Just Let Go

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Last week I made the decision to climb twenty-seven feet into the air with a friend, trying out The Cliff Hanger bounce house. My church had rented it for a Christmas tree lighting activity for our community. As I hung there three stories above the ground, I looked down the enormous slide wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into. I have never been a fan of heights. In fact, I am terrified of them. Yet, I found myself in quite the dilemma. There was only way down and that was to just let go. So, I closed my eyes, released my death-grip on the rings holding me in place, and found myself speeding down the slide. I opened my eyes as I descended and realized that I actually enjoyed the slide and it was not nearly as bad as I had feared.

Reflecting upon that experience, I realize that the ride of the grief journey requires the same thing. You have to just let go as you discover your new life. While you may desire for things to return to normal, that is not possible. Death changes things. So how do you find the courage to just let go?

I braved the adventure of The Cliff Hanger with a friend. Jin Jo actually had the idea to climb and she encouraged me to come with her. I am not sure I would have ventured the climb and fall if it had not been for her going with me. As you walk through grief, look for friends along the way. Who is it that is willing share their courage and cheer you forward?

There will be times when you should admit you need help. Those who have never experienced death and loss may not realize how hard your journey is. So we who have lived through such pain may need to open up and share with others how they can help. It is not a weakness to admit a need. It actually takes great courage to do so. Just let go and take that first step. The path will likely not be as impossible as you fear.

When we face the unknown it is common to be afraid and to hold on to what we have known. When I climbed up those three stories last week, I found myself clinging to the rings at the top, fearful of the unknown. While hanging there was scary, the fall downward was terrifying. It was new and unfamiliar. Tomorrow is also an unknown. It may seem to make sense to hang on to what you know, even if it keeps you stuck in grief and failing to move forward toward healing. However, continuing to grasp what you have known in the past will not allow you to grow and find the wonders of life that still await you.

As you find yourself facing new heights and the unknown summits of grief, remember that you need to just let go. Trust God and believe that the plummet into the unfamiliar can be full of joy and unexpected thrills.

Until next time –

Karen

With the holidays approaching, Grief Letters makes the perfect gift for those walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

The Lie of Discouragement

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Discouragement is destructive and tears down the person experiencing it. In the midst of feeling discouraged, it can be difficult to lift ourselves up out of a pit that can seem very deep with walls too high to scale. My pastor recently preached on discouragement and the fact that we can expect it to come. He quoted from the book of Nehemiah 4 as he encouraged us to face this defeating emotion head-on.

As a person who is walking through her grief journey, I have personally faced a lot of discouragement off and on these past four years. Life is just harder when you are forced to go it alone many times. I am very grateful that God is walking it with me. Realizing that the holiday season can be harder for those grieving, I would like to put a twist on the word ‘discourage’ that may help you in the days to come.

D – Determine that you will spend time in God’s Word and focus on the positive things in your life. Dig deep if you must, but cling to those good things you find and the precious memories you hold.

I – Intentionality is your friend. You must make a conscious choice to let go of the discouragement that comes your way and move forward.

S – Substitute the feeling of discouragement with purpose. The reason you find yourself in the predicament of being discouraged is often because you fail to remember that you have worth as a person and serve great purpose in this life!

C – Courage will be required to move forward and climb out of your pit. You can do this! Remember Phil 4:13 assures you that you can do all things with the help of Jesus Christ when you are within His will. He does not desire for you to remain discouraged.

O – Opportunity is knocking at your door! When you feel yourself sinking into the depths of hopelessness and discouragement, it is an opportunity to experience the power of God! There is no time like the present to pray and seek God’s direction. Ask what it is that He desires you to do. Then do it.

U – Urgency is required. If you allow yourself to sit discouraged for long, you will continue to feel hopeless. It is a vicious spiral down. When you realize that discourage has entered your life, you need to immediately begin the work on moving past it.

R – Rally the troops. We are not meant to walk this life along. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Over the last four years, there have been some precious friends and family who have gathered around me. With their support, I have learned the necessary tools to move forward in life.

A – Argue with the lie. Discouragement is an attack of the enemy in hopes that you will give up and become ineffective in life. Refuse to allow him that victory.

G – Gear up for the battle. There is no doubt that discouragement will happen in life. Be ready and equip yourself for the assault. Reading and knowing the Bible is your best tool. Ephesians 6 teaches us how to put on the “Armor of God” in order to be armed and clad correctly.

E – Excitement should be your emotion. When you are attacked by discouragement, it is because the enemy is worried. You are making a difference in this life and causing harm to his plans. He is scared and does not like that. Continue to keep your head up and your heart soft to God’s moving in your life. Satan does not bother those who are no threat to him. Be encouraged that you are a worthy foe of the enemy.

The lie of discouragement will present itself in your life. The choice is yours whether you will live with it or battle against it.

Until next time –

Karen