Neglected loss, disappointment, and grief

By Dave Henning / August 23, 2020

“I’m beginning the conversation with neglected loss, disappointment, and grief not because those are the main issues in any person’s life, but because those are the things we tend to run from.  Of course we do. . . .  Problem is, we are running from huge tracts of our own soul, leaving them behind, and then we can’t find more of God because we are looking with so little of our own soul.”- John Eldredge

In Chapter 10 (“Care for Neglected Places in Your Soul”) of Get Your Life Back, John Eldredge encourages you to address the overlooked and unattended places in your soul.  First, John suggests, write a list of your recent  losses and disappointments.  Rather than viewing this activity as heavy and dark, though, the author finds it cathartic.  Because it provides palpable relief.

Whether recognized or not, the grief, disappointment or sadness exists.  And it takes great amounts of energy to keep them below the surface.  Thus, letting go gives rise to relief.  Like letting go of that beach ball you’re trying to hold underwater.  When the beach ball pops up, you don’t need to suppress it any more.

However, it’s human nature to hope our problems simply go away.  In addition, John observes, we do this even more with our souls.  In the midst of living in this busy and distracted world, it’s quite easy – and far more efficient – to send your soul to the back of the bus.  Put another way, to give low priority to your soul.  Perhaps you’ll attend to it sometime in the future.

In conclusion, John talks about the effects of such behavior over time:

“Over time, each loss causes us to offer less and less next time.  What’s available in us is lessened through our losses.  We often can’t find the more of God we long for, because we are looking with so little of ourselves.  Too much of us has been left behind. . . .  But I have reason to believe that unattended loss is a good place to start if you would recover and heal the vessel God wants to fill. . .”

Today’s question: What prompts you to deal with neglected loss, disappointment, and grief?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Our losses matter – practice acts of kindness”

About the author

Dave Henning

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