Out of Exile: Day Twelve – Secondary Losses

I am nearing the one-third mark on our 40-day journey. I can tell by the clicks that many people have picked up the series in the last week but you aren’t starting from the beginning. Go back!  I just think it will all make a lot more sense and you’ll get so much more out of it.

Now, there’s something I want you to see about anger and loss that might help you. Whenever you suffer a loss there is a primary loss and a secondary loss.  

God’s after something much deeper in us. Whether you see this or not will determine if you ever make it out of exile or not.

For example…do you ever lose your car keys? Of course you do. Well, I do. I hope I’m not the only one.  It drives me crazy. I get so mad. I stopped and asked myself why that is. I mean, I know I will find them eventually (usually in my pocket). They are obviously in the house. Why the fuss? What’s the big deal?

I get so mad because of the secondary losses. The secondary losses are those losses that come as a result of losing my car keys.  For example: I didn’t just lose the keys. I lost time looking for them.  Now I’m late. That leads to more loss.

Because I’m late I lose my calm, relaxed manner. Now I’m on edge. When I finally do find my keys, I drive faster, which might end in a ticket. Now I lose money.

When I finally walk into work late I might lose respect. People say…Remy’s late again…I can never count on him.

Simple analogy, but do you see what I’m saying about secondary losses?  It’s not just losing your keys that’s so upsetting. It’s all the other losses that come with the loss of keys, real or imagined. If I had to assign responsibility for my emotion, I’d say that only 20% of my anger has to do with the lost keys and 80% has to do with the losses associated with the keys.

Now, take that and apply it to what I’ve said about the bigger losses in life that lead to exile: loss of a loved one, loss of a ministry, loss of your ministry dream, loss of respect by your congregation or church board (the list is endless).  Each of these events, on their own, is painful. But they represent only 20% of the real issue.

The real issues many people never see.  They see the “keys.” They don’t see the other 80%. So they spend their time lamenting the keys, blaming the keys, asking God to give them new keys, etc.  But the “keys” are not the issue. Helping you regain your “keys” isn’t what God is after. He’s after something much deeper in us. Whether you see this or not will determine if you ever make it out of exile or not.

I’ll take this thought deeper over the next few days. But start thinking about the secondary losses in your life. What are they? (You might want to read an older post called “The Anger Behind the Anger”)

Share your thoughts or questions below and share this post on Facebook, if you would. Thanks.

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6 thoughts on “Out of Exile: Day Twelve – Secondary Losses

  1. Marcia Schneider

    Great thoughts, Remy about secondary losses. I especially applaud what you said about real or imagined losses. So often, it’s my imagined losses that really get my anxiety going. Why do I borrow trouble that way? I like your thought that God is after something much deeper than what we see. Perhaps it’s my anxiety that he’s going after.

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Thanks Marcia for your honesty. I just posted on my book Facebook page (F.RemyDiederich) a thought on scarcity that relates to anxiety. Scarcity is the chicken who lays an egg and believes that is the last egg they will ever lay. So they sit on it forever, protecting it, believing they are done. When we suffer a loss, we so easily flip to the idea that we can never recover. Life will never be good again. We need to move out of this place to see what God is after. He’s after that fear. He’s after the small thinking that refuses to let God be God and show us his power to do a new thing…maybe even a better thing than what we lost.

  2. Dan S.

    As I reflect on leaving full-time pastoral ministry after 10+ years, one of the secondary losses that I’ve thought about is my identity. On January 1, I no longer will be “pastor”. I’ve been thinking about how I will respond to people who ask, “What do you do?” The best response I’ve come up with is, “I’m a follower of Jesus.” That’s the identity I’ve nurtured as a pastor but the “pastor” title and attached responsibilities seemed to get in the way sometimes. I’m looking forward to a new season, a new chapter, of life where I can truly nurture being a follower of Jesus in a way that God designed me (as an introvert but that’s probably a different post).

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      Good insight Dan. Thanks for jumping in on this conversation. Identity is a big issue. You won’t really know how big until you no longer have that quick go-to answer for who you “are.” That’s one of the big questions that need to get answered in exile: who are you…really? I hope you’ll keep sharing your real-time thoughts here. It keeps the conversation very fresh.

      1. Dan S.

        Remy, I started my own blog (dans2014i.wordpress.com) that will be capturing my exile journey to restoration. I’m not expecting it to be a quick journey. I’m very thankful that I have a place to live through the journey and a spouse who is very supportive (and is excited to have a few farm animals!). The fullness of the journey really won’t begin until late summer 2014. Between now and then is basically getting ready for the journey. I’ll loop back to the beginning of your postings and catch up over the next few weeks.

  3. Lisa

    Initially, there is a synergy that can come with loss that feels frightening, especially when you didn’t see it coming. Like a snowball, loss grows and escalates and you wonder when will it stop. You were thinking like a sprinter (this will be over quickly) and God is thinking like a marathoner (like this will be part of the cross you must bear for 10 years or 25 years or a lifetime).

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