After my disappointment and frustration expressed in last week’s post, I knew I couldn’t wallow in my sadness and I needed to find a way forward with God’s help. Even though I was mad at God, I still knew that he held the answers that I needed. I echoed Peter’s words, “Where else can we go, Lord?”
The weight of my hurt was heavy and paralyzing at times but I was determined to not let it get the best of me. Here is what I did to start to climb out of the funk I was in:
- Avoided the potential for shame. When I had experienced this kind of hurt before, I knew that it would be easy to do nothing and be lethargic and not try hard things. I also knew that if I let that happen that I would start a spiral of shame. That the do-nothing of my days would make me feel guilty about my lack of productivity and that would breed shame which would make me feel worse and zap more of my energy and the cycle would continue. So, even though it was extremely hard to carry on in my sadness, I was determined to do the next best thing.
- I went to my emergency liturgies. I have informally collected go to scriptures, book highlights, podcasts, audiobooks, songs, and exercises that have been life giving in dark times in the past. I returned to those and they were still freeing, healing, and great reminders. This emergency liturgy includes Chapters 5-7 of Dallas Willard’s Life Without Lack, Chapter 6 of Richard Rohr’s The Art of Letting Go audiobook, Philippians 3:12-14, saying 3 things each day to be thankful for, “Come and Gone” by Michael Roe, and the Lectio 365 daily devotional.
- Left my heart open. Richard Rohr states that religion is largely answering the question of what to do about our pain. I knew that my pain could make me small, shut off from others, fearful, pessimistic, isolated, and numb. This couldn’t be God’s will for me so I prayed that I could let go of the hurt and be open to ways of forgiveness, love, and healing. God answered this prayer.
- Expressed my pain. I received many kind words of support and encouragement after writing last week. Though I was a little embarrassed by exposing myself and I didn’t want to give the impression that I was in danger of losing my faith, I felt the need to be up front and honest about what I was truly going through. If I had held back or put on a happy face, I would not have experienced the warm and kind support that many people wanted to offer. Their words were a blessing.
I am grateful that even in the midst of my confusion and mounting distrust in God he was gracious enough to demonstrate his love and presence through these tools, my deep well of spiritual truth and experience, and the support of others.
God was still with me, reminding me of his love, listening to my anguish and pain, and showing me a path forward that I could have never found on my own.