Anger, Fear, and Sadness operate like a Band of Brothers. It’s almost impossible to have one without the other. That’s why it’s important you learn to identify them in your life and have a plan to deal with each one.
Unfortunately, the quick solution to these emotions is denial. Feel bad? No problem. Just immerse yourself in behavior that drowns out the noise from your loss.
The problem with clichés isn’t that they are untrue. The problem is they shutdown the thinking and grief process.
We’ve all been there. Denial looks different to different people. It can be socially acceptable with things like working too much, over-indulging in hobbies or exercise, or “social” drinking. But for too many, exile brings such strong disillusionment that they feel justified in throwing off any inhibitions they once had.
If life suddenly doesn’t make sense, they why bother? That’s why we are often shocked at the revelations of secret lifestyles of people who were once known for their integrity and moral influence. For some, sin leads them into exile. For others, exile is what leads them to sin.
The most prominent form of denial is simple minimizing of losses. Spiritual people do this effortlessly because we have Bible based clichés ready to do the job. What do we say when confronted with loss? I’m just trusting the Lord. The Lord gives and he takes away. You can fill in your own personal favorite.
The problem with clichés isn’t that they are untrue. The problem is they shutdown the thinking and grief process. You should absolutely trust in the Lord. He will bring you through your loss. BUT, it still hurts. It’s still a loss. You need to acknowledge that loss, admit the impact it had, and give yourself permission to feel terrible about it for a season.
That’s not un-Christian. That’s being human. God made us human. It’s okay. It’s necessary. But what many do is trivialize their loss and then it sits in their heart rotting for years, souring the person on life.
There are so many losses that come automatically when you enter ministry. I’ll get to these in coming posts. But for now I hope you will start to ask yourself what the losses are that you have and then what emotions you have in response to the losses. Once you answer those, if I could get you to share that with your spouse (or a friend), that would be amazing. You will have started the process of getting out of exile.
What are some ways you have denied your losses? What are some clichés you use to minimize loss?
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