It’s Okay Not to Feel Okay
“As soon as the baby goes down for her nap, I’m going to nap with her,” I said aloud to myself.
I’m no stranger to a 30-minute impromptu snooze on the couch, pen slipping from my hand, laptop burning my thighs. However, I’m not into the habit of planning my naps. I got ample rest the night before; yet, I didn’t feel much like blogging, planning, brainstorming, or being social.
I called my husband to chide him for working through lunch the day before. I knew he didn’t have a lot of time to talk, but for some reason, I craved conversation and closeness.
“You have to take care of yourself,” I insisted, feeling protective and emotional.
It took me a while to realize I was sad and even longer to realize I was grieving.
Later that day, I headed to the grocery store, again, unaware of myself.
Just like hand sanitizer makes you painfully aware of a cut you didn’t know existed, all the faces and random conversations rubbed the raw places I hadn’t been aware of until now.
Hard to smile. Wondering how we were all shopping like today was an ordinary day. I knew that this would soon scab over and heal and that I would be ok again. But, some people live in this unexplainable, undeniable, ever-present grief. And, I wondered, what can ease this heartache?
I’ve always been an advocate of prayer, and still am; however, I realize that saying, “Pray about it,” and walking away is callous and only pours salt in the wound (Proverbs 25:20, James 2:14-16). So, I’d like to share with you the spiritual balms I’ve been using to soothe my raw areas in hopes that it’ll help your raw areas begin to heal as well:
When Grieving, Do Your Best to…
- Take a time-out. Our TV’s, radios, timelines, and news feeds have been inundated with videos of murder, tear-jerking interviews, memes, photos, and pleas for justice and equality. It’s too much for us to digest mentally and emotionally. Give yourself a time out. If your business requires you to be on social media, schedule some posts via Hootsuite for the next couple of days and log off. (Philippians 4:8)
- Go back to the old school. What did we ever do before Facebook, Candy Crush, and Snapchat? Does anyone remember? When’s the last time you enjoyed watching the sun rise and set? (Psalm 19:1) Go walk in your yard barefoot. Read a book. Watch a funny movie. Remodel a room in your home. Write a letter.
- Guard your gates. What we see, hear, and speak takes root in our hearts (Luke 11:34, Proverbs 4:20-22, Matthew 15:17-19). The ground doesn’t care what kind of seed it is. If it’s deeply planted, watered, and the conditions are right, that seed will grow (Mark 4:1-20). Ingesting all of this hate can cause bitterness, hopelessness, and retaliation to take root in our hearts. More videos and racists comments will water those seeds. And, before long, you won’t recognize yourself. In her book, Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer says, “You can’t have a negative mind and a positive life.”
- Don’t engage until you’re ready. Just because someone approaches you with conversation or specifically asks your opinion doesn’t mean you have to speak on a subject you’re not prepared to speak on. We will give an account for every word we speak. Our words have life. So, while you’re still hurting and processing everything, avoid sin with silence. (Matthew 12:36)
- Realize everybody gets a pass. When I went all Momma Bear on my husband, it wasn’t about lunch. It was about his being black, male, and a target. But, due to him being at work and my ignorance that I was grieving, I chose to ride him about lunch instead.When he came home, not really in the mood to socialize, it wasn’t about work, the kids, or all the laundry I hadn’t folded. (I get a pass, too, right?) It was about him trying to get a mental grasp on what was going on around him.
We’re all just trying to survive. If people are extra goofy (because some people grieve that way), or stand-offish, moody, or just not quite themselves, give them a pass. We all grieve differently. And, whether we know it or not, we’re ALL grieving. (Ephesians 4:2)
- Get WISDOM. Many of us are at a loss. We seem to be in this never-ending cycle. And, we’re fresh out of solutions, if we had any to begin with. God says that He will give us wisdom if we ask (James 1:5-7). Let’s take a moment to clear our heads of what we think should happen (Proverbs 3:5-6) and ask the One who knows all.
- Bang down the door. Jesus shared a parable on being persistent (Luke 18:1-8). Sometimes we go hard at something for a few days, and then we quit. Jesus tells us to have more faith than that and keep knocking! We have to let our problems know that we’re not fighting just for a little while, walking away, and then getting riled up when it happens again. No! We’re not going away until we get what we’re after. Capisce?
- Fast. When the disciples couldn’t cast out a demon, Jesus told them some things won’t happen unless they fast and pray (Matthew 17:21). Have you fasted and prayed about the situation you’re facing?
- Speak the Word. We are not alone. Angels are protecting us (Psalm 34:7). However, idle words don’t move them to action; they move when we speak the Word of God. Open up your Bible and speak the Word over your life so your angels will go and do what you have proclaimed (Psalm 103:20).
- Pray all the time. Don’t just pray before meals and when you go to bed at night. Don’t just pray when someone’s sick or your car won’t start. Pray. All. The. Time. God moves when we pray. Angels move when we pray (See #9). Since we know this, it only makes sense to clothe ourselves, our spouses, and our children in prayer. Keep scripture posted in your car, office, as your phone’s screen saver, in the kitchen, on the bathroom mirror, everywhere you go. (Phillippians 4:6-7)
So, what’s the play call?
Make sure that in the midst of the madness, your #1 priority is your relationship with God. Don’t go to bed and wake up with your problems sitting in God’s seat [tweet this]. Only He can give peace, wisdom, and comfort. Take care of yourself, being careful what you allow to penetrate your heart and occupy your mind.
Teammates, will you pray this prayer with us (Matthew 6:9-13)?
Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.