit of fear.
It’s something I’ve fought against, reminding myself that He knows what’s best and I do not.
But as I stood in the middle of a graveyard hundreds of miles from home to say an earthly goodbye, the fear tries to loudly whisper in my ear. Nothing will go as planned. Things will break, and people will have to leave, and not much will ever seem fair.
These tragedies aren’t right. It isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. It will be made right in the end.
It doesn’t change the reality that we have to live through them in this broken and sinful world.
And we’ll have to keep going.
We’ll have to choose how we keep going.
A few days ago, I spent most of the afternoon at the hospital for a regular follow up appointment with one of my doctors. I go every once in a while so my doctors can watch for any problems or complications. All of the appointments are typically uneventful – except for one, ten years ago, when my doctor told me I almost died from a random episode where my heart didn’t beat correctly.
There have been season during those ten years where everything looked scary and confusing, and I didn’t know what was going to happen. The doctors would do test after test, and I’d just close my eyes and wait for it to be over. I couldn’t stand the feeling of knowing life was dependent on something I couldn’t control.
To me, safety equals control. When I relearn all over again that I have no control, safety feels tenuous and chancy.
I had been given the greatest gift of reassurance. The Lord whispered into my heart one late night that He was the only One who had the power to protect me, and He would.
Ever since, every test and report has shown my heart to be strong and healthy.
But even now, I hate hearing the sound of my beating heart. As the tech watches it on a screen and makes the recordings and measurements at my appointment every year or two, it still makes me uneasy. It brings back memories.
I don’t know why at times we are quick to expect disappointment and bad news, instead of trusting the assurance we’ve been given that not having any control is one of the best gifts we could ever receive.
Knowing this should help give us the strength to keep going; not paralyze us in fear.
Because there is no room for fear in the hearts of those who are in Christ.
Our hearts have been flooded with grace – filled with strength.
It keeps us going.
I can’t reverse the things I’ve seen. I can undo what has happened. Sometimes the sting still lingers a little and the desire to run away is stubborn. But in each and every moment when my heart inches toward anxiousness, I can choose to remember.
He is good. His plans are best. He will protect me. He will one day make things right. He will lead me where He desires that I go, no matter what happens along the way.
And I can keep going.