Better than?

We live in a world where rankings rule.

The FitBit craze, while a boon to healthy living, is also a testament to our competitive nature.

You would think that in the pit of despair, the need to be “more than” or “better than” would disappear.  But that’s not the case.

I continue to judge myself in comparison to others.

I find it difficult to give up the inner tape measure that marks progress or regress in this grief journey.

When I’m having a bad day, I feel like a failure.  I feel guilty for not taking firmer hold of the promises of God in Christ.  I question my commitment to the truth and I wrestle with unbelief.

When I’m having a relatively good day, I congratulate myself on the distance travelled, the hurdles overcome and the positive progress toward pushing grief to the background of daily life.

This is unhelpful.  And it rests in a root of pride.

I am not in control.  My struggle to rate my “progress” in grief recovery is an attempt to exert my will over things I cannot subdue in my own power. And if I feel successful, then the glory goes to ME.

When I choose to practice spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting, I am placing myself in a position to hear from God and to be receptive to His will in my life.  Likewise, when I choose to lean into the support of others and focus on truth revealed in Scripture, I encourage the healing process.

But if my restoration rests on my efforts, I’m doomed. I do not have the power  or authority to redeem my pain.

I cannot save myself.

I need a Savior.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].

I Corinthians 15:56-58 AMP

 

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

3 thoughts on “Better than?”

  1. Maybe the bad days are the plea of your Savior to rest. The work of grief is exhausting. On my good days, I feel both bad and good for having a good day. A good day feels bad because it seems to shout out that I didn’t love my kids enough.

    Maybe you need a different measure of progress instead of using your emotions. Let’s face it, as women, our emotions can be wildly fluctuating when we’re not grieving. My grief counselor recently told me she thought I’d made more progress in the last two months than the last two years. She measured it by behavioral changes. Things I had begun doing differently in the last few months.

    You might notice a change in your writing if you go back and read past blog posts and compare them to recent posts. You may find there were issues of the faith, angst over comments people made, etc., that you find you have made peace with. You’ve settled the faith issue. A comment that was painful before just rolls off now.

    A good day or bad day can be impacted by things like how well you slept the night before or a gray, rainy day. Simple things.

    There is no award for being a better griever. I think one of the real measures of grief is your ability to wrestle with it or avoidance of it. As you heal, you have more endurance for the struggle. Less shutting down, more meditating and turning issues over in your mind. Just a thought.

    No one in the WWW group is judging your recovery. We just want to be there for the bad days and to rejoice with you over small blessings along the way. Be as gentle with yourself as you are with others!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Janet. I appreciate what you’re saying–I do see progress when measured by my ability to choose engagement over avoidance. And some things have been settled in my heart and mind. I don’t feel judged by anyone else (at least most of the time) but I have a hard time not judging myself. I think it kind of relates to our discussion on feeling loved by God. I have a tendency to feel as if I must earn love from others and I guess I have put my grief on the report card 🙂

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      1. So glad to hear that you see progress and that you don’t feel judged. That’s huge, really! I do think we often have unrealistic expectations for ourselves. And I think believers have somehow extrapolated from scripture the idea that faith negates pain. I don’t know if that’s because we grieve with hope or God’s sovereignty and the Holy Spirit’s presence – you know, God’s in control, and we don’t go through this alone is somehow warped into that idea. My trauma therapist said she’s been asked repeatedly by believers, “If I have faith, why do I have all these emotions?” It’s not scriptural, in fact there are plenty of verses where giants of the faith and prophets poured out their pain before the Lord, but somehow it lurks in our subconscious. Maybe Satan is planting that thought in order to tempt us to turn from God. Who knows.

        I have an idea, which may or not be helpful for you. I was thinking if the next time you feel unloved or that you need to earn God’s love or to grade your grief, that you try to imagine that you are God and that one of your children is you. Imagine your child expressing your feelings, your expectations, your perceived short-comings to you in the role of God. You and I don’t love perfectly like God does but the love you have for your children is a reflection of the love God has for us. Maybe performing that exercise will help you see yourself more the way God see you, more the way He loves you. It’s just a thought, and you may feel as if it’s a bit corny, but trying to imagine myself as God’s child in comparison to the relationships I’ve shared with my kids has been an effective way for me to see God more clearly.

        I know you know that I struggle with these very issues, so take anything I say with a grain of salt!

        Liked by 2 people

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