As a pastor, I’m am consistently called upon to help people learn how to grieve in a healthy way.
I’ll be candid, it is not one of my favorite roles, because it always stemmed from the reasons why they need to grieve. It means someone is hurt. Grieving indicates brokenness. There is pain, disappointment, even anger associated with grief. That never feels good.
Yet the fact remains, part of living in a fallen world is living among the thorns. We must learn to grieve in a healthy way, because there will always be reasons to do so.
I’ve even met well-meaning believers, however, who simply don’t know how to do as the Scripture says – that we do grieve. We simply don’t grieve like the rest of the world.
10 tips to grieve in a healthy way:
Don’t deny the pain.
It hurts. Admit it. Be honest with yourself with others and especially with God. If anger is your current emotion, admit it. If it’s profound sadness – be honest about it. You’ve got to grieve at some point to move forward, and you’ll grieve sooner and better if you’re honest about the need.
Learn to pray.
Grieving can draw you close to the heart of God. See that as one blessing in the midst of pain. The Scripture is clear. We are to draw close to God and He will draw close to us. He is close to the broken hearted. Use this difficult time to build a bond with God that you’ll never regret having.
Remain active in some way.
You may not feel like being around people, but if you’re normally a very social person, discipline yourself in this area. Granted, some people were never very social, even before their grief. We shouldn’t expect much more from them in grief, but even for them, community matters. Don’t shelter yourself from others.
Stay as healthy as possible.
Eat well and exercise. Sleep as regularly as you can. Stick to a schedule. You’ll need the strength to carry you through this time.
Help others as much as you can.
There is a special blessing that comes from serving others that can help you recover from your own pain. Serve at a soup kitchen. Deliver toys to needy children. Find a way to give back and you’ll invest in the health of your own heart.
Journal your thoughts and feelings.
This is huge and many people miss it. One day you’ll be glad you wrote things down, because you’ll see the process God has taken you through and the healing He has allowed you to experience. You’ll need these reminders again some day.
Give it time.
Grieving doesn’t complete itself in a day – or a week – or even a year. The depth of the pain always is relative to the time of a sense of recovery. And, some pain never leaves us. We simply learn to adapt to it. We learn to find contentment and even joy in the midst of sorrow and loss.
Share your story with others.
You help others when you allow others to see you share and understand their pain. When you hide your story, you deny others of the privilege of healing through your experience.
Get professional (or friend) help when needed.
Don’t suffer alone. There are times all of us can use professional help. Or simply raising your hand to a friend and admitting you can’t be alone right now. Don’t be ashamed to seek help when needed.
Remember there is hope.
If you are a follower of God, then the best days of your life are still to come. Even in your darkest days, remember, one day – every tear shall be wiped from your eyes, by God himself. Even today, you are in good hands.
You can get up, recover and move forward again – even stronger than you were before. But please don’t fail to grieve. It’s necessary, vital, healthy and even Biblical. (1 Thessalonians 4)
Praying for you who need to grieve.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
For a similar post, see my list of how to deal with loss at Christmas.