My guest today, Pastor Joseph Thompson, He is an entrepreneur and a business leader. He’s the co owner of Rehoboth home health care services. He’s a man of faith and has served in ministry for over 30 years, most recently serving as the executive director for spiritual development, and one of the fastest growing congregations in the country, which is Action Church here in Central Florida. Prior to this, he served as pastor for Primal Church, also The Well and New Life Church in Colorado Springs.
With his great spiritual leadership experience, I’m happy to announce that he is now on the board here at growth through grief. He’s here to guide our spiritual content and our purpose in faith and service, which is a strong part of what we do and aim to do for the widowers. A
And for those watching the program who can see Pastor Joseph, clearly you can see he’s a man of fitness. He was a CrossFit owner back in the day, as head coach and judge. And as we dig in, I’m sure we’ll uncover many more dimensions that make Pastor Joseph, who Pastor Joseph is.
Welcome Pastor Joseph.
Pastor Joseph 2:09
Thank you so much. It’s so good to be with you, Tom.
The widowers welcome you. So over the years, I’m sure you’ve counseled many who’ve experienced loss. Pastor Joseph, including widowers, tell us a little bit about that.
Pastor Joseph 2:26
I think it’s best first, to start from the premise of my own loss, because people tend to be able to identify more with someone who’s experienced a somewhat similar journey, because they feel like they can identify more with that person’s story.
So yeah, I’ve counseled 1000s of people. That’s not an exaggeration as I’ve been in ministry for going on 40 years. So that would be a lot of times I have counseled people.
But in my own personal journey, in a series of six years, beginning in 2008, I lost my mother-in-law. Now you might say, well, that’s not as personal because it’s not your actual mother. It’s your mother-in-law, which is true. As close to her as I was, she’s not my mother. But the grief strikes differently because of how it impacted my wife, and how it impacted my wife directly, it then impacted me. And so that was where that journey began.
Two years later, in 2010, my father died unexpectedly, suddenly. That was devastating. I felt awful, even though my mother was alive. I felt awful, because I realized at that stage that there’s no season of life or age that you get to where grief becomes easier to bear.
Then in 2012, that was the greatest devastation of all because I lost my baby sister at the age of 43. Plane crash. In a series of six years, every two years, a family member died. And I became paranoid.
And unsuspectingly, although I never was angry with God. I never expressed any such emotion and back then people asked me about that. But what I realized in hindsight, is that I got to a place where I began to feel a lack of trust towards God. I felt like he couldn’t really manage, that. he wasn’t trustworthy enough that I could give him all of my issues, and he would come through and that’s what I subconsciously began to imbibe as the truth.
And faith comes by hearing, according to the Scriptures, am I hearing the Word of God? It’s not hearing the Word of God preached on Sunday. That’s not what it is. Faith comes by hearing what you’re speaking to yourself on a consistent basis for good or for bad, negatively or positively. And I began to believe and bind to that idea that it wasn’t God’s fault. That he didn’t fly the plane. Those were the words I used. So I was never angry at God, but I started to feel a lack of trust, that he would intervene in situations and circumstances that really mattered to me, and bring deliverance.
So that was the first place where I began to process my grief and break it down. And I realized, through help, where I spoke to someone, and that as we talk through this, I’m going to talk about a little bit more some of the steps that I think you can take. But I spoke to someone who confronted me with some really, really powerful ways. Ways that exposed some issues in me that I didn’t even realize where there.
But it was beautiful. The problem of processing grief and anger by yourself is that it’s guaranteed to lead to depression, because grief and anger don’t change facts. The facts are, you’ve lost a loved one. And it’s devastatingly painful. Well, those facts are not going to change.
And all that grief and anger does is it leads you to depression. Whereas if you are able to unpack, and process the things that you’ve had to walk through, this phrase – a common phrase that is sort of a cliche comes to mind. We talked about the cycle of grief. And in the context of a cycle of grief, I would actually suggest that grief is only a cycle, in the sense that you are constantly feeling those emotions. Different varying emotions, with some of those emotions like anger, bargaining, denial, depression, acceptance, all of those emotions in the cycle of grief.
But here’s what I want people to understand. It’s not a cycle in a set pattern, where you go through denial, then you’ll get to anger, then you’ll get to bargaining, then you’ll get to maybe depression, and then acceptance, and then you’ll either be out of it, or you’re recycling it nonsense. You might go through denial, get to go back to denial, get to depression, go back to denial, get to bargaining, go to ange. So it’s only a cycle in that your constantly like a gerbil on a wheel, feeling all of those different emotions. But they are not a cycle in that you can check them off – check the box, okay, I’m done with anger. I’m done with grief.
So you need people and processes to help you navigate through these different stages, and sit through with you on the emotions that you’re feeling from loss.
Yeah, I completely agree. Pastor Joseph. I went through a series of compound grief impacts as well. I lost my mentor, which would have been the Dad I chose if I could have chosen a father, right. So it’s like losing a father, when you’ve got a mentor that you’re that close with.
I then lost my Dad, as well. And there, where I think you alluded to it in some of the counseling that you got, there were a lot of father issues that had informed my life. Then a couple of months later, I lost my wife. Then I lost a key business partner about a year ago, and my brother a few months ago, so it has been over the past 10 years, almost exactly the same pattern that you speak of, we’re about every two years on average I can count on a major loss in my life.
And for me, it has reinforced my faith, because I realized how fleeting everything is that I rely on in this world. Right? And I’m trying to transcend out of that, to realize that I need to rely on something with a more solid foundation, as opposed to this world ,and the people and the things around me.
But I want to get back to a point that you made and one that I see is that a lot of widowers struggle with. Many of our widowers get hung up in their anger, in that angry stage of the grief cycle, and they turn their anger upwards. They’re mad and they’re blaming God now for what they’re going through. And that becomes a real barrier for them. Either finding faith that they had prior, or even maintaining good faith that they had going into this.
Talk about that anger towards God.
Pastor Joseph 9:59
So I’ll start with what may seem to be trite, but I am not trying to be trite. And I’m not trying to belittle people’s grief, I’m just trying to highlight how absurd it is to turn your anger upwards.
Would you blame the Minister of Transportation for all the road accidents?
Irresponsible individual choices as people are driving, and it may not be your problem. But maybe someone is driving drunk on the road heading towards you and hits your car and kills your family members. It’s not your fault. It’s their fault. But it’s not the Minister of Transportation’s fault.
But it’s interesting how, as Christ followers, when something doesn’t go the way we want, we turn our anger upwards. We blame God.and It’s interesting. Here’s the thing that I need to say about that,, that God is writing a macro story about his creation, and humanity.
I saw a quote one time. “You may not agree with the way God runs his world. But you are not God, and you don’t have a world”. The point is this quote is, that God is writing a macro story. All of our lives are micro stories within the macro story he’s telling. And just like any good movie, there’s intrigue, suspense, lost, pain, hurt, during joy, celebration, all of those emotions that make up a great story are embedded in the macro story that God is writing.
And sometimes our micro story is in that chapter of pain and grief. But just like going to see a really good movie that has all of those elements. You don’t walk out of the movie theater 20 minutes into the movie, because the protagonist is in bad shape: in trouble and with things seeming to be falling apart for him. You stay till the end.
And because God is the macro storyteller, there are things that you don’t see. Life is on a continuum. You and I are here in the journey of the story. So all we know is this part, the past what we’ve experienced. But God sees from here to here. And he knows that in order for us to get here effectively and successfully, we have to go through this perfect example,
Tom, five years ago, your beautiful precious wife died after 19 years of marriage, your soulmate. But look where you are now. Look, how many lives are being touched because of your purpose in grief. But if you had been asked before she died, “Are you willing to lose her so you can get to this place?” you would have said “Absolutely not”.
But God is telling this macro story. And in the macro story, your story intersects with the stories of so many others who need healing and restoration from that pain. Pain you have walked through. The Bible says that God comforts us in our own troubles, so that we may comfort others with the same comfort we have received from Him when we went through our journey. That’s the macro story.
So the micro story is fraught, sometimes with pain, and hurt and loss and all that. But if you can just embrace the fact that God is telling a bigger story, and he has trusted you with pain.
Why is it a trust? Because he knows you have two options: You can turn away from Him and curse him and deny Him, or you can turn deeper into Him which is what you have chosen to have with the birth this ministry to widowers. So that’s a trust. God trusted you with the loss of your wife.
Because God is not his sovereign. but he has given us freewill. You are not a mannequin or a puppet on a string. Normally, we get to make our own choices. So when God saw your full story and saw where you would be, and so where he desired for you to be healing other men, he knew that he had to allow the loss of your wife to bring you to that place, but he had no guarantees that you would allow that loss and pain to shape you into the man you’ve become. It may have turned you to drinking and drugs and illicit sex and everything else that would have pulled you further away. With free will you chose the better part.
That is the key of faith. In the journey of loss, I tell you this time, when people don’t have faith in a relationship with God, I am baffled as to how they navigate grief, I have no clue. I couldn’t even begin to give counsel to someone who has said, I don’t believe in God. But I’ve lost a loved one and I need help, I can’t help you. I have no idea what to say or where to begin. Because faith is the bedrock, the foundation, the jumping off point into navigating grief.
Pastor Joseph, I could not have made it to where I am today without some of those losses that I spoke about. In particular, my wife was the one who served others. She dedicated her life to helping so many through the cancer process here in Central Florida, and was a mentor to many who were going through the sickness. I relied on her to do that, to be the helper and giver. And until I lost her, I kind of didn’t realize that I would have continued to rely on her to do the things in the community while I went and did my things in business.
And until I lost my business partner at a very young age, he died of COVID recently. I think that I was still enamored with the business world, as that being my mission and my purpose. And it was through the loss of Bryan, my business partner, that I realized that there’s a better way to do things.
And so each one of these losses became a catalyst to get me to find my purpose. And I tend to be, we have a Sicilian expression called stoonad, thick headed, stupid. And Pastor Joseph, I’m quite thick headed. It takes a lot to get me to change and to do things sometimes. But when I do get them in my head, I’m passionate about it. But I do think he needed a lot of prodding to get me back in the right direction. And I’m blessed to be able to have finally recognized what it was that I needed to do going forward and to create this ministry of service.
And I really think that as a widower, it’s really important that we don’t get stuck in our loss, right? We don’t get stuck in the fact that we’ve lost our identity in a lot of ways through the loss.
When I lost Judy, my identity was in being the provider to my family, and as a husband to my wife. And then that was gone.
I see a lot of people, when they go through a loss like being a widower, all of a sudden, “I’m a victim. I’m a victim of God, I’m a victim of loss, I am now a widower”. And they replaced that identity, their ego, which was a husband and a provider, to now being a widower and a victim.
Talk about ways to not have that happen, or to get out of it, If you feel like you’re in that victim mentality.
Pastor Joseph 17:57
That’s a great place to begin. Because this notion of experiencing loss and then feeling like the victim, and being stuck in the cycle of grief, and largely of anger, and depression, bitterness, all of that.
I would say to those who’ve experienced loss, that it’s important that they recognize first and foremost that they’re on a journey. There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that declares a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. That means for this journey, to get out of grief, you have to be willing to take a step in a different direction that you’ve been going. It’s very hard to do because you become myopic in the pain, and you have tunnel vision. All you see is your pain, and your victimhood.
And so it’s very difficult to take a step outside of that, which is why here’s some things you really need. You really need to talk to someone. You must talk to someone who ideally, should be a mental health professional. But it doesn’t even have to be. It can be someone like you, Tom, who has walked the same road. Because someone else helps give you perspective that you don’t have at the moment. You just don’t have.
And so your first step is being willing to talk to someone, to open up honestly. So this idea just shows you how powerful the human ego, especially the male ego can be because of the way culture has taught us. Strong men don’t cry, Strong men don’t do this. Strong men don’t do that. It is a lie from the pit of hell.
If you’re not crying, you’re not a strong man. You’re a weak man because you’re hiding the true things that you feel, and it takes strength to be vulnerable. And vulnerability means you’re willing to acknowledge you’re wrong, you’re willing to weep, you’re willing to hurt, and you’re willing to seek counsel to take a different direction.
To know that the road I’ve been on is not the right road, I need to take a different direction that takes strength and vulnerability. The first thing I would say is talk to someone. The second thing I think that is critical, in order to take a step in a different direction out of your own, is to journal.
Here’s why. I’ll give you an example and you’ll understand where I’m coming from. So when my sister died, if you look at my social media, you’ll realize that 90% of my social media is geared towards ministry. In other words, I’m not a social media guy, and I’m not judging others. It’s just not me. I don’t post what meal I cooked last night, what I’m having for dinner tomorrow, where I went and played golf, I don’t post those kinds of posts. It’s just not me. But I’m not judging people who do. My social media is geared towards outreach ministry, talking about the love of God and sharing things that He’s invested in me, that he’s shown me or taught me from and through my experience, or learning or growth. I call them “lessons along the way”. But there are these moments when my sister died. I want to say it was God who inspired this, I started to keep a public journal.
I didn’t know what I was doing, but every day for 30 days following her death, I would write on Facebook, about my raw emotions, my feelings, my hurt. But I always pointed back to God, how I trusted Him in one form or another. I would express that at the end. I will pour out my heart, my emotions and all that I was vulnerable to. And then towards the end of 30 days, I felt like I didn’t need to do this journaling anymore.
But about day 24, I had two different friends reach out to me, one from London in the UK, and one from Nigeria. And both of them wrote and said, You have no idea how the last 20 something days in which you have been writing, you have brought tremendous healing for us. Because these were people who had also lost loved ones in the same flight in which my sister was killed. In total 166 people were killed. And so they were reaching out to me telling me that my writing became their catharsis, that healing, that process of navigating through pain and understanding it and then turning it back to Jesus.
And they said, “You should write a book about this”. And so I did. I took and compiled all of those things. And I wrote a book called Imagine, meaning imagine if this was not your journey. Or imagine if you had to walk through this, what would you do? So I wrote that book.
My point is this. The healing that I experienced in writing was incredible, because it’s almost as if you’re emptying poison out of your system, that the buildup of pain and grief and anger and you’re pouring it out of your system. That’s the best word that I’ve got for it, as I am not a professor of mental health. So I don’t know all the technical terms, but that’s how it felt to me, and it was impacting other people’s lives in a similar manner. So I got so many people reaching out to me talking about that.
The term pouring out, I think is important in that you’re saying the first steps need to be that. Pouring out the pain and pouring out to a friend, a confidant, a mental health professional, a pastor. Pour out what you’re feeling, Pour out via a pen and a piece of paper or computer, what you’re feeling, whether it be a blog journal, like for me in my articles and poems, is how I do it. But you’ve got to pour that out. Otherwise it will overwhelm you. You are filled with grief, and if you don’t get it out, it will just stay there and well up, drowning you.
Pastor Joseph 24:51
But it requires vulnerability to be willing to pour out your heartland raw emotions. But here’s the best part of it. That pouring out. it’s not just the healing that happens in that moment.
Do you know, I have gone back, keep in mind, this was 2012, my sister was killed 10 years ago. But I still, from time to time, I’ll open up that book. Imagine, sand I’ll read and I start to weep. Because I can feel the raw emotions, you see, because it’s easy to forget emotions.
It’s like a woman giving birth, they say there is no pain, like the pain of childbirth. In the world, we have to accept that, because you and I’ve never experienced it. So the pain of childbirth. But the Bible is clear, as soon as that baby has been born she can begin forgetting her pain. Which is why she can have another baby again. I mean, the worst pain ever in the world, and then you experience it again. But it’s because you can forget your pain that it can happen again.
Well, in that sense, it’s a good thing to forget your pain in childbirth, but not so in loss. Because if you forget your pain, it is out of the place of your pain, that you are able to bring counsel and healing. Your grief or your anger. The place of your pain builds strength. It’s just like the gym, where pain helps to build muscles. It’s not when you’re lifting those weights that you’re gaining muscle, you’re tearing the muscle in that process, and it’s incredibly painful. But the end result of that, when you’re resting is your muscles are rebuilding, with all those fibers being reconnected, which is why your body shape gets stronger and bigger. Because muscle is developed. It’s the old saying, “No pain, No gain”.
Pastor Joseph, the anger is one way that people express their grief. Another one that we’ve seen a lot of widowers go down the path of, is suppression. In particular, medicating the loss with alcohol, with drugs, with overindulgence, sex, food, whatever it might be. With their purpose and identity gone, they turn to a different lifestyle, in perhaps a wrong destructive direction. And they’re overindulging to suppress that pain.
Talk about that a little bit and what you’ve seen there or how, how if someone is in that, that cycle that they can maybe get themselves out of that,
Pastor Joseph 27:38
I’m so glad you asked that question. I would keep in mind, as I give my answers, understand that I speak from the benefit of having other cultural perspectives. I’m Nigerian. I grew up in the UK in England, I’ve lived on just about every continent. And I’ve spent the last thirty odd years in America, I’ve been exposed to different cultural expressions, and how they respond to the challenge of loss and grief, and how they navigate it. And I would say, here’s what I found.
In the West, because we’re talking specifically about the west right now, and more specifically about America, people who you’re ministering to here: Have you ever heard the phrase Disney Princess theology?
I have not, even though we live right here in the home of Disney in the Orlando area, I should.
Pastor Joseph 28:44
Ok, so I’ll explain to you this concept of Disney Princess theology.
If you look at the Disney stories, about the princesses, they are always the good people who are treated badly, where something bad happens to them, but at the end they triumph and they are successful. And life is all well and good. Happily ever after.
Here’s why we call it Disney Princess theology. Because the Western Church largely is built on Disney Princess theology. We see ourselves as the princess, the hero in the story. We are never the one who has made choices or decisions that are ultimately destructive and bad. And for us cause us pain.
We are the ones who have been treated poorly in life, so I say that the suppression comes from the fact that when there’s a suppression of faith, or a suppression of the emotions and all that it’s because it all roots back down to and comes from our expectations, that God didn’t meet.
So the fact is, the story isn’t about us, I go back to the macro story. There’s the macro story that God is telling. And you and I are just micro stories within the macro. And that means for us, the critical key is obedience. Obedience. That he, the writer of the story, can see the entire vista of the story from beginning to end, where you see the present, and the past, but he sees the entire story.
So he says, This is how I want you to respond to that. In the moment of pain, it’s very hard to respond, to take a leap off a cliff that is covered by clouds. So you don’t know what you’re leaping into. That when God says leave, it may be the leap off that cliff is just two feet, deep you don’t know because you can’t see the ground. There’s cloud cover. And even if it’s not just two feet, even if it’s 200 feet, the Bible says he has underneath with everlasting arms. He’s there to catch you, to support you.
So I think the key to navigating through the idea of suppression is obedience. Again, remember I said, I could only give counsel to those who are in Christ, I have no counsel f for people who don’t have relationships with Christ. So for those who are in Christ, obedience is the key. Obedience to do what he says, Trust Him, to reach out to him.
The Bible says, trust in me, and I will show you great and mighty things hidden, that you do not even know.The thoughts, Ito prosper, not to harm you, but to give you a future and a hope. So all of those are true. That’s why you must be obedient to do what he said, because God doesn’t lie. He’s not a man that He should lie. So ultimately, there is a way out, even if you don’t see it. Obedience to His word, is the well.
Pastor Joseph, you indicated that through your compound losses and the compound grief you were experiencing, that you started to have doubts in that obedience and that trust. And I know there have been times when I’ve been on my new path, where I was like, “Wow, this is really uncomfortable. Am I doing what I need to be doing? Do I continue on this path or not? I’m really putting a lot out there?”.
So how do we gain that back if we’ve lost it, or how do we gain it if perhaps it wasn’t even there – the obedience, trust and faith?
Pastor Joseph 33:15
Talk to people. For me, that’s the secret.
Do you know that when my sister died, in my writing every day, people would leave comments on my posts. Most of them were considerate, and they meant well, I know. But they just did nothing to help me.
Someone even said something like, “I’m so sorry for your loss. Let God be your sister”. Right? What does that mean? Let God …. it’s this Christian thing. They meant well, I have no doubt. But do you know the people who spoke the most to me were people who have experienced loss themselves.
One of them wrote to me, he said this, “I cannot pretend to understand what you are going through. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I just know that pain and grief are real. Because my wife and I lost our daughter”. Wow, you “can’t understand your pain is greater than mine”. No parent should bury a child. My sister, yeah, that’s painful enough, my sister, but a child. And yet this person they say I can’t pretend to understand your pain. Yes, you do.
But that’s my point. People who have walked through grief and pain, really understand how to encourage others. It was statements like that and another one, a friend of mine who we went to school together back all those years ago in Nigeria, but he lives in California now. He had lost his brother. He reached out to me similarly: “I don’t pretend to understand your pain, but I do know the pain of loss”. And those were the things that would make me feel better, all of these guys who had a strong faith and navigated their own loss, and I just thought, if they can do it, so must I, we must be obedient.
That’s how I revived my faith, it was talking to people who had walked a similar journey, which is why what you’re doing, Tom is just an incredible work, I’m telling you, you probably have no concept of how big this thing might get soon, you might go viral, in that people with grief all over the country all over the world will suddenly start calling into you reaching out to you for help and assistance. So just be prepared to have that occur.
I love the fact that you’re working on a manuscript to a book that will help people, so that’s really good, but just be aware that it is so well needed.
Pastor Joseph, if I could just help one or two people, because I know I went through the beginning part of this journey, somewhat alone. There were certainly people around me, and friends around me that meant well, but I didn’t have the support I really needed, or a mental health counselor to go see.
And when I did find one, a mental health therapist, that helped immensely, so I highly encourage that. I didn’t have a church or a Bible study to go to. I found that much, much later in the journey.
And very importantly, I didn’t have fellow widowers … there were no groups, there were no “tribe”, that I found that I could share my stories with.
Part of this started because a local gentleman lost his wife, and someone encouraged me to go and grab him for coffee. And I saw how it helped him in that meetup and how I talked, even though he was recent in his loss and mine was some while ago, how talking to him really renewed my faith and got me to help healing. He helped me as much as I helped him.
There’s something there, with the sharing, Pastor Joseph, where I think as we share our feelings, and we’re able to get it out there, we can heal, and we can help to bolster each other’s faith.
Pastor Joseph 37:16
Yeah, I agree. You know, so you just highlighted a number of thing: a mental health counselor, a church family, and a group of people who have experienced something similar to what you’ve experienced.
All of these are sources of communication and connection. I think the one other thing that we haven’t addressed that helps in this process tremendously is exercise.
Did you know that even science, medical science has shown that there is a big upside from the endorphins that kick in, there are specific scientific processes that happen in your brain that are engaged when you exercise that help you navigate depression, sadness, and all of that, and it’s out there, there’s studies out there, so I’m not just spewing this people can do the research themselves and find. That is why exercise is a critical part of stress relief. For me, I exercise six days a week, and I’m almost 60 years old. I’m committed to not only physically being healthy, but making sure that I’m mentally and emotionally healthy. And I find that exercise is the way to all of those steps. So it’s brilliant for me.
I completely agree. And it was, Pastor Joseph, the first steps I took were those physical steps.
So we talk about how to get out of that grief cycle, that you have to take one step.
And for you, it was a faith step, and a journaling step and kind of getting it out there. For me, I didn’t have that. But I did have the ability to go out and run, I did have the ability to go and listen to a growth podcast to improve my mind during the run. I worked on body and mind really intensely, and then finally found my way back around to the spirituality that I had when I was young,I thank God for that.
But the exercise was really important, because when I improved what went into my body, which was to get off the alcohol, and I’ve been sober now for five years cold turkey, the day after my wife passed, I started to take steps to get out of my bed every day and exercising first thing in the morning. So I was taking positive steps for myself and my healing every day in that exercise.
Working out and what went into my body, and then making sure I was putting the right things into my mind that were all positive from listening to other people’s stories of great tragedy. Navy SEALs who had gotten blown up were able to bring themselves back to life and back to purpose. Endurance athletes like the Iron Cowboy, and guys like that, who were able to do these incredible things physically, it gave me the right mindset, it gave me the right healthy guidance as to what was going into my body, and then the exercise motivation to help grow that part of it. And those were all those positive steps that I think really kept me out of sadness and depression, and kept me moving forward.
Pastor Joseph 40:21
But something about this, you know, exercise influences neural growth in the brain. h. Did you know that? the scientific statistic, physiologically is that, if you run for 15 minutes a day, walk for an hour a day, you reduce the risk of depression by 26%? Wow, I didn’t make that up. These are all in journals of physiology and psychology. A 26% reduction for around 15 minutes a day. So all of those are critical factors in the process towards healing and navigating your cycle of grief. Critical.
Totally agree. And it starts with one step. I know you do six days a week, Pastor Joseph, and you’ve done that for a long time in your life …
Pastor Joseph 41:14
For a long time, but we’re not asking anybody to do 6 days a week straight up. Just walk for 30 minutes. Yep, for 30 minutes, three days a week and a little quicker pace than just a stroll for three days a week. Put some music or podcast on that can engage you. You don’t even realize the passage of time that you spend to work up a good sweat. You feel much better. Your endorphins kick in. And you’re also then spiritually fed, how cool is that? incredible way to navigate life. I love that.
I know. And if you could put on like the Bible app, which I do every morning, I’ll take a walk in the park, a little bit more of a leisurely stroll, but still a walk in the park with, my spiritual passages and devotionals. I’ll do the same with a growth podcast and do a longer walk with that. What a great way to program your body and mind, so that you can stay out of that depression loop.
Pastor Joseph, what’s the one piece of advice you’d like to leave our growth warriors or widowers with today?
Pastor Joseph 42:25
So if I was to formulate all that we’ve talked about into a single statement, I would say Your Story, it is about the journey more than it is about the destination.
Now think about that. All of the pain and everything. That’s the story that God is telling through your life. It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.
That’s the story that’s impacting people. Your wife’s death wasn’t your destination. It’s part of your journey. And look how it’s making a difference in people’s lives.
And so your story is above the journey. If you can think about it that way, then it’s easier to navigate loss and pain and grief. Only because you realize that God is trusting you to tell a story with your life that impacts more people.
Yeah, and I encourage the widowers, to understand what is the story? What has the loss informed in your story, and where would you like your story to go next as a result?
Your story is not over. That’s another big thing. When I look back at the loss of Judy, this was an enormous loss in my life – my business partner, mother of two children, but it was the start of this new journey and new chapter in my story. That’s a powerful one.
What is it for you personally, that will spark that new chapter in your life? In a story that is far from over?
Pastor Joseph 44:04
I love that. Yeah.
You can reach out to Pastor Joseph via his LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-thompson-080a768/