My Mom shared this article with me, and it really encouraged me as I've been contemplating if allowing ourselves to continue to mourn and feel grief deeply is Biblical. All I know is that I definitely identified with this: ..."the more she pushed her grief down, the more it came out in places she didn't want it to, and in ways that she didn't understand or expect." If we don't tend to our grief, it will come out in other ways. Though they come less often, when the waves of grief come, lately it seems harder to give myself permission to feel sorrow deeply if that is how I'm feeling...like I shouldn't be that sad anymore...like others won't understand anymore. But I am committing to tend to that grief and approach my feelings honestly instead of constantly trying to put a "Christian" spin on it.
Yes - I will continue to choose to keep healing and will claim the wonderful promises of God to keep me going - but when it is time, I will weep - or be upset - or take time to remember -- even if it doesn't seem like the most logical or Christian thing to do at the moment (and I am not convinced that ignoring emotions IS the Christian way to deal with feelings). I don't want untended grief to seep out in other areas of my life, and trying to change my feelings to be something more "acceptable" to God or others is counterintuitive. If I am having emotions that may be more sad than happy or even mad, I've wondered if I need to take them captive just like I need to take my unpleasing thoughts captive to Christ? The problem lies in how we do this. With thoughts - I bring what I've thought to God and ask him to help change my thoughts and try to think about other things. At some level I think we can do this with emotions, too, but if we don't actually feel them and just try to suppress or change or skirt around those feelings, they will probably come out in some other way. God didn't create us with emotions only to have us completely ignore them (on the flip side - we should not be controlled by them either). Sometimes facing feelings head on and FEELING them IS a good way to deal with them - and then take them captive - or whatever you want to call it. Once they've been felt - then we can take a less emotional look at them and process if what we felt is the pattern we want to continue in.
Regardless of what is the "right" way to process emotions as a Christian (because I have no idea what that is), we need to be honest. Jesus understands us perfectly and already knows how we feel. We must approach him honestly. The point is - whether you call it "taking your emotions captive" or working through things" or whatever -- the place we need to go is Jesus. He already knows every detail of our feelings, and he is "moved by the depths of our sorrow" and weeps with us. We are messy - but he understands and accepts us just as we are.
*disclaimer to say that I am not always in this state of grief -- just when the waves of grief attack. As time marches on, it continues to be hard to know how to process those emotions when they hit.*
Take a moment to read this short, excellent article:
"Jesus Mourns With You"