It’s 3:00 in the morning The kids are in bed and the usual hustle and bustle of the world is now quiet. I should be sleeping, yet here I lie. I am wide awake not thinking about my list of wha…
Source: Time With God
It’s 3:00 in the morning The kids are in bed and the usual hustle and bustle of the world is now quiet. I should be sleeping, yet here I lie. I am wide awake not thinking about my list of wha…
Source: Time With God
Many have asked for more direction on how to overcome the enemy so I have put together this post to help.
The deliverance ministry is overwhelming at times since everyone thinks that only a certain few can accomplish it, but this can be done by every believer for our God is the same in me as he is in you if you follow what the Word of God tells us. In the book it talks about giving Satan a foothold which can be done is so many ways which I will address later in this post.
The first step is to accepted Christ as your Savior. This is the first step in getting rid of demons. You must ask for forgiveness of your sins and if you mean it God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. There is a prayer in our book that you can recite if you need. Once you have asked for forgiveness and accepted Jesus as Savior if you sin again you need to ask forgiveness for those specific sins.
The next step is to forgive others. This is another foothold the devil can have in your life that he can use to attack you. This is an act of obedience. Your prayer may look something like this: Dear God, I forgive_____________ for hurting me out of obedience to you. You have forgiven me for so much and in the same way I forgive _________________ for hurting me. In the name of Jesus I will no longer hold this unforgiveness in my heart against ___________.
The next step is to find things in your past that have to do with the occult. Satan really gets a foothold in these areas and they encompass so much. If you have had any involvement in the areas below you will need to renounce them in the name of Jesus.
Ouija boards, fortune telling, tarot cards, palm readings, yoga, hypnotism, karate, seances, tea leaves, spirit guides, crystal balls, necromancy, horoscopes, conjurations, water witching, life or reincarnation readings, watching psychic or witchcraft movies or TV shows or reading books about psychics, spiritual mediums or witches, charms, rabbits foots, levitation, mind readings, ESP, mind science religions, transcendental meditation, astral projections, involvement is secret lodges, listening to rock music with hidden cult messages and drug abuse. You can pray this prayer: I renounce__(each one you have been involved in)__________ in the name of Jesus. You can go over this several times and God may reveal more to you as you listen to him about what you have done in your past that has opened a door to demons.
Once you have closed these doors to the past get rid of all of the possessions you have in the occult area and any area that causes you to sin; music, books, charms, etc must be destroyed. This goes for any area of your life that you know causes you to sin. If you have books or other objects in your house that disobey God’s word get rid of it. Any idols such as Buddhas, voodoo dolls or other objects such as frogs, snakes and owls that are associated with the occult.
You will likely feel a lot of rebellion during this time. You must give everything to Jesus and be 100% committed to him. To be victorious over Satan you must renounce any and all pleasures of this world and be totally committed to God’s Word. God will continue to show you if you have other areas that you need to deal with such as emotional problems, mental problems, religious spirits, an uncontrolled tongue, addictions or illness. However, as a child of God you have his protection through the blood of Jesus. Resist the devil and he must flee. James 4:7. Your authority is from Jesus and your weapon is the Word of God.
There are many in the book, my blog and on the website.
So first pray the prayers of forgiveness for yourself and others.
Renounce issues of the past through the occult.
Believe and receive the power and authority of God’s word. Next when you know you are sure that you have totally committed your life to God say out loud, “Satan I bind you in the Name of Jesus. I am a child of God and you have no authority in my life anymore. For whatever is bound on earth shall be bound in heaven. Matt 16:19. If God gives you the name of the demon spirit that is harassing you you can call it out by name. Boldly take authority over you house and life by telling the spirits to leave in the name of Jesus. Such as in the Name of Jesus, spirit of fear I command you to leave my life and my house. Or you can just do an overall generic one if specific ones come to mind. I often do not ask for its name just command it to leave. Quote scriptures (there are many examples in our book). You have to do this daily especially when demons attack. Just remember Jesus has overcome the world and if you are a child of God you have this same power to drive out demons. Admit and even say out loud that you are free. And ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit. Listen to gospel music and read scripture when you start hearing voices. Take authority over them saying in the name of Jesus be quiet or leave my house. Let me tell you this is a never ending process. Demons can get in all the time from movies, book, impure thoughts, visitors and even going out to public places where they follow you home. We and other strong Christians pray all the time over our houses when we feel these spirits arrive. One night while sitting on the couch Michael saw a demon peak around the corner of our staircase. Immediately we started to pray and it left.
If you feel like you need someone else to pray with you also I suggest finding a Pentecostal church in your area for they are the ones with the knowledge and acceptance of these demon attacks. Cleansing Stream is good program that helps you address many areas like the ones I mentioned above and helps you cleanse your life of these sinful areas. I know they even have scholarships for those in need. They usually have people trained who can pray for you and know how to handle demons.
You’ve read the book and know the Bible verses that talk about the battle between good and evil that every person must face. Ephesians 6:12, I Peter 5:8, I Timothy 4:1 etc. Get into a church that you can attend with support behind you. The devil wants to isolate you so you believe his attacks. The devil hates us with a passion and will do everything to destroy us but keep your eyes, mind, and heart on God everyday and he will not accomplish his goal. Praise Jesus!
New King James Version (NKJV)
A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
I have been going through a rather tough week where the enemy has tried to steal territory from me and I allowed it to steal my joy, but God gave me this passage from the 23rd Psalm. I am trying to understand how not to be a Christian doormat, speak the truth, and yet still let God be in control of every situation. When I first started out in life I thought that I would like to be in the business world but one thing that bothered me was the back biting, back stabbing and deceitfulness that goes into getting ahead and it made me think twice. Yet I have found that we encounter the same kinds of situations in our everyday lives and how we handle it can really show how Jesus is working in our lives and how we are different from the world.
Conflict is another area that has been in the forefront of what God is teaching me this week. How we handle conflict is very important. God told us how in his word in Matt. 18:15 where it first says we should go and talk to our brother and if he does not listen then take two or more with you as witnesses and if that doesn’t work then tell the church. So many go and tell others of the problem seeking to find a solution where they are right instead of facing the problem head on with the person for what it is and talking it through. Is it necessary for us to hurt our brother or try to usurp what is not ours to for whatever reason even if we think it is valid? But God in his still small voice whispers to me that it will all work out. I know the plans I have for you, plans to give you a hope and a future. I know that God is bigger than my problem. The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. God knows the heart of the perpetrator and will prepare a table in the presence of my enemies. He will take care of me even when my fellow man may not. I look at Joseph and how he suffered under unfair jealousy of his brothers, but through the hard times he held on and God, not Joseph, prepared the way. Joseph’s part was to be faithful and trust. I think about chapel today and how it was voiced that this world promises all the riches and happiness if you only do this or have this. But in the light of eternity, what is truly important? Is it our job, being right, our possessions or our fellow man? When we stop to evaluate our motives and how they affect others we can pattern our responses after Jesus and not self. Jesus will lead me in the path of righteousness, by still waters, restoring my soul. My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will go and live in the house of the Lord forever.
By Candy Vietzke
As I lay awake in the early morning light questioning how I should conduct myself as a Christian in the changing cultural climate I asked God to give me a scriptural reference for the day. This was before I knew of the Supreme Court decision that was handed down today.God gave me Jeremiah 3:19 “I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.”
As Christians we cannot stray from what the Bible clearly defines as sin. I think of Daniel and his refusal to stop praying which was against God and he was thrown into the lions den. Or what about Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego who would not bow down to another god and were thrown into the fiery furnace. We have to be the light in the darkening world, not give in to whatever pressure is being brought against us. we have to keep ourselves Holy and set apart. We have been lucky just as the Jews were that we had a Godly nation for so long but now we may have to face persecution at the hands of our beliefs. We have made a commitment to the living God no matter the cost and now we will find out who is wholly committed and who will bow to the current god of this world. Everyone says God does not have to be defended but I’m not defending God I am acknowledging Him before man. God says that if you acknowledge me before man I will acknowledge you before my Father. I think of the movie Gods Not Dead and how one young man stood before a giant in the intellectual world to acknowledge that in fact God is not dead and neither is His Words or commands.
God sent many judges and prophets to warn Israel over and over if they did not follow the laws of God that punishment would surely follow. Our pride has shut our ears to the truth creating our own truth instead of God’s truth. We can love the sinner but never the sin. we can never change his Holy laws to fit into our lifestyle. God said to follow the law of the
land as long as it does not interfere with Gods laws and this surely is against God’s Holy Law. Let me assure you I do not hate anyone nor do I fear anyone who sins. I am concerned for each and every soul that Jesus loves and died for to know the truth for the truth will set us free. I have made a commitment to follow Jesus and His laws and I cannot deviate from that path due to current society pressure.
I pray for our nation for God also said if we repent of our ways God will surely forgive us. God please forgive us from turning from your Holy ways. Help me to be your light in dark places. Give me strength for the days and trials to come. Give me wisdom to be a light for the lost and the saved during this time. Amen.
First of all let me say that I applaud your decision to seek wisdom so that you may grow as a pastor or spiritual leader. To ask advice from anyone is hard especially when you are in a leadership position. Some in leadership positions do not feel as if they can ask for advice. They feel that in their position they are suppose to be the leader and not appear to be weak by asking how they can do better in their positions. The older I get the more I realize how much I don’t know. Reading through the material you may gain insights to weaknesses that you have that I would have missed. Having said that and knowing that you are very busy I will let you in on the pearls of wisdom that I personally gleaned from these books.
Communication seems to be the key word in chapter seven of Finzels’s book. To communicate effectively one must “never assume that anyone knows anything.” (p. 128.). Lack of communication usually has everyone assuming things that are not true. “When left in the dark, people tend to dream up wild rumors.” (Finzel, p. 127). Don’t let others fill in the blanks that you leave behind. If you do people will fill them in with their own assumptions and what you will get in a skewed version of the truth and uncontrolled rumors. This will be true for both your staff and your congregation. Don’t leave anyone in the dark. Build appropriate lines of communications so people will talk positively and effectively.
Communication can also change with time as your ministry grows. What once worked many not work in the future. You should understand that when changes are made that everyone that is affected be notified right away (Finzel, p. 134). Also as your ministry grows it will mature from oral, informal, and spontaneous to written, formal and planned so that everyone can be on the same page. (Finzel, p. 130). This gives clear direction on where the ministry is going. Do not be afraid to over communicate. This is especially true for new leaders “People need to know what to expect of their new leader. If you are that person, make sure you over-communicate as an obsession.” (Finzel, p. 135). People in ministries who are well informed tend to thrive and understand how they fit in with its purpose and success. (Finzel, p. 131). Both your staff and your congregation will not understand or know how you lead if you do not communicate effectively your own goals and visions. “Declaring the purpose and core values of an organization is one of the essential jobs of a leader.” (Finzel, p. 140). This can be especially true for young ministers, especially when older congregation members think that they know more or have more experience than the pastor. Knowing that you have a clear plan and where they fit into that plan can help stop the rumors and the uncertainty that these members feel.
Communication is a two way street. Getting your message across is great, but the door swings both ways. “Effective listening is active rather than passive.’ (Robbins, p. 132). Robbins goes on to explain that as an active listener requires you to understand what the person is saying, not “what you want to understand.” (Robbins, p. 132). This can be especially difficult between men and women since they tend to use communication for different purposes. Truth 36 states: “Men tend to use talk to emphasize status, while women generally use it to create connection.” (Robbins, p. 140). Truth 34 is about the difference between hearing and listening. It provides eight behaviors that are associated with active listening including making eye contact, nodding your head or other appropriate affirmative actions, avoiding distracting gestures, asking questions, paraphrasing what the other person is saying, not interrupting, and taking turns talking with smooth transitions. (Robbins, pp. 132-133. Listening is a skill that most leaders do not possess or give up thinking that over time they have gained so much knowledge that they do not need to listen to others. (Finzel, p. 136). “The more people you lead, the more you must listen.” (Finzel, p. 136). Leaders tend to live outside what is really happening in the organization and must learn first hand from others who are actually performing the day to day operations of the ministry. Have you ever watched the Undercover Boss TV series? These bosses that go out in the workforce and try to do these jobs get an eye opening look at how their policies are really effecting the job or the people in those jobs. Its also quite funny when they do not understand or can’t even perform the job duties. What is the price of a leaders isolation? A disconnect and a loss of respect from those whom he is leading. Invest in those who follow you. We have started a conversation in our own staff meetings about being able to correct those around us when they need correcting. As one of my co-workers put it can’t we just go back to loving everyone and not confront those issues that need confronting? She was uncomfortable on both sides of the coin, she didn’t want to confront or be confronted. Building relationships with co-workers or those whom you lead is important to that need of confronting in love. When they know that you have their best interests at heart they will not be as defensive. They know your heart and your intentions of making them better people, not criticizing who they are.
Finzel describes four basic areas in which a leader should be clear. The first is to outline the vision and the values of your ministry. The second is to clearly establish a chain of command. Third, make an organizational chart so everyone will know how your ministry is organized and just where they fit into the picture. And lastly, make sure everyone has a job description. This is critical for you to establish your own job duties also so that you can invest in the lives of your congregation and your staff. Make sure everyone knows that they are important.
Finally make sure that your actions line up with your words. Truth 37 talks about when people are forced to choose between what a person does and what he says tend to believe actions over words. “Contradictions between words and actions can be most damaging to a manager’s attempt to build trust with his or her employees.” (Robbins, p. 145). As Christians we should follow the example of Christ so not only are we preaching the Word, but we are doing the Word which will definitely point men to Christ and make disciples which we are all called to do as stated in Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” But also be forgiving of others and yourself for we are all human and prone to mistakes. No leader will ever be perfect and learning how to treat others when they make mistakes as well as ourselves will also set an example. Just remember we reap what we sow and sowing good seeds will produces good crops in ourselves, our staff and our congregation. I hope you can use some of this advice to help you grow as a leader and as a Christian. May God bless you in all that you do.
Everyone seems to be searching for God’s will in their lives. Many believe they will have some divine revelation like Moses and the burning bush or Paul (formerly Saul) on the road to Damascus but most of us do not receive such a sign. So where do we go to find out what God wants from our lives. John Macarthur in his book Found: God’s Will believes that God wants us to know His will for our lives and clearly communicates it in the Bible. He has come up with a list of the Five Aspects of the Will of God all starting with an s: saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive and suffering.
The first step is being saved. One must accept Christ as their savior so that he can lead you where He wants you to go in life. Macarthur states: “God has no reason to reveal to you anything particular about your life because you have not met qualification number one: salvation.” (p. 13). I have had so many people ask from what are they suppose to be saved? I tell them saved from sin, saved from eternal death, and saved from eternal separation from God. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the people in the world that He sent His one and only Son to die on a cross so that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have eternal life. The will of God is simple “Above all it is that you know Christ and then that your neighbors hear about Christ. That is His will.” (p. 18).
Next is being Spirit-filled. What exactly does that mean? Macarthur answers the question of what a spirit filled life “It is being saturated with the things of Christ-with His Word, His person. (p. 33). The Holy Spirit lives in you the minute you are saved. You have all the power to do what Jesus clearly laid out for us to do in the Bible. The disciples had this power while Jesus was on earth teaching them to do exactly what He could do, but it didn’t change when He ascended into heaven. Why? “When Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit, he had the same power as when he was standing next to Jesus Christ!” (p.30). Jesus gives us all that we need, we just need to learn how to tap into that power and ask for wisdom on where God wants us to use it.
The third aspect of God’s will is to be sanctified. I liked the way John Macarthur uses the word purity for sanctification. It is being set apart from worldly ways. Paul gave four principals in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 for us to stay pure: 1. abstain from fornication. 2. control the body. 3. subdue your passion. 4. treat others fairly. Macarthur states: “You can be blessed by God only so long as you are controlling what you do for His honor.” (p.39). “Nothing that gratifies the body to the dishonoring of God can have a place in the will of God.” (p.40). To do God’s will is to be pure and holy in all of our ways to reflect on the person of Christ himself as he is pure and holy.
The fourth aspect of God’s will is to be submissive. Why is this so important? Macarthur quotes 1 Peter 2:15 “For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.” Macarthur says: “Do you know what the critics of Christ look for in Christians? Faults.” (p,47). He goes on to say that we need to eliminate the faults and live in a way that makes you the best possible citizen in the society in which you live. People need to see that we are different and the reason why we are different is because of Christ.
The last aspect is not popular especially today and that one is suffering. The world does not like Christ. “But you cannot be accepted by the world and be effective for the Lord.” (p. 63). We will be shunned, put down, falsely accused, bullied and so many other negative actions for our belief. “We are to suffer, not because we have failed to be the right kind of person when we were younger, not because we are antagonistic, grumpy, grouchy, or out of whack somewhere, but we should suffer for doing what is right.” (p. 53). This is not our home. We are just passing through on our way to our eternal home. “The Bible never sees a Christian at any time who doesn’t suffer-because anybody who lives a godly life in the world will get the flak that the world throws back.” (p. 55). But we must fulfill the other parts of God’s will including telling others about salvation and for that the world and Satan will always try to destroy us, like they tried to destroy Christ. We have to be willing to stand up and be counted for Christ just as he stood up for us when he died for our sins.
The question of “Are you in the will of God right now?” is a tricky question. I would like to say that I am 100% perfect but no one on earth is perfect. Have I been saved? Yes, I was when I was seven, but have I sinned now and again over the years? Yes, I have. I have asked for forgiveness for those sins and he has forgiven me again and again. I strive everyday to do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord.
Have I been spirit-filled? Yes, I have learned more and more over the years on how to use power of the Holy Spirit to lead others to Christ, to pray for healing, to cast out demons and so much more. I feel His presence as if he were standing right next to me. Someone asked me the question of what the difference of suddenly being caught up in the air in the rapture of dying and seeing Christ. I said the only difference is that now I could physically see him instead of just feeling his presence. I went to see Heaven is For Real the movie on Sunday and the scene where the little boy met Jesus gave me goose bumps. It is like the song I Can Only Imagine when you get to heaven and see the one who died for you, your best friend, your savior face to face what will you do? I think it depends on your personality. I want a hug and He knows it! He is not some stand offish God reigning down his laws and justice on us he is a friend, a brother and waits for us to accomplish all in this life so we can come and be with Him for eternity.
Number three is difficult and I do strive to keep my fleshly desires (such as overeating or overspending) under control, but I will not say it is not without struggles. It is a daily tug of war but God gives us the power to overcome this area in my life and I continue to strive daily for that purity. Galatians 5:16-18 states: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. ”
As for submission, I have always driven the speed limit and been laughed at by others when I told them that the Bible says to obey the laws of the land. Am I perfect? No. I get distracted or in a hurry, but if I realize what I am doing I go right back to the speed limit. I have never gotten a ticket when everyone says it is normal to be pulled over for speeding. This is just one example. In other areas I do struggle. I want to do what is right but find myself in difficult situations that are hard to get out of especially in finances when one faces the loss of a job, a reduction in hours, sickness, or death. But God continues to mold this piece of clay for his glory and even in adversity He can use it for good and help me grow.
I know a lot about suffering and have suffered for what is right. I stood up for the weak, and for my faith and have suffered many consequences for it. I decided as a teenager I would rather work for Christ than have millions of dollars working for myself. I wanted to stay home and teach my children rather than send them off to learn from the world. I can tell you that I do want to please people so it is hard sometimes to fly in the face of adversity and confront those who are dying in their sin. I obeyed God by telling both family and friends about God’s will of salvation and lost the bonds of those relationships because of it. Would I do it again? Yes, because I do want to do God’s will no matter what the cost. To accomplish this I read the Bible, go to church, seek wise counsel, pray and read books on about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well as listen to Him and obey when he instructs me to do something. So while I am not perfect I am striving toward the goal of all of these to do God’s will in every situation with the talents he has given me which I use daily to expand His Kingdom and give him the glory!
The question posed is how does a minister balance the task of peoplework verses paperwork. Although every situation is different and has very different circumstances I believe that every minister can and should find the time to invest in both.
In a task-oriented driven society is it difficult to track the progression of what you do to influence people as easily as it is to show what you do through the progression of paperwork. “The problem is, we have subtly made task orientation more desirable in our leader selection process.” (Finzel, p. 47) However our role in leadership is to influence people and not to push paperwork. Finzel states: “When all is said and done, the crowns of my achievement will not be the systems I managed, the things I wrote, or the buildings I build, but the people I personally, permanently influenced through direct contact.” (p. 55).
I personally like the practical list of “How to Push the Paper Aside” including the suggestions of getting away from work for lunch, spending time with your friends, coworkers, children and spouse, exercise with coworkers, changing locations to be out around people, manage by wandering around and my favorite delegate more! (Finzel, p.54). Which leads me to what Powers says that “each minister must accept personal responsibility for their ministry by taking the initiative in purposefully directing one’s life as much as possible rather than simply allowing it to be determined by past and present pressures.” (p. 283). Delegation can help a minister be proactive instead of reactive. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 talks about gifts that were given to Christians to build up the church. I believe we should seek those out who have strengths where we are weak so that all may use the gifts and talents given to them to help build the church. We do not have to do it all by ourselves and we shouldn’t. Leaders are to help those with talents use them not bury them as in Romans 12:5-8. By spending time with other to help them develop and use the talents God gave them it builds our peoplework skills and our paperwork duty.
I also like what Powers said about peoples expectations of the role and duties of the minister. “Staff ministers quickly become aware that the expectations held by church members, other staff members, and they themselves about their role and function are numerous, varied, and often conflicting.” (p.278) Maybe we are expecting more from ourselves than those around us. Or maybe we are filling roles that people don’t expect us to fill that is eating up our time. Jesus our ultimate example showed us how to shepherd the people and it was not by pushing paperwork. Our goal is to “see peoples lives change into Christ’s likeness.” (Finzel, p.50). Jesus went out and personally touched the lives of others.
Finzel in chapter three talks about how people need affirmation. “Organizational researchers have been telling us for years that affirmation motivates people much more than financial incentives.” (Finzel, p. 60). What better way to reach out when you are buried in paperwork than to praise those who are doing great work around you. Encouraging people with a card, or a personal visit is a great way to add the human element into your daily routine. “The whole business of affirming those who work with and for us is very simple: Do it!” (Finzel, p. 65).
Peoplework doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. Be on the lookout for the simplest peoplework things that take very little time and you will find that you can find balance between people and paperwork.
Are All the Children In
Florence Jones Hadley
I think of times as the night draws nigh
Of an old house on the hill,
Of a yard all wide and blossom-starred
Where the children played at will.
And when the deep night at last came down,
Hushing the merry din,
Mother would look all around and ask,
“Are all the children in?”
‘Tis many and many a year since then,
And the old house on the hill
No longer echoes childish feet
And the yard is still, so still.
But I see it all as the shadows creep,
And tho’ many the years have been
Since then, I can hear my mother ask,
“Are all the children in?”
I wonder if, when those shadows fall
On the last short earthly day
When we say good-bye to the world outside,
All tired of our childish play,
When we meet the Lover of boys and girls
Who died to save them from sin,
Will we hear Him ask as Mother did,
“Are all the children in?”
In every person’s life they will be faced with the task of experiencing the loss of someone very close to them. Many trained professionals have tried to develop ways to cope with this life changing experience by examining those who have gone through this process. Their objective is to find some common ground to help the bereaved understand that what they are going through is normal. However, if one does not actively participate in the healing process that this traumatic event creates it can cause further damage physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. The goal is to examine many different models of grief and how they relate to the individual in the healing process. The second goal is to explore the many effects that grief has on an individual and the consequences of not facing one’s grief. The third purpose of this paper is to find ways to help others heal by understanding that what they are facing is a real, to take comfort, and to eventually find hope in this very human condition.
Grief is part of the human condition that everyone must face. One can grieve for many things that are lost in our lives such as a job, a dream, a relationship, or a house, but I will be exploring bereavement which is when a person loses someone he or she loved or cared about to physical death. One must learn to acknowledge grief, being willing to face it, and find a place of healing to become a strong emotionally healthy person.
Different Models and Theories of the Grief Process
Many different studies and theories about how people have dealt with loss over the years have been presented. One of the first to present his theories was Freud. In his Morning and Melancholia paper Freud believed that those who are grieving are searching for an attachment that has been lost and that there were three sections that one had to accomplish in order for the mourning process to be complete. They include a) “freeing the bereaved from bondage to the deceased b) readjustment to new life circumstances without the deceased and c) building of new relationships.” (Hall, December 2011). He believed it was an active process that one must engage in to move on in a timely fashion to reconstruct his or her innermost world so that one can return to normal function as soon as possible to avoid the increase of melancholia that develops when a person fails to follow the three sections. (Freud, 1957). Once the loss is acknowledged, the ego adapts to the loss so the person is able to search for and form new attachments. (Humphrey & Zimpler, 1998; Susillo, 2005).
Several year later Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s created a grief cycle based on her clinical work with the dying. She discovered that when people where faced with their own mortality they went through five stages of grief including 1) denial; 2) anger; 3) bargaining; 4) depression; and finally 5) acceptance. (Kübler-Ross and Kessler, 2005). This model was later used for those who were experiencing the loss of a loved one.
William Worden (2008) created the four tasks that mourners should complete so that they could actively participate in their healing while still getting help from an outside source. Those tasks included the acceptance of their loss, to process the pain of grief, to adjust to the world without the deceased, and “withdrawing emotional energy from the deceased and putting it into another relationship.” (1982). This last task was closely related to Freud who also stated that you should withdraw you attachment from the deceased. (Konigsberg, 2011). Worden later changed the last one to find an enduring connection with the deceased in the midst of embarking on a new life” since it was discovered that people thought about their loved ones long after they were gone. (Worden, 2008; Konigsber, 2011).
Other stage models include Bowlby who believed that there are four stages of grieving: numbing, yearning and searching, disorganization and reorganization. His theory was based on the security and survival of an individual. When attachments were broken or lost the emotions of anger and anxiety could be expressed in these stages of grieving. (Bowlby, 1986).
Rando has categorized grief in normal process of grief and complicated grief. In normal grief she puts the process into three phases: Avoidance, Confrontation, and Accommodation. In the avoidance face a person experiences shock, numbness, confusion, overwhelmed, and foggy. Once the shock decreases and the person faces the loss he or she begins the denial process. This occurs within the first five months as survivors begin to face the reality of their loss. Avoidance comes when a person tries to keep too busy so that they do not have to face their reality of life without their loved one. In the confrontation phase the person is hit with the intense pain of their loss. They have to come to grips with the change that this person in no longer in their lives. The last phase of accommodation has the person reinvesting in their life by making adjustments and forming a new relationship with their loved one who has died. Hope once again lives in their future. (Collier, April 2012).
The One Agreement
There are many other models of grief but they all point to a time of great emotional upheaval that takes time to heal. Most psychological theories seem to point to the separation between the deceased and the griever while others think that it is healthy to hold onto the relationship. One thing they all agree on is that it is a complex and unique process that every person must face individually.
The Physiological, Emotional, Psychological and Spiritual Effects of Grief
Our bodies can take on many physical expression and problems due to grief. One can experience fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, difficulty sleeping, pains, and crying. Although there are many important physical effects, I am going to only focus on two of the most common: crying and loss of appetite.
Crying is often associated with grief and death. But why exactly do we cry? According to Emily Driscoll:
Studies have shown that emotional tears contain more manganese,
an element that affects temperament, and more prolactin, a hormone that regulates milk production. Sobbing out manganese and prolactin is
thought to relieve tension by balancing the body’s stress levels and
eliminating build ups of the chemicals, making the crier feel better”.
According to Gross, Fredrickson and Levenson crying can be method on decreasing sympathetic activation. After the body activates sympathetic responses it follows up with a parasympathetic response to reduce the “high levels of sympathetic activation and restore autonomic quiescence”. (Gross et al., 1994). This brings the body back into homeostasis which is “the process of maintaining a stable psychological state in the individual under varying psychological pressures or stable social conditions in a group under varying social, environmental, or political factors.” (Merriem-Webster online dictionary). But the main reason people cry could just be to communicate to others in a language beyond words.
But this minor physiological benefit aside, the most likely reason we produce emotional tears is because it’s a means of communication.
Before babies can speak, they can cry. The only way for infants to
express frustration, pain, fear, or need is to cry. Adults may use crying
to bond with other humans. Expressing sadness can prompt comfort
and support from peers. Different languages can provide barriers to
spoken communication, but emotions are universal. (Driscoll, 2006).
On the website WebMD they believe crying serves many functions in expressing grief. One is to help release emotions since most people state that they tend to feel better after crying and by doing so it helps them cope with the demands that they face everyday. It also helps people adapt to sad situations as well as a communicate that you are feeling pain and desire comfort. (WebMD.com, nd).
Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite is a common symptom of grief. But just why do we lose our appetite. Dr. Trubow believes:
“In the short term, the stressor initiates a chain of reactions that includes shutting down your digestive system. Remember facing that lion? When you’re reacting to stress, the last thing you should do is eat because it diverts blood flow toward the stomach and away from the lower half of our body. This is important because we need increased blood flow to those muscles in order to run! And, while modern-day stressors don’t typically involve lions, our bodies are programmed to respond this way whether it’s life or death, or not. Thus, it makes sense that when you encounter an acute stressor, or grief-causing event, that your appetite is suppressed. How long you remain in the acute stress response is another matter, and is unique to each individual: how you process things, your body type, how resilient you are, and any number of other factors. At some point, if the stressor goes on long enough, you may convert (through a complex chain of events) into a chronic stress response, which, over time, can make you sick. “(Trubow, 2013).
Emotional Effects of Grief
Emotional effects caused by grief besides sadness can be that of anger, frustration, anxiety, guilt, worry as well as longing. One should not suppress any feelings but deal with them in a healthy way. The emotion of sadness wells up inside us and usually is released through tears. Releasing the pain is a very important step in the grieving process. Kubler-Ross and Kessler state “Unexpressed tears do not go away; their sadness resides in our bodies and souls.” (2005, p. 45). Another emotion one experiences through this difficult time is anger. One might question the presence of anger during this process and try to suppress it, but Kubler-Ross and Kessler warns against this course of action. “Be willing to feel your anger even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.” (2005, p.12). Hiding and stuffing ones feelings are clearly not recommended. In the Grief Recovery Handbook by John W. James and Russell Friedman talk about those who have recently suffered a loss but declares that they are fine. They talk about the danger of that statement, “Saying I’m fine merely distracts us and others, while pain and loneliness persist on the inside. The net effect is to create a scab over an infection, leaving a mess underneath.” (James & Friedman, 2009, p. 56). The emotion of guilt may well up inside of us and cause regrets about the things that were not said or done. In our humanness mistakes will be made, but one must know that there will always be regrets.
We all know intellectually that we don’t have forever. But intellect does not inform matters of the heart. Regrets are of the heart, the yearning for more and the change to do it better. And death has a cruel way of giving regrets more attention than they deserve. (Kubler-Ross & Kessler, 2012, p. 39).
Society often asks us to not show our grief in public for many cannot handle it. Many don’t know what to say. Others are afraid of feelings or don’t want to face or talk about death. Many will tear up if you start to cry and become emotional themselves. One generation teaches the next that showing negative, painful emotions is not excepted in our society. (James & Friedman, 2009, pp.39-47).
Psychological Effects of Grief
Depression and grief can have many of the same symptoms such as loss of appetite, sadness, and trouble sleeping but that’s where the similarities stop. According to Ronald W. Pies, MD the claim that major mild depression and intense grief are identical during the short period after a loss of a loved one are not true. Those who suffer from major mild depression have thoughts of worthlessness, hopelessness or gloom while the grievers usually have a good self-esteem, hope, and positive thoughts intertwined with negative ones. (Pies, 2013). Some refer to this as complicated grief where one does not know how to grieve and then continue with life. Pies explains it as grieving “in a healthy way and adaptive way” as we “integrate the loss into the larger fabric of our life. We learn and grow, even as we ache in sorrow.” (Pies, 2013). With depression it is just the opposite. We do not grow but instead we are broken. (Pies, 2013). People with depression tend to avoid social situations, have trouble functioning at work as well as in other areas of their life. (Hall, 2011). In the book, How People Grow, clinical psychologist Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend tell us that everyone experiences loss but we must actively enter the grieving process. They go on to say that what we do with grief affects our ability to live our lives in a happy, health way for the future. (Cloud & Townsend, 2001). If one does not face the pain of ones loss one cannot heal, form new relationships, or embrace new experiences. Grief does not just go away one must face it to really live and be happy, healthy individuals.
Acute and Prolonged Grief
However, Will Meek, Ph.D. also explores the two kinds of grief, acute and prolonged (complicated), in his article on the Real Stages of Grief. He believes that prolonged or complicated grief can look a lot like depression. He also believes that in acute grief over time one learns how to find relief, acceptance and a sense of meaning out of the loss. One can look back on the memories without it overpowering ones emotions. Prolonged grief, on the other hand, paralyzes ones emotions and causes other negative results such as “fear of forgetting the person, excessive guilt or anger, persistent sense of disbelief, moral indignation” (Meek, 2012).
Spiritual Effects on Grief
Bearing Each Others Burdens
So where does one turn to face this heart wrenching pain everyone must face? Many turn to their faith in God and the healing and hope that comes from Him. C.S. Lewis in his book, A Grief Observed, tells of his overwhelming emotions when he lost his wife. “I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny heartbreaking commonplace.” (1961). There is an intimacy we share we those we love and we can’t get it back when it is gone. Jesus himself knows firsthand this kind of grief and he showed it in the Bible through the story of Lazarus. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus and he loved Lazarus and his sisters very much. In John 11:35 we find the shortest verse of the Bible but a very poignant one; Jesus wept. Jesus wept for his friend, but most of all he wept with Martha and the other mourners for he is a compassionate God who sympathizes and feels the pain his children feel. (Hebrews 4:15). In Romans 12:15 God instructs us to to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (NIV) In other words it is a responsibility of every Christian to share in the sorrows of fellow believers. In keeping with what we learned about those who lose loved ones and avoid social interaction that can lead to deeper depression and attacks from Satan we can understand why God put such a responsibility on each person.
Hope for the Brokenhearted
David is another example of one who sought solace from God during his times of loss. When his friend Jonathan died in 2 Samuel he states: “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me.” God is a friend to the brokenhearted. Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he delivers those who are discouraged.” (NET).
But what is more shocking is that David grieved for Saul. This is the person who tried to kill him and made his life miserable, but David did not see it that way. He was saddened by the loss of his king, the anointed of God who was now forever lost in eternity. You see God is our hope for eternal life. The Christian knows that if a loved one is saved, although missed on earth, will be seen again someday. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2, NIV). Jesus is our hope, our strength, and our healer. If we put our lives in his hands and trust his will for our lives we can get through anything, even the loss of a loved one.
In this world everyone will face troubles and grief is the one trouble that everyone will face. How one chooses to face and conquer grief is an individual choice. However, as we have learned it is an active process in which all must be involved to move on with ones life after the loss of a loved one. As we live, understand, grow, and heal from this terrible separation we can also find hope in our God. We know his promises are true and that he will heal our broken heart on earth and someday reunite us with our loved ones for eternity.
Collier, Elizabeth. (2012). Understanding Complicated Grief from the Perspective of Local Community Bereavement Facilitators and emerging adults on a college campus. TCNJ Journal of Student Schoarship. Volume XIV. Accessed on June 20, 2014. http://joss.pages.tcnj.edu/files/2012/04/2012-Emr.pdf.
Real Stages of Grief Psychology Today. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/notes-self/201210/real-stages-grief.Real Stages of Grief
Beyond Kubler Ross rencent developments in our understanding of grief and bereavement http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/2011/december/hall/.
Theories of Loss and Grief. http://www.aipc.net.au/articles/theories-of-loss-and-grief/.
1994 Psychophysiology – Psychophysiology of Crying. http://spl.stanford.edu/pdfs/1994%20Psychophysiology%20-%20Psychophysiology%20of%20Crying.pdf.
Emily V. Driscoll. (October 2006). Why Do People Cry? http://scienceline.org/2006/10/ask-driscoll-tears/.
Dr. Wedie Trubow. (April 2013). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Dr.-Wendie-Trubow/grieving-and-health_b_3177737.html.
Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. (March, 2012). When does Grief Become Depression. Psychology Today. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-grief/201203/when-does-grief-become-depression.
Cloud, Dr. Henry and Townsend, Dr. John. (2001). How People Grow. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan.
James, John W. 2009. The Grief Recovery Handbook. New York, NY. Harpers-Collins
Trust in God is something easily taught but not easily implemented. I agree with the Beverly LaHaye and Lori LaHaye Scheck when they talk about how we as women want to tell God how to run our lives. If something doesn’t go our way or the way we think it should go we question God instead of trusting that he knows best. I like the verse in Isaiah 55:8-9 that says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (KJV). I have to learn to trust Him when I cannot see what he is doing. Beverly talks about the things we trust God with such as our salvation and to sustain our lives. She writes in the book A Woman and Her God, “Somehow we prefer to worry and scheme about things in our everyday world, but we are willing to commit the larger issues into God’s hands.” I had to look back over the years learn to see how if things had gone my way that it would not have been the best way. I love the song Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks. It talks about the girl he wanted to marry in high school and how he begged God to please let them get married. However, later on in life he met and married a girl so much better for him and as he looked back he was glad that God did not answer that prayer. God had something better in mind. We just have to wait patiently for God’s best.
I think that over the years I have learned to trust him in small ways. I see the accidents that have been avoided and the ways he provides for my needs. One day my husband and I were sitting at the dinner table. We were facing a terrible financial crisis. We didn’t even know what or how we were going to eat the next day. As we were sitting there weighing our options my cell phone rang. It was a man who wanted to purchase some of the items we were trying to sell online. He wanted to purchase over $600 worth of items. We were stunned but grateful and thanked God for his provision to us.
I think it is important to trust him in little things so that when the big trials in life hit we can really lean on him. I went through this with the unexpected death of my first husband. He was the sole breadwinner and we had four children. When he died I was not working and I did not know how the family was going to survive. I did not panic but felt a peace in my soul. I cannot explain it. I had just learned to trust over the years and did not come up with a plan. I just leaned on God and he provided in a mighty way. Do I fully trust him? Yes, but I still come up with my own plans, hopes, and dreams sometimes praying that things will go this way or that way. However, I am learning that it is more exciting to see how he will work instead of creating my own plan. He has the best in mind for me and so I am willing to trust him more and more every day and lean on his understanding and not mine.
Moore et al. (2003). A Woman and Her God. Brentwood, TN. Integrity Publishers.