NOPE – it’s not just you.
Living Contentment has been on hiatus for several weeks now.
But we’re back today – and picking up the Grief ≠ Discontentment theme
Welcome to Living Contentment Weekly. Here are your three contentment-related thoughts for today. Something for you to: read | do | pray
When I was little I knew my Uncle George was the coolest person you could find. He had a farm with massive machines that he let us – as 4-10-year-olds – ‘help’ him drive. One Christmas he used a tractor to clear off a skating rink on the frozen dugout, and then a massive meandering path all around the outside. When my little brother was too tired to keep skating, he put him in the back-hoe and then pulled the rest of us. When it was finally time to stop and we had to put our sore feet back into frozen boots, he instead scooped us up in the bucket, lifted us WAY up off the ground, skates dangling, drove back to the house, and set us down on the rubber mat on the back step. I remember ‘helping’ him drive swather to cut fields of wheat. A gust of wind blew the toy construction hat off my head (which I wore because I wanted to be like my Uncle George). He retrieved it, but not after it almost was destroyed, so he fixed it with duct tape. Now it was the greatest hat ever.
He died of cancer WAY TOO YOUNG when I was only in fourth grade. I have vivid memories of sitting in the backyard of my grandma’s house, out by the little stone fire-pit, between the caragana bushes and the tiny, leaning wooden garage, bawling my eyes out. But I also remember when my aunt came out, trying to wipe my tears and say I was fine.
What a strange natural reflex we have. Unable to admit we’re grieving when the situation truly warrants it. I think one of the main drivers behind this behavior is a sense that we shouldn’t grieve. That grieving shows weakness. Or dissatisfaction. Or discontentment.
But contentment and grief can – and I would argue – should coexist. At least during those times when grief is the appropriate response. We need to grieve certain things. I recently realized there was a loss that I was so busy moving on from, that I basically said to myself “Welp – that’s too bad. Next!” That’s not how we deal with losses. At least not in a healthy way.
We won’t find deep, true contentment if we’re avoiding grief. The sad irony is that sometimes I think we avoid grief because we’re trying to find contentment.
What loss have you not appropriately grieved?
What pain have you not truly mourned?
It could be a death, loss of a job, ending of a relationship, or so many other things.
I encourage you to sit for a moment. Write it out on a piece of paper. Sketch out all the things that hurt about the loss. What won’t be the same? What good is gone?
Then allow yourself to grieve.
Ask God for strength to move through that, remembering these words of scripture:
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
He will turn your mourning into dancing. Psalm 30:11-12
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Lord, you say you keep track of my sorrows, and see my tears,
but sometimes in my grief, I feel so alone.
Help me feel your presence.
You comfort those who mourn,
but I don’t always believe that.
Help me feel your healing.
You ask me to enter the grief of others,
but it’s so hard.
Give me the courage to be your light in someone’s darkness.
Talk to you next Thursday!