Leadership is a long journey. Along the way we experience many losses. Effective and vibrant leaders learn to grieve well.
There are losses of friends moving on…losses through death…losses of money…losses of time…losses resulting from my sin or foolishness…losses that MIGHT happen… losses of job, house, and elements of support and security…”good” losses – children growing up, moving out, getting married… ALL of these and many more are in the rear view mirror of leaders move along.
Grief is the spiritual discipline of saying good-bye and then anticipating new life as we move ahead. Things may never be the same but there will be life and some of life will be good.
Grief moves me from a clenched fist angry or holding on to what has been lost to a place of peace and being with an open hand before God.
HOW DO LEADERS GRIEVE AND TRAIN OTHERS IN THE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE OF MOURNING AND GRIEVING?
Start with these passages and see what God teaches you.
John 11:35 (ESV)
35 Jesus wept.
Luke 19:41-48 (ESV)
41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,
42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side
44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold,
46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”
47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him,
48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.
Luke 22:39-46 (ESV)
39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.
40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,
42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.
What losses do you need to grieve?
There will be loss and no need to grieve in the Kingdom of Christ but for now — healthy leaders see loss as a part of living on this side of the fall; yet with the hope of an empty tomb.