Sometimes the busyness and the struggles in this life cause us to feel paralyzed. We feel so overwhelmed that we don’t feel like ourselves. Anxiety or depression come in and we feel constantly on edge or in a state of despair. Maybe we feel like there is nothing to look forward to or we feel a lack of peace. Maybe we feel like we are just “going, going, going” and we can’t stop.

I can certainly relate to these feelings, and I am learning how God meets us in the struggle:  how He quietly and powerfully lifts our despair and fills us with His hope and peace. Often times we carry pain and situations that we do not realize that we are carrying. Maybe we are carrying the pain of a friend or the despair of someone we have ministered to. Maybe we have hurts that we have not grieved or maybe every day anxieties have built up and we feel unable to be ourselves, unable to connect with someone, or unable to give anymore.

So what do we do in these situations to find peace or to feel like ourselves again? One powerful component is to grieve our hurts to the One who “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). And how do we do this?  For me it looks like sitting with the Lord in the quiet and not saying anything. As I breathe in and out, I find that He replaces my anxiety with His peace and my despair with His hope. I find that as I walk through the painful memories of the day in my mind with Him, He takes my burdens and encourages me. Like a good friend or a parent, I can feel Him taking the load off of my shoulders or the pain off of my heart. Sometimes I feel Him supporting me in the pain.

Another necessary component I have found to process grief (or depression and anxiety) is to talk with a wise friend or mentor and a therapist. Sometimes it helps to have another perspective. It is comforting to have someone connect with us in our pain. Most of the time we are not looking for how to fix the problem, we are looking for healing from the hurt. It is so healing to have friend or therapist meet us in the pain and say things like, “You must feel _________”.

If you would like to know more about processing grief with the Lord, Laura Baber Beach has written a wonderful book entitled Rhythms of Restoration:  Practicing Grief on the Path of Grace. In the book you will find a guide focused on topics that cause pain and how to grieve them. I highly recommend this book for those that are grieving or battling depression, anxiety, or broken relationships. It is also extremely helpful for those who are caregivers or those who minister to people.  A sample of the book and the full edition can be found here.

Blessings to you as you endeavor to learn more about the process of practicing grief. I hope you find what you need.

By: Jennifer Lilly, MA, LPCA, NCC