When a person suffers a loss, they enter the realm of “used to be.” They used to be married. They used to be employed. They used to be pregnant. They used to be sons, daughters, mothers, or fathers. There can be deep loneliness, sadness, and grief in that “used to be” space. This can be a space where it is necessary to dwell for a while, but it is not a space we are meant to remain.
My guests today are Chuck and Ashley Elliott. Chuck is a pastor, and Ashley is a licensed counselor, and together they have written a book, I Used to Be ___: How to Navigate Large and Small Losses in Life and Find Your Path Forward, which they wrote after experiencing recurring miscarriages and broken trust. They also offer consulting services for businesses and Christian life coaching together.
In this conversation, you’ll hear:
- The losses we can grieve other than a death
- How grief can lie about our faith
- What it looks like to move out of a negative head space
- And much more!
Loss is a part of life that we can’t avoid this side of Heaven, and I greatly appreciated this opportunity to talk with Chuck and Ashley.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- [BOOK] I Used to Be ___
- [BOOK] Empty Nest, Full Life
- Connect with Chuck and Ashley on their Instagram, Facebook, or website
- As a thank you for listening, get your 3 free eBooks.
My Key Takeaways:
1) We experience grief over more than death. Grief is experienced whenever we feel the loss of things we will never attain. That could be a promotion we worked hard for but didn’t get, the ending of a relationship, not getting a job, not being accepted into the college we wanted, and the list could go on. The loss of all these things causes us to face an identity that we desperately wanted but now won’t have. It’s crucial to grieve these losses to heal and be ready for what God has next for our life.
2) Own your mental space. It’s important to make space for grief, but we also need to recognize when we slip into perpetual negative thinking. Chuck and Ashley refer to this as the “switch theory.” This is when our thinking switches from a positive space to a negative space. When we start recognizing this switch, we can take steps to move ourselves back into a positive space. This doesn’t mean we never feel sad or avoid grief altogether; however, becoming conscious of this switch helps us prevent a perpetual negative mindset and getting stuck or overwhelmed.
3) Increasing your emotional skills is a lifelong endeavor. Learning how to handle your emotions and care for yourself is not a one-time thing. We live in an imperfect world, which means we will encounter disappointments, injustices, and downright annoyances daily. Learning how to increase our emotional skills and how to take care of ourselves is something we will have to work on our whole lives. Why not start today? What is one thing you can do to better care for yourself when you are in a negative space? Pick just one small thing (it can be as simple as drinking more water!) and put it into practice today.
About Chuck and Ashley Elliott:
Chuck and Ashley have been working with couples for 14 years. They have developed and taught many marriage programs and psychology courses. Chuck is the pastor at Bethel Church in Indiana, while Ashley is a licensed counselor with Auxilium Psychological Services. In addition to their latest book, I Used to Be ___, they have written several devotionals spanning prayer, loss, and spiritual intimacy. Chuck and Ashley have three boys and enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and throwing family dance parties whenever possible!
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