Do you make sure you are finding rest spots to recharge? On a long journey, one of my favorite things to do (when I’m not driving) is to locate the rest spots also known as “pit stops.” It’s good to find a place to get out, stretch your legs, get a cool drink, grab a bite to eat, and prepare for the remaining stretch of your road trip. If I’m not in the passenger’s seat, I tend to struggle with the concept of resting. I want to get to my destination and get there as quickly as possible. Rest! Who has time to do that when you have a “schedule” to adhere to? As much as I love a long 5 hour stretch of travel without taking a break, it isn’t the best practice. When you take time to be intentional about resting and make sure it’s incorporated into your trip, you reach your destination much more refreshed. I believe you get the point now.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with my sister-friend LaShaunda Hoffman. We talked about a very necessary but not so popular topic—grief. Grief never gives us a courtesy call and asks us if we are ready for a significant life interruption. It doesn’t give us advanced notice that it’s on its way. It doesn’t ask us if we are prepared for it. It just happens due to the progression of life. It shows up and sometimes when it shows up it isn’t convenient. LaShaunda provided some excellent wisdom on the topic, and I encourage you to view our Sisterly Chat to get the fullness of our conversation.
How do rest spots correlate with grief? Many times, we have been taught that grief has a time limit to it. Whether we are grieving the loss of a job, loss of our health, loss of a marriage, loss of a friendship, or the physical death of a loved one grief isn’t something that should be skipped.
However, some of us skip grief due to the following reasons:
• Some of us have been told the fallacy that God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. So, we hide behind the need to be Strong. We must keep up the image of strength so our grief will be more palatable to other people, shouldn’t we?
• Some of us have been scripturalized (I made this word up) to the point that we can recite every scripture about mourning. Somehow, we feel that by quoting the “words” it will progress us through the experience of grieving without feeling what we need to explore and emoting what we need to release. We hide behind the need to be a Strong Believer. We don’t want people thinking we are weak because we express our real feelings do, we?
• Some of us have been told that it is best to keep busy and active instead of facing our grief. So, we fill our schedules with meetings, rituals, and routines that make other people feel we are facing grief well. We hide behind Workaholism. In our culture, the bereavement policy covers you for 3 days as a courtesy. However, anything beyond the 3 days that is allotted to you is on your own. People are waiting for you to do your job. Who has the time to grieve?
Grief may not be understood by our culture at large, but it’s a necessary experience to go through. It’s good to feel the emotions you need to explore, to cry the tears you need to release, to express the things you need to communicate and to be open about what is going on. Many of us, myself included, have been guilty of wanting to get back to life to the point we miss finding the rest spots to recharge in our journey.
I challenge you to live differently, go through the process of grief, and allow yourself to heal.
Here are a few tips we discussed that I hope will help you as well:
• Allot time for tears and expression. You don’t need to be the strong-one.
• Find a counselor, pastoral care, or support system to help you to process your emotions. (Side note: If you are a counselor or Pastor/Leader don’t be afraid to seek support for yourself. We need it too).
• Realize there are stages to grief and you won’t get there overnight. It’s ok.
• Continue the process. There isn’t a time limit to the healing process, and you’re not in a race. The important thing is to heal.
Just as our body needs to get the fuel it needs and eliminate things when it’s time, experiencing the process of grief allows us a place to rest and recharge as well.
- Where do you need to embrace a rest spot?
- What are your fears about taking a break?
I challenge you to ask these questions and know that it is okay to not be okay. A part of the recharging process is honesty. When you are honest with God and yourself, then you will also be open to true rest without masking.