In 2020, there were many individuals who lost something.
Some lost loved ones. In fact, 1 in every 1000 Americans died from Covid 19. Loosing a loved one, a spouse, a parent is very painful and life changing.
Some lost a job. With forced closures due to Covid 19, many lost their jobs & positions, and some needed to close their businesses for good. In fact, 22 million jobs were lost due to the pandemic just in the early stage.
A loss of job brings uncertainty, insecurity, loss of income and transitions. Sometimes the loss & transition involves the whole family, a move, and other inconveniences.
Some lost friends. With covid restrictions and less opportunities to meet face-to-face, relationships have suffered & isolation is on the rise. Plus, the year 2020 provided many opportunities for people to share personal views on politics, social justice, the police, vaccines, covid restrictions and other issues. Yet, the Covid restrictions took away opportunities for face-to-face conversations and moved the conversations to mostly impersonal, one-line tweets and posts on social media. As a result, people were misunderstood, pre-judged, “cancelled,” as some friendships couldn’t handle the pressure!
What do you do when you face a loss?
Here are a couple truths to remember, when facing a loss:
- When others step away, it can create an opportunity for new relationship to develop. Yes, old and long-lasting relationships are very healthy and comforting. Yet, new relationships can be just as amazing, healing and restorative! Press on!
- No matter what happens and who leaves, Jesus is still very present. Abide in Him. Rest in Him. And don’t worry, people left Jesus too. As a matter of fact, all of his closest disciples abandoned Him at one point. As long as you have Christ, you have everything!
- When others step away, use that opportunity to grow closer with your family. True in most cases, the people for whom you’re sacrificing your family will not be at your funeral. But your family matters. Use seasons of loss to grow closer with family members.
- Pay careful attention and notice whom comes to you while others leave. And cherish those people. Scripture says true friends are those who can rejoice with you, and cry with you. If there are people around you who flee during times of great joy or great sorrow for you, they probably shouldn’t be too close to your heart. Remember, loudest boos come from cheapest seats.
In 2019, our family went through a transition and a dear friend and mentor, George Davidiuk, called and showed up a day later, from a different state, just to spend a day together. It had a big impact on me, and helped process some difficult days. I will remember his heart and commitment in that season for the rest of my life!
5. Yes, life will have seasons when you will just need to restart & rebuild. You can do it. Ive watched often as our 3-year-old daughter Ava would break our 11-year-old son Matthew’s masterful LEGO sets while he would be away. And when Matthew would come home and see what she did, he would often even shed a tear. But a day or two would go by, and he would start rebuilding something new again! Yes, its painful; do it anyways. In the Bible, Joseph was betrayed many times, and seemed like had to start from “scratch” multiple times. In fact, 7 times the Bible says that Joseph wept. Yet, even though he had to rebuild several times, eventually, his persistence paid off.
6. Speaking of loss, sometimes it will come as a result of betrayal. Sadly, betrayal is something to be expected from time to time. Life is not always fair. But, learn to have a healthier view of betrayal. Betrayal is often how God tests us. And if you remember anything about school, before you advance to the next grade, you are tested! Anytime we are betrayed, we must leave justice to God. Trust Him. He is best in taking care of things. And when we do that, life will be much easier.
7. Speaking of any loss, it won’t be easy and its ok to grieve. Actually, its really important you grieve. You won’t be able to move on unless you grieve. Sometimes you’ll wake up in the middle of the night a week, a month and even a year later, wrestling with the pain of loss. It’s ok to grieve. Find a trusted friend, and just cry on their shoulder. Just don’t grieve like a nonbeliever (1 Thes 4:13). We are people of hope.
8. One of the best ways to deal with loss is by volunteering and serving others. It is the antidote for all kinds of loss and despair. Recently, I gathered with several men whom lost their wives in 2020. As they shared their stories and heard the other men’s stories, they began to encourage each other, and they themselves were refreshed and saw purpose and light in the end of the tunnel, in the midst of pain.
9. We cannot allow ourselves to be defined by our loss (loss of friends, loss of position, etc). Don’t allow one tough season to lead you to be discouraged or quit!
At one point, 70 of Jesus’s disciples decided to leave Him because His teachings were too hard to understand and comprehend. Yet, Jesus continued to be a disciple maker, and continued His mission.
John the Baptist was the most prolific & important prophets (according to Jesus), yet a couple of years into his ministry, he began to doubt where things were headed. He lost the role of the primary prophet, and his disciples transferred their allegiance to Jesus. He almost became a non-factor. Yet, just because his role diminished, it did not diminish the historical impact he made! Be faithful as you know how in every season, and trust that Gos is at work using you as He designed you to make an impact!
Need another recent example? Check out the story of the NFL quarterback Drew Brees. He had an amazing college career, and started well for the San Diego Charges. Then, he had a crushing injury. Some thought he would never come back to great shape. Yet, he worked hard, and eventually signed with another team (New Orleans). He went on to throw more passing yards than anyone else in the history of Football! It was hard to go through a season of crushing, but he did not allow that to stop him!
You cannot allow yourself be defined by a bad day or a bad season. Your value and significance is not dependent on the role or position you hold now, or held in the past. Your value and significance also wont be based upon the position your might or might not hold in the future. In other words, don’t strive for a position. Strive to love, serve and give grace to others. And watch what the Lord will do!