Of course, being quiet is the most difficult thing to put into action when your world has fallen apart. Maybe this is why we read that Nehemiah took a ride in the dark to see the damage of Jerusalem. Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem and I imagine he was flooded with many different emotions. He had arrived safely and with no problem because of the letter from the king (Nehemiah 2:9). He had also had his first hint that not everyone was particularly thrilled that the people of Jerusalem were being cared for. In light of his journey, a time of quiet was compelling. Maybe he needed to be quiet because he could not separate himself from the damage. Maybe he realized he didn’t need (at least in the beginning) people talking to him all at once. In Nehemiah 2 he was with a few men and knew what he was supposed to do. The first few hours, days and weeks into your crisis are so significant. It is imperative that you
have the quiet times,the time to take in the damage,the time to cry when no one else sees our tears, the time to begin to have some hope and see the possibility of a life restored. It is not time that will heal your wounds. However, you need time.
You need to have time alone. You need to allow yourself to feel the weight of all that you have lost and experienced. So many times we like having busy schedules, noise, entertainment, chattering people, and any kind of distraction that will guarantee we are never left alone with our thoughts. If you are already giving into that tempting offer then you are robbing yourself of perspective and seeds of hope that can be planted during the times of loneliness and grief. Communion with El Roi, the God Who Sees (Gen.16:13), will give you strength to rebuild. Make time for the quiet reflection and the quiet realization that all is different but not all is lost. Emerge out of those quiet times with a deeper gratitude to the One who will direct your steps.
You do not have to tell everyone everything. You do not owe everyone an explanation. You do not have to give all the details of how your crisis has changed your life. Simply choose to be aware of what all has been devastated and while knowing, be quiet. After all, neither you nor I want to leave a legacy that begins with “Then it happened” and ends with “She or he never got over it.”
My prayer is to encourage you to do something with the crisis that God has allowed to enter your life. Take it all in. Stop hiding behind covered eyes. Look at the damage and call it by name. Maybe it is death, cancer, miscarriage, a stillborn child, chronic illness, addiction, divorce, or financial ruin; whatever it is, don’t run from it. Face it.
Nehemiah took a ride in the dark and realized that the descriptions “distress” and “reproach” was the only name fit for the damage he saw (Neh. 1:3, 2:17). That may have been what he called the city’s condition but it was not the people’s identity. Whatever name fits your crisis, it is a name only. The crisis does not define you! The ability to name something by calling the crisis what it truly is gives you the sense of knowing where you are. Nehemiah knew he was at the place of Distress and Reproach. He also knew he wanted to arrive at Restored and Renewed. Maybe your place is “grief and loneliness” or “sad and confused” or “shock and fear” or “tried and failed” or “hopeless and weary.” Whatever your crisis is, there’s a name that describes it perfectly.
Be encouraged and rest in Him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZYPfYe77PA
(this is an excerpt from Joy’s book, Identity Crisis: Moving From Crisis to Credibility. you can pre-order your copy today at Amazon.com)