Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday -- Don't Be a Knothead

The blog has been quiet for awhile, hasn't it?  To be perfectly honest, I've just been kind of "dry" lately.  I'm not really sure why.  Maybe because I've been very, very busy lately.  (I thought life was going to slow down when Bethany went to college ... I'm still waiting for that to happen.)  Maybe because I've found myself consumed by all of the sorrow I've been seeing on Facebook lately.  There are just too many children (and adults) with cancer.  

Last night was our While We're Waiting support group meeting, and I needed a devotional to share.  Like I said, I've been dry lately, and I just didn't know what to share with the group.  So yesterday morning, I sat down at the computer, and God finally brought to my mind what I needed to share ... and as always, it's something I myself needed to hear.

We spent the evening talking about "ruminating."

There are basically two kinds of ruminating.  I've got a visual aid to illustrate one of the meanings ... 

Meet Knothead.

Knothead is a resident of the petting zoo at Family Farm, where we hold our While We're Waiting Retreats for Bereaved Parents.  He spends his days lying around and ruminating ... which the dictionary says means "to bring up and chew again what has already been chewed and swallowed."  Pretty disgusting, right?

But there's another kind of ruminating ... something that I find myself doing a lot.

According to Wikipedia, rumination is defined as "the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one's distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions.  Rumination is similar to worry, except rumination focuses on bad feelings and experiences from the past, whereas worry is concerned with potential bad events in the future.

Maybe you’re like me , and you find yourself reliving the last moments of your child’s life over and over.  Or maybe you weren’t with him or her when she died, and you find yourself going through the circumstances that led to the death again and again, trying to somehow create a different outcome.  Maybe you’ve been beating yourself up over the “If only’s”. 

Basically, it’s not that different from what Knothead spends his day doing.  You’re heaving that stuff back up and chewing it again and again.  Gross, but true.

Your relationship with your spouse and surviving children has been affected, your performance at work or at home is not what it should be, and your relationship with God is really suffering.  You can’t sleep, because every time you close your eyes, the rumination begins again. Or for me, it's often when I'm driving alone in the car.

Satan loves it when we ruminate.  It keeps us frozen where we are.  It keeps us from moving forward in our lives and serving God effectively.

So how do we stop ruminating?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just flip a switch and shut it off?  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

It takes time, and it takes supernatural healing from God.  It takes an honest and earnest desire to move forward in our lives.  We must pray and read God’s word, even when we don’t feel like it.  We must ask Him to replace our ruminations on those awful thoughts with the truth of His Word. 

Philippians 4:6-8 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” 

Easier said than done, certainly, but so important.  I believe that God will honor even our most feeble efforts to obey His Word, and give us His peace over time. 

Then we’ll be ready to move forward in His service while we’re waiting to be reunited with our children one day. 

So what's the bottom line?

Don't be a Knothead.  :-)


Finding Joy in Him said...

Love the illustration.. In the beginning, I think ruminating is a necessary part of the digestion process of our loss. As the Lord leads and gives us the grace, we need to step out in faith and leave our unanswerable questions and if onlys in His hands, learn to trust and obey Him in a deeper, truer way than ever before. :)

Jill Sullivan said...

So true, Jennifer. You are absolutely right ... I appreciate you pointing that out. :-)

Kelle said...

GREAT Post and GREAT comment..