Solving Sadness

I’ve grown up believing that being sad is a bad thing. The joy of the Lord, right? It’s your strength. You have it. Rejoice. You’re a Christian, be happy, you’re happy. I think of myself as a happy person, so I never really questioned this as a kid. I never had a reason to.

But you don’t need a reason to be sad. Sometimes you just are. Sometimes you find yourself dealing with a time of melancholy and you don’t know why. Nothing about your life has changed, nothing about you has changed. It’s just that you’re unhappy. You’re not interested in things that usually interest you, and there doesn’t seem to be a solution.

The first time this happened to me, I chalked it up under a category full of words and phrases like “being a teenager,” “mood swings,” and “hormones.” I figured that it was normal and I should just read my Bible, get more sleep, spend time with my family, and deal with it. There are times when this works—you’re overtired, or your relationship with God is strained, or you need someone to cheer you up. There are times it’s not that simple. No one told me that, though. Christians seem to think that sadness can be solved in the turn of a few pages, a prayer, and some fellowship. But that’s not always the case.

Especially not for me. I’m pretty introverted. No, this doesn’t mean I don’t like being around people. It just means that where some “recharge” by spending time with others, I need to be alone. It took me a few years to realize this and to realize that it’s okay to take a break from people and rest. But let’s keep talking about solving sadness.

Wait—who said sadness needs to be solved?

Yes, being a Christian—knowing God and looking forward to knowing Him better—is an enormous source of joy. But if you think this means that you always need to happy, you are wrong. You’re also wrong if you think this means being unhappy is bad. Jesus was sad, for crying out loud. He had so many reasons to weep. And He wept. He saw that the world was heavy and broken and He was sad. If Jesus was allowed to be sad, so are you. The speaker in Ecclesiastes will tell you there’s time for that (in fact, reading the book, I get the sense that he had a lot of time for that, and hey, he still made it into the Bible).

Please don’t believe that your sadness, when it comes—and it will—is wrong. Instead, recognize it as something that will pass and don’t push it away. Let it teach you how to be alone, how to love, how to cry. Maybe it will teach you how to write or play music. Maybe it will only teach you a new side of yourself. Forget about solving it, and learn from it instead.

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