A Study On The Story Of Naomi And How To Deal With Loss And Grief
Have you ever lost someone close to you? Have you ever felt like you had nowhere to go, and nothing to be thankful for? Loss and loneliness can be paralyzing-you can feel like you’re drowning in their weight. The feeling of loneliness can be a trigger for other mental health issues as well like depression, anxiety, or even anger.
Naomi deals with many of these as symptoms of her pain brought on by her loss. Naomi’s story is one of sorrow, and bitterness, but also joy and reconciliation. She faced great suffering, but came out on the other side with hope, and so can you!
WHO WAS NAOMI?
Naomi was an Israelite woman, married to a man named Elimelech. When a great famine struck Israel, they had to take their two sons and travel to a foreign country called Moab. (Ruth 1:1-5) When they arrived in Moab, Elimelech died, and their two sons married Moabite women.
After 10 years, Naomi’s two sons die as well, without leaving any children. She is alone in a foreign land, in a time when a woman could not provide for herself.
Naomi is overcome with sorrow and tells her daughters-in-law to leave and return to their father’s houses. One Naomi’s daughters-in-law, Ruth, is determined to stay. She tells Naomi, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
Naomi ruefully allows Ruth to stay, but is still grief-stricken and in despair. Naomi’s name means “pleasant” or “sweet”, but she was so distressed that she changed her name to Mara, which means “bitter”. Even though Ruth chooses to stay with her mother-in-law when they travel back to Bethlehem, Naomi is still bitter and hopeless.
Naomi and Ruth start their life in Bethlehem, trying to provide for themselves. Naomi sends Ruth to go take the grain that is left in the field by the harvesters, and Ruth finds favor in the eyes of the man who owns the field. Ruth continues to be given provisions and protection by Boaz, the owner of the field. Naomi encourages Ruth to pursue Boaz, and they eventually get married!
Boaz and Ruth have a son named Obed, who has a son named Jesse, who has a son named David, who eventually has a descendant named Jesus! Through all of the hardship that Naomi faced, everything eventually worked out. Not only did she find a new family, her grandchildren are in the lineage of King David and Jesus.
HOW DOES NAOMI’S STORY APPLY TO MY MENTAL HEALTH?
Naomi dealt with so much grief and loss that she changed her name to represent that pain. She lost all of her immediate family, and had no way of providing for herself. Her sweet daughter-in-law, Ruth, stayed with her even though Naomi tried to push her away.
When we are going through something extremely painful, it is often our tendency to distance ourselves from the people who care about us. Shutting people out who care about us only hurts us worse, and makes us feel more alone. If you are going through something difficult, reach out to someone! Find someone you can trust, a therapist or a friend, to help you process those difficult emotions and feelings.
Don’t isolate yourself in times of struggle, lean in to the people who love and encourage you. Also, don’t hesitate to offer help or a shoulder to lean on when someone needs you to be a Ruth in their life. Naomi allowed herself to be vulnerable to Ruth even though she was at the lowest point in her life.
If you feel like you can relate to Naomi’s story and her journey through grief, bitterness, and vulnerability, reach out for help. Find someone to help you process these feelings and healthily deal with grief. Schedule a Discovery Call with me today, and get back to living fully.