Dr. Phil once said, “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” I believe we’d all agree with that statement.
So, if we’d all agree with that statement, why do we deny when it’s our own shit that’s keeping us stuck or getting in the way of our lives? Why do we treat grief like it’s an elephant in the room that’s obviously present but no one wants to talk about?
We’re Not Taught the How
Lately, I’ve contemplated the narrative that all you need is prayer; that prayer alone will get you through whatever pains you. So, I’m taking this opportunity to present another perspective through the lens of someone (myself) where prayer alone wasn’t enough. Faith is one thing. That’s not what I’m talking about. Because, without faith, I simply don’t think we’d take certain actions in our lives. What I’m talking about is the action of prayer alone getting us through – being the how – we get through difficult times.
Let me ask you this: How is prayer alone working for you? Be completely honest with yourself; remember what Dr. Phil said.
Prayer alone wasn’t enough for me. I believed I had plenty of faith to go around. I believed that if I would journal on God’s word enough, read enough scripture, listened to the Bible app faithfully in the background of my life, that I would have some sort of epiphany and be healed of my sorrows. So much so, I got a “Let Go Let God” tattoo on the inside of my right wrist. All you need to do is give it to God and he’ll do the rest, right? Wrong.
Maybe you relate to this. Maybe you’re struggling right now in your faith [in God] because you feel abandoned (as I did for many years). Perhaps you feel like you’re not Christian enough, therefore, there is no hope for you.
It’s OK to Not Be OK
I want to share this message with specifically you today and anyone who has convinced themselves their OK because they have faith and prayer. To drive this message home, I am going to use an example I pray never happens but one that I know many will relate to and one I’ve personally experienced watching my father fade away due to cancer (passing away only four years older than I am now).
I proposed this example to my husband because I wanted to know his feelings on the matter, but in the back of my mind, I also wanted to drive this point home to him and that I want to share with you today.
Hypothetically, I am diagnosed with cancer. It’s terminal and there is nothing more that can be done. I asked my husband if he felt he would be drawn closer to God [in prayer] or if there would be a part of him that would want to retreat and pull away (which is a natural response, by the way). He said he would pray harder; he would pray more than he’d ever prayed. And I replied with: And I died anyway. “Don’t you think,’ I said, ‘you would have a difficult time reconciling that in your heart?” This is what we experience and struggle with because we are human. There is nothing wrong with us. However, given that we’re all going to die someday and we have no way of knowing how; I want to share that, for most of us, prayer is and never will be – enough. And, I believe people often use their faith or prayer as a way of convincing themselves they’re doing just fine. I know I’m not the only one who has done this. Perhaps you’re identifying with doing this right now in your life?
For God to do His work in our hearts, we first need to sweep our side of the street; we need to do the inner-work. Then, and only then, are we able to give our hearts fully to Him and to others in our lives; loving with our whole hearts – not just the broken bits we’re desperately trying to super-glue back together and hope it holds. But life rolls on, right? Crap rolls downhill and snowballs and adds up in our hearts.
Resolving the Unresolved
By holding on to the familiarity of pain, we’re not fully living in joy either. God is joy. God is love. Until we resolve the unresolved, we’re not able to fully step into who we are, what we feel, and what we wish to contribute in this life. We’re all walking around a little shattered inside.
So, when I am snubbed by the faithful when I say that the Grief Recovery Method (GRM) isn’t faith-based, I’m partially telling a lie. It’s true that there are no scripture readings in the program. It’s true there isn’t open prayer during the program meetings. It’s also true that God is not shoved down your throat in the program, too. However, the message I really want to get across when I share about GRM, is that it’s you doing the inner-work, so He can do His. It is transformational, not in the way of conversion, but in the way of self-love, self-acceptance, emotional resilience…all the things God wishes for us. So, I guess in that way it is faith-based. Faith in knowing we are fully supported. Faith in knowing that God places people in our lives at just the right time. Faith that there is hope…even on the darkest of days.
That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up. You just have to be willing to take the ascent.
– from the book, The Untethered Soul
The Grief Recovery Method ®
Guide for Loss
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