Grieve. Adjust. Renew

grief mental health wellness Oct 26, 2023

Colossians 3:1-4 NIV: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.


Whenever someone dies what usually follows….Grief. Grief is having deep sorrow for something that was lost. Grief when we lose someone or something we had a bond, affection, or connection to. When it comes to death of a person, one wouldn’t question the existence of grief. We also grieve many other kinds of death. Death of a relationship, friendship, dreams, goals, ideas, who we were and there is a spiritual death that happens as spoken about in Colossians, dying to our old self into the new. There is a transformation period in-between that leads to something new, that can be beautiful.

Grief is something every human being will experience sometime in their life. People experience it to different degrees, and it affects everyone on different levels. I have seen some grief at its’ worst, where it is as if the person who is still “living” died along with the deceased. Loss will bring about change, whether good or bad. Grief is part of the human experience and to live well we must grieve well.


Within my years of practicing therapy, I noticed that grief plays a role in many different areas of our lives. As I mentioned earlier, we can grieve many different types of losses. People can grieve not being the person they thought they should be. Someone with parents who are alive and well can still grieve, not having the mother or father they wish they had or the family they wish they had. People grieve the innocence they lost as a child if they suffered any type of abuse. A woman who always wanted children but didn’t or couldn’t, will grieve the fact that she never had a child. Grief is constantly gnawing at us in different ways. If we are unable to process this pain and in some cases trauma, this can keep us stuck, cause emotional and mental distress, and keep us behind.



In any type of grief, there are stages that follow. The end goal is to accept what was lost and let go. When we learn to grieve the old life before we came to know Christ, that is when the newness God has for us will take root. If we have a hard time letting go of our old life before Christ, we may most likely return to what was. These stages are not hard rules and do not necessarily go in order. Many times, it will flow like a tangled web. However, there are typically 5 stages of grief which are:

  1. Shock and denial

  2. Anger: pain and guilt

  3. Bargaining

  4. Depression or sadness

  5. Acceptance and hope


These five stages you may have experienced or experiencing in some way now. It can be hard to initially accept what has happened, which can bring about anger or regret and guilt. Angry that what was loss is loss. Angry at ourselves because we felt we could have done more or something different to stop it, which leads to bargaining. The stage with many questions of what if I had done this or that. Maybe I could have done this and changed what happened? This is the stage I find to have the most unrest.

Unrest until one finds a way to change that narrative, be okay with not knowing, or that there was nothing else they could do. This then leads to sadness because perhaps you are getting closer to accepting what happened and all one can feel is grey. Think through your losses. Did you experience any of these questions going through your mind? Were you harmed emotionally? Did you allow yourself to express those feelings, process them, or are they suppressed? Leading to resistance and the inability to accept and let go.


Earlier I stated that newness is born when we grieve well. This is born through re-adjustments. While going through grief there are three adjustments that usually must occur. An external adjustment, an internal adjustment, and a spiritual adjustment.

The external adjustment are changes with tasks and roles. Let’s say someone has a husband or wife who dies. The survivor may have to take on new roles or tasks that were once handled by the loved one that past, such as cooking or childcare. Sometimes when the old part of us dies our friendships die with them. It can be difficult to keep the same friends that do not adjust with us. Are you willing to adjust to a world without the old?


Internal adjustment are changes to one’s identity. Many times, if the person who died was very close to you, you may start to question who I am now. This can many times also be the question and struggle after a divorce or even the loss of a career that was once one’s identity. Who am I now without this person or career?

When we die to our old self, we may ask who I am now in Christ. I have never met a believer who did not ask themselves this question. God has the answer of who you are and if you ask him and read his word you will find out. When you get that answer, ask yourself, are you willing to live in it? walk in it? and make this adjustment now into your new identity?


Spiritual adjustment. These are changes to one’s beliefs, values, and assumptions about the world. Sometimes when lost is caused by cancer or another horrendous disease, people may start to believe that the world is not fair. Sometimes people get angry at God and ask God how he can allow such a thing. Then their spiritual life gets changed. The survivor may choose to reaffirm, modify or replace the previous worldview with a new one.

Spiritually there should be a renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Our mind is where we hold our beliefs and values that dictate the way we live. This adjustment will change, to hold to the new beliefs, values and assumptions aligned with our new identity.


Endings are a part of life. But with each ending something new should and can emerge. Spiritually new life in Christ will bring something beautiful and glorious. That new relationship may be the one that is your true person, where you will feel love again and perhaps a better love. Getting fired can be hard, but the newness in discovering your purpose and living it can bring you peace and a freedom you never had. Endings can be tragic but there is often beauty on the other side. But only If we allow ourselves to Grieve, Adjust and let ourselves be Renewed.


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