A feeling of being sad is something that everyone experiences. Sadness needs to be validated as being real and OK. Life hurts at times, and if we don’t embrace the pain, then we can miss a grace offered.
Permission to be sad
‘I give you permission to feel sad.’
It was a strange thing to say to them, but they needed to hear that it was ok for them to be sad, to weep and grieve.
Some people need to hear from someone else that it’s ok to feel sad. They need permission to feel a certain feeling.
There might also be feelings of anger, vengeance, despair, malice, rage. Some times you need to hear that it’s ok to feel these feelings and other feelings too.
It’s normal and healthy to feel these things.
The Bible says that there is a season or a time for everything including weeping and mourning.
For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven … a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4
One who knows your hurt
When you’re feeling sad, you don’t need ‘friends’ saying ‘I know how you feel.’
How can anyone know how you feel.
Can they climb in your skin? Have they traveled your life journey and experienced everything the same way you have?
Of course not, but you do need someone who can gently explore your soul with you.
Someone who permits you to be you in all your uniqueness. That’s called love.
A turning of our gaze
One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from French Philosopher Simone Weil.
Sin is not being far from God, it’s turning our gaze in the wrong direction. Simone Weil Waiting for God
Sadness can contain that sense of abandonment, loss, distance, and aloneness.
We in our fragile human ways shift our gaze in the wrong direction. The direction towards self-reliance.
We sing ‘put on a happy face.’ We count our blessings, speak positive affirmations, be everything we are supposedly meant to be.
While we are doing this an empty part of the heart cries out for relief.
A shift in gaze
What would it be like to shift your gaze back towards God and see God gazing at you?
When you consider God looking at you, what emotions welled up? What thoughts raced through your mind?
If it’s anything other than a feeling of being under compassionate love, then it is little wonder you have not kept eye contact.
Two more Simone Weil quotes
We cannot take a step toward the heavens. God crosses the universe and comes to us. Simone Weil Waiting for God
God created through love and for love. God did not create anything except love itself, and the means to love. He created love in all its forms. Simone Weil Waiting for God
The God of grief
Jesus came and set up tent among us. John 1:1
When we look into the eyes of Jesus, we see someone who was thoroughly acquainted with all of our pain.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum. Isaiah 53: 2, 3
In our sadness, we can look into the eyes of a wounded healer who knows a profound depth of sadness.
He would say ‘It’s ok to be sad; let’s go through this together.’
Your scars Your story
I’m interested in your scars, not your artistically self-created tattoos. I’m interested in the scars on your soul. Those wounds that have altered the course of history for you.
They tell your story, and it’s out of that story there comes an empathy to listen deeply to the wounds of others.
That place of sadness can become like a stepping stone for others to find hope.
Quotes to consider
- Either you transform pain within yourself or it is always an outflowing wound. Richard Rohr
- I have this thing about being a preacher who reveals things about herself, and it’s that I always try to preach from my scars and not my wounds. So, talking about depression is not in any way a wound for me. Nadia Bolz-Weber
- God never says to us, ‘I want you to be something else’ without also saying, ‘I love you as you are.’ Simon Tugwell
- Much male anger is actually male sadness. Richard Rohr
- In His presence, there is never cause for despair. There may be pain or hurt or sadness, but never despair. Larry Crabb
Questions for you to journal about
- What are the various ways you and others use to cope with sadness?
- God gazes towards you. What feelings immediately well up from within you? Why?
- How does ones own grief become like stepping stones for others without you saying ‘I know how that feels’ or by offering advice?
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash