When you experience loss, anger often ensues, and it is not unusual for a widower to look upwards, to cast blame on God for their situation, sadness and grief.
In this interview with Pastor Joseph Thompson, a distinguished author, podcaster and minister, we discuss where this anger comes from, how to potentially transcend these feelings to capture or recapture your Faith, and how to leverage the loss to create a better story of You.
Pastor Joseph leverages over 30 years as a faith leader and fitness guru, and his own personal losses, sharing his own questions for God and how these challenges helped to strengthen his faith and refine his missionary purpose.
Pastor Joseph 2:50
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.
Pastor Joseph 9:59
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.
Pastor Joseph 17:57
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.
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 28:44
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.
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.
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.
You can reach out to Pastor Joseph via his LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-thompson-080a768/
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