Someone who has never experienced great sorrow cannot relate to those of us who have. And just because other people may not understand does not make us less of a person or some sort of freak. I frequently feel like some sort of freak when I am overwhelmed by sadness. But the Holy Spirit, thankfully, meets me there and reminds me that I am his special creation. That He made me as I am for a specific purpose. And even though the world has wounded me, His love is unending and unchanging.
If you have never experienced deep sadness, you may think that we are being over dramatic, that we are weak or attention seeking. Speaking from my own experience, I do not chose to be sad. There is usually a trigger of some sort to bring on my sadness. And my reaction can be at varying degrees. Sometimes, I can quickly pull through by listening to an uplifting song or spending time with my family or a friend. Other times, the sadness can be overwhelming, outside of my ability to influence and it can linger for days. And, we are not weak. Many of us who struggle with this kind of sadness have been to hell and back. The fact that we can perform normally in society is a testament to the internal battles we are winning. For me, the Holy Spirit is a great source of strength to continue battling.
You may wonder what I could possibly be battling. The wounds of my past, unfortunately, provide a platform for the devil to attack me. He loves to whisper the old lies of my past. Everyone has these voices. Maybe it was kids at school, or a cousin, or even a parent. Things like, “your stupid,” “your ugly,” “you’ll never amount to anything.” Some people even have voices from past church experiences where they live with constant guilt and feel like they can never live up to what they are supposed to be. (This lie really gets me fired up. Jesus loves us right where we are and gives us grace. It is a gift, not earned.) My personal lies are demoralizing telling me I have no value even unworthy of love. The lies can attack my very existence. The devil uses these lies to keep us from being who we are meant to be. Lies to keep us from healing, growing, and meeting our dreams. Lies that can even keep us from getting out of bed. Or lies to keep us isolated from the people we love. And the sadder we become, the more the lies sound like truth.
But why do I call it a deep sadness? Because it is a sadness that goes to your very soul. In 1 Samuel, there are verses showing how Saul’s son, Jonathan, loved David so much that his soul was connected to David (18:1 and 20:17). Think about that for a moment. An emotion or experience that goes to the depths of your soul. It may be hard to imagine especially in a world that is so focused on the surface. This kind of connection is sometimes seen in elderly couples. They have spent so much of life together and shared such a love that when one spouse dies the other spouse dies shortly after. This phenomenon is common enough that it even has a name, broken heart syndrome.
Yes, there are situations that can positively or negatively impact our souls. That is the kind of wound I am referring to. We can have experiences that damage are very being: betrayal, rejection and abuse by those who are supposed to love us. Imagine if your parents sold you into slavery. Imagine if they did it just to get drugs or alcohol. While our body is magnificently able to heal broken skin or even bones, only God can heal soul wounds. And God’s timing for healing is almost always different than what we would want. Yet, He knows what is best for us, and we gain more from the slower process, and sometimes, so do the people around us. Even though Jesus has done so much already to heal me and give me strength, there are still so many triggers in my life that I imagine I will struggle with this until I go home to Him. Maybe, God leaves some old scars in me so that I can have empathy and provide encouragement to others.
If you are like me and struggle with sadness, I encourage you to find someone you can trust to reach out to when you are sad. I also encourage you to reach out to Jesus. Ask Him to help you. If you mean it, He will respond to you. If you feel unloved, alone and do not know Jesus, please try finding a church where you can begin learning God’s love story for you that is within His bible. If you do know Jesus, go to His word when you are sad. The Psalms are filled with people crying out to God who find their way to peace through Him. And look for the verses that remind you of how much He loves us. There is so much in Ephesians, John, 1 John, Romans – really, through-out the Bible.
If you still don’t understand people’s sadness, that is ok. But please don’t trivialize their sadness or mock them. Instead, extend to them your love and patience.
Thanks for reading.