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What is your emotional range? So many of you reading this are shut down in some way. I say that with empathy as in, “you were made for much more.” You were made to experience much greater joy in your life than you do, but the enemy of your soul so hates you that he takes your pain and turns it …
By Seth Barnes
grievingWhat is your emotional range? So many of you reading this are shut down in some way. I say that with empathy as in, “you were made for much more.” You were made to experience much greater joy in your life than you do, but the enemy of your soul so hates you that he takes your pain and turns it into an infected thing that festers inside you.
 
When I say “emotional range,” it could be a lot of things, but let’s make it simple and just look at it in terms of your ability to experience joy.  If you’re honest with yourself, how much joy do you regularly experience? If a normal range is 1 to 100, what is yours? Some nations (Moldova comes to mind) seem to wrestle with so much emotional pain that the average citizen operates within a very narrow range – maybe between 40 and 60.
 
Let’s draw that continuum out so you can see it more clearly:
    1____________________________________________50________________________________________100
    Grief                                    Numb                                  Content                              Happy                         Joyful
 
Shut down your experience of emotion at any point on the continuum and you desensitize yourself. It no longer works for you like it should. Loss and pain are normally processed through the experience of grief. But sometimes life’s pain comes at you in such waves that you can’t cope – you have to shut down.
 
The good news is, you don’t have to live within a narrow emotional range. To restore what you’ve lost, you need to go back to those places where you shut down and grieve the things that you lost. So many of us were in some way abused or depressed early in our lives – we couldn’t cope, so we stopped feeling. But, you don’t have to be a permanent victim of your loss. Your loved ones want you to be free, but they can’t do the grieving for you. You have to go there yourself.
Counselor and author Gary Collins wrote the following excellent piece on how to process your grief:

A few days ago I went to the window of my 38th floor hotel room in New York and looked down on the site where the twin towers once stood. The man who helped with our luggage was at work on September 11, 2001 but he was reluctant to talk about his memories of that fateful day. So many people lost their lives. So many survivors needed to start over.

How do we help ourselves or others when there is a need to begin again, following a tragedy, major loss or failure? In recent weeks I’ve discussed this informally with three friends who have been released from high profile jobs. All recognize the need to grieve. Each has struggled with anger, discouragement, disappointment, sadness and anxiety. These people know that things may get worse before they get better. They recognize that life will never be like it was before. But they’re finding ways to recover and rebound. Here are a few:

Embrace the feelings. Admit the pain. Give yourself permission to grieve.

Don’t rush the process. Few people bounce back. Recovery and renewal are more like steady growth with periodic setbacks.

Keep in contact with others who are supportive but who can gently and sensitively push you forward.

joy 2Don’t dwell on injustice, revenge, or on things beyond your influence or control. Fantasies about getting even only hurt the fantasy-maker and slow the recovery process.

Get exercise, even when you don’t feel like it. Exercise can help your body and brain resist illness, think more clearly, fight depression, and have a more positive attitude.

Keep learning. This is something that we can control. It has been suggested that “use it or lose it” applies to every part of your body, mind, and social life.

Keep God in the picture. Communicate with him regularly, even if you doubt his presence or his awareness of your circumstances.

Let yourself dream about what can be. Keeping visions alive can help us all grow beyond the past and move forward to a positive future.


More thoughts on grieving at this blog.
And feel free to contact me – the blog ministers who work with me will be happy to help you pray through whatever hard spot you find yourself in.

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