Learning How to Lose, Learning How to Live

In my life I have spent thousands of dollars in insurance in the event of damage or loss of any kind.  Thousands in premiums for insurance I've rarely needed.  All of that to prevent losing everything in an accident or disaster.  I get it.  I really do.  You have to have insurance for those unexpected tragedies so you don't go broke and have to start all over again.  But I gotta tell you that as a adult, I've made 2 claims ever against my car insurance, none against my home owners insurance and very little against health insurance. I think I would have been better off putting all those premiums in a bank somewhere (that no doubt is insured not to lose my money).

We have a lot of options and mandates for insurance in our country.  Your car must have insurance in case you are hit or you hit someone else.  If you have a mortgage, you have to have homeowners insurance in case you burn it down or get hit by a tornado, hurricane, flood or other "act of God".  You have to have medical insurance now in case you don't take ownership of your good health or get hurt or catastrophically ill.  Even social security is meant to keep us from feeling the devastation of a loss of income due to injury or advanced age.  We do our best to expect the unexpected, don't we.  Stack the deck in our favor any way we can.

In this country, we hate to lose.  Call it American exceptionalism, the capitalist mindset, our need for self-esteem, a belief in the evolutionary principle of survival of the fittest or just a competitive spirit - call it what you will.  I call it an antidepressant epidemic.  We don't know how to lose!  We never expect to lose; so when we lose, we lose it.  We can't deal with it.  We've been given trophies for participating without ever having to accept the reality that we're not good at everything, that there may be someone better than we are, and that the game sometimes is won or lost on an unfair call.  We've programmed human error out of everything which made our world safer, yes, but somehow less human.  And a world less human has little tolerance for humanness with its errors and weaknesses and limitations.  

I have wrestled with the idea of losing quite a bit over the last 3 years.  I could give you an exhaustive and exhausting list of all the things I've lost that were once everything to me.  I won't bore you with it again as I'm sure we've talked about this before.  I will only say that grief is an arduous process and it doesn't always have to do with losing a loved one to death.  It's any loss of any thing you thought you'd never have to live without.

How am I dealing with it all?  I'm learning how to lose.  I've accepted that I am not the best at everything.  I don't always get my way.  God doesn't sign off on all my prayers with a wink and a "you got it, princess".   Jobs don't always appreciate your talents; circumstances aren't always fair; and Dad's don't live forever... no one does.  Sometimes it reduces me to a tearful puddle in a bathroom stall somewhere.  It's the reason I can't get through a worship service without tissues.  Sometimes all I can do is sit with the loss and feel its heaviness.  In the Jewish culture, it's to sit Shiva - a traditional mourning ritual.  Among the many elements of sitting Shiva is that all the mourners sit on stools low to the ground - a demonstration that they've been "brought low" by grief, humbled by loss.

I think the best description of the last couple of years is summed up by the words of an old Southern Gospel song...
"when I learned how to lose, I found out how to win."
If I'd never learned how to lose, how to sit Shiva with my grief, how to accept with humility that sometime I lose and life isn't fair - if I'd never accepted that I'd been brought low by grief, I'd never have known how to really live.  I would never have found the freedom in acknowledging Someone else is calling the shots or the joy in loving a God too big to always be understood.  Grief, I think, is trying to control what's already been done, but healing begins with letting go of control you never had in the first place.

What we are left with is a promise or two from the One Who will never leave us or forsake us.  A promise that if we humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, He will lift us up.  A promise that death doesn't have the final say, and what may seem like a loss is swallowed up in Victory for those who believe in Jesus.

There's no insurance against every loss, but there is a Savior Who came to give us the win.  Unwrap the gift of humility that comes from accepting our powerlessness.  He promises, when you do, "He will lift you up" out of your grief.

If  you're in a season of grief, I would love to pray for you.  Leave a comment and let me know how to pray for you.  


  1. Wonderful Lisa! I'm speaking on grief/joy in a couple weeks and church and this is exactly some of the issues I'm wrestling with. Thank you! Love-Angela

  2. Lisa,
    Thank you. Wonderful words. I too, am learning to lose. Learning that this life is not exactly going like I planned. I'm okay with that because it's going exactly how My Savior planned. Much lI've to you my sister in Christ as we go thru this journey of "learning to lose".


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