My friend Fabienne Harford is a coach, teacher, and writer who has put together a course on grief I think many of us might need. She reached out to me a few weeks ago to see if she could give the course away to a Sayable reader and of course I said yes. Learning to walk into the deeps of grief, instead of staying in the shallow end of quick assurances to myself and others that, "God is good and is doing good," has been one of the hardest disciplines of my life. Responding with trite answers, avoiding awkward silences, rushing in where I should hold back—these are difficult lessons for the Christian. Fabienne wants to help you grieve well, but also truly grieve. Not only death, but disappointment, hurt, fear, unmet longings—whatever it is, she wants to help you walk through it honestly and with hope. Here's Fabs:
After I lost my dad, I went to a counselor for the first time in my life. I sat across from her in our session and she asked me my goals for therapy. I told her, with absolute sincerity: “I want the feelings to stop.” With a gentle smile, my counselor broke the news to me that she wasn’t in the business of removing feelings and instead she spent the next few months introducing me to my ol’ buddy, grief.
I counsel clients myself now, and I have no shortage of people who walk through my doors wanting to know how to make those pesky negative emotions go back underground. I tell them the same thing I tell myself regularly - if you get rid of the negative emotions, you will also get rid of a lot of things you treasure: intimacy, joy, connection, and your ability to bear the image of God (who, as it turns out, feels all the feelings).
Grief doesn’t ‘make the feelings stop.’ But it does make sense of them and put them to work to help you harness hard things to become healthier.
The reason many of us don’t know how to grieve is because we haven’t had a lot of practice. And that’s not because we haven’t had our fair share of emotional injuries; it’s because we tend to think grief only comes into play in the most extreme of circumstances.
Grieving is about healthily processing the bumps and bruises and injuries on your soul. It can help you harness all of life’s painful curves: friends moving away, singleness, infertility, disappointment with your career, sin patterns, the weird twinge of a friend saying something unintentionally hurtful, loss and disappointment in all its forms.
Grief is about navigating a fallen world where brokenness lurks around every corner. It’s about learning how to hurt well - in a way that leaves us walking even more fully in freedom and healthy wholeness.
Just like physical injuries, emotional injuries that aren’t dealt with don’t just work themselves out. Unaddressed wounds tend to result in us (1) losing access to certain emotional faculties or (2) becoming the walking wounded:
- Some of us just shut off our feelings when something hard happens. We tend to look ‘healthy’ in a world that values positivity and is uncomfortable with tears. But while this approach may make you ‘low maintenance’ and easy to be around, it generally results in essentially amputating a part of your emotional capacity, making it harder to access parts of you that lead to vulnerability and intimacy over time.
- Some of us just learn to live with gaping emotional wounds. When someone brushes up against the wound at all, we look down at our bleeding souls and blame them for carving us up, when in reality those wounds were there long before. Some of us notice the seemingly disproportionate reactions, and call ourselves crazy never realizing we’re reacting to something very real, even if it’s not the exact situation on hand.
I know all this and I still want to avoid grief most days. I don’t like to feel hard feelings. Because (spoiler alert), hurting hurts. But God has been gracious enough to allow specific losses into my story that made avoiding grief impossible. So I have experienced, not by choice, but by grace - the true reward of grief.
If you want to learn more about what it looks like to treat an emotional wound, check out the grief class! I created this content because I truly believe that learning to grieve well has been one of the most fruitful (if painful) endeavors of my life so far.
What does the grief class include?
(1) Six online videos you can watch whenever you want. The videos cover:
- What is grief & why do I need to do it?
- Skills for facing intense feelings
- The thoughts we have about our wounds that make it hard to process them
- How can we help our brains make sense of life’s curve balls?
- Tasks of processing wounds in a healthy way
- Grieving with God
(2) A workbook to help you work through specific wounds in your life
(3) A group study option is available that includes cool conversation cards to help you process with your pals!
If you want free access to the class as well as a downloadable workbook, all you have to do is:
Follow In Process Collective on Instagram and leave a comment on any photo just letting me know you saw this post on Sayable! It could be a question you want answered, a thought you wanted to share, or anything really. I'll choose a winner on Saturday, July 30th.
If you'd like to order the course, click here.
Thanks, Fabs! I hope and pray this course will be a great help to the church.