Out of Exile: Day Nine – Experiencing Loss

I’ve talked about what exile is and described a variety of exiles.  Now I want to look at what sends you into exile. 

Your emotions give you a clue to some wrong, even toxic thinking that might be present within you.

Of course, outright sin is the fast track to exile. But I want to focus on the more subtle causes of exile.  What often sends us into exile is loss.  Loss happens when your experience falls short of your expectation.  If you look back over the last few days, that’s what happened to Abram. He expected glory. He experienced famine. That was a loss.

Most of us are ill-prepared for loss. I’m not sure why that is. Are we that optimistic or that naive? We see loss all around us. But we rarely think it will happen to us. When it does, we are often devastated and disillusioned. It can knock us off course for years (thus: exile).

Loss produces a variety of uncomfortable emotions. The big three are:

  • anger– you are mad that your expectation wasn’t met; mad at whomever you think is responsible.
  • sadness– you mourn the loss of what you expected to have forever.
  • fear – you are afraid that you will never achieve your expectation: that loss will be a way of life.

If you don’t find an answer for these emotions, they will control you forever.  They will be like a choke-chain, able to jerk you around at any given moment.

You need to know that these emotions are normal. In fact they are good. If you didn’t have an emotional response to loss, there would be something wrong with you. We have a word for people like that: sociopath. So be glad you have emotions. God gave them to you to move you to resolve  your problems.

But, you don’t want to get stuck in your emotions. You need to move through them to a better place. Be careful that you don’t stuff your emotion as a “quick-fix” to their discomfort. These emotions help you explore what’s going inside your head and heart.  They help you understand where you stand with God and people. They give you a clue to some wrong, even toxic thinking that might be present within you.

What are some emotions you’ve experienced in exile? How do they make you feel? Do you try to suppress them? What have you learned about yourself and God from your emotions?

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Be sure to track back to catch the previous days of this 40 day journey. 


7 thoughts on “Out of Exile: Day Nine – Experiencing Loss

  1. Judith Doran

    Remy, the emotion that most resonates with me is fear! I never thought about the notion that fear can permeate the future in such a surreptitious way. Hmmm….this might lead to a host of other issues…..

  2. Lisa

    Reflecting on my exile experiences, I think my emotions ran the gamut. I didn’t suppress them but I definitely had to reign them in. I also needed a “safe” place to process them (prayer and journaling) I really could have done some real damage to lots of relationships if I had just let them fly unfettered. What did I learn about my feelings? 1) I didn’t like being ruled by my feelings. I had to learn to master them. 2 ) My response was my responsibility ( from Love and Respect ministries)and 3) While my feelings were very real, they were NOT always right (another lesson from Love and Respect Now Ministries). 4)I couldn’t ignore my heart and it’s desires. It had to be acknowledged and transformed in order to carry on.

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Oh, good point on the journaling. I just came across some research findings on the power of journaling. I’ll put that in my weekend post. yes, some of us deny the loss. Some of us are consumed by it. Thanks for your continual input. I appreciate your honesty and insight.

  3. Nathan Anderson

    I’d have to say all three plus a healthy dash of shame. I feel like I’m finally coming out on the other end of these and ready to do something healthy with these emotions.

  4. Marcia Schneider

    Here’s the big one for me – wondering if I heard God right, and feeling that fear when my experience is not what I expected. This morning I read in Acts 7:25 in Stephen’s speech to the council, that Moses fully expected that his Hebrew brothers would recognize that he would deliver them. So, when he killed the Egyptian slave driver, he was surprised when the response from his fellow Hebrew was, “who made you a judge over us?” The implication here is that Moses first heard God assuring him that he would deliver his people long before he ever left Egypt the first time. And he got right on that. I can relate to that. Taking bold steps to obey is sometimes not the hard part. The hard part comes when my obedience doesn’t lead to what I expect. For Moses, taking action to deliver his people by killing the Egyptian led him into exile for 40 years in the wilderness, when he expected he would immediately be in ministry. Now granted, maybe his delivery style left much to be desired, but my point is that his exile came immediately after his expectation came to a grinding halt. Had he heard wrong? No! He was just off by a few 40 years.

    I can second guess hearing God’s call when others don’t seem to affirm it, or when I’m in exile but I had expected to be in ministry. And I can relate to Moses’ fear when God put him on a shelf for 40 years.

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Great text/example. Thanks. I was talking to a young minister the other day who SO WANTS to be hired into ministry. The fear is that if they aren’t hired some place that it will fulfill their fears that God hasn’t really called them. In some ways, NOT being hired might be proof of their calling! Moses was “unemployed” for 40 years. That didn’t seem to affect his calling. That didn’t seem to affect his effectiveness.

      One big reason I’m doing this series to help people in exile understand how God works. It’s SO TEMPTING to doubt yourself and God in exile. It’s so tempting to quit. You need affirming voices in the desert. I want to be one of them. Thanks Marcia for joining the conversation. I hope you will continue to jump in along the way.

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