Our football season ended the other night. As a coach’s wife, this experience always leaves me dead center in the middle of competing emotions. I am so thrilled at the idea of having my husband back and yet, there’s such sadness. Big boys in big pads crying big tears because the game they love is done. For some, it’s done for the season and for others, done forever. And that’s a heavy thing to process.
The following morning I noticed an odd sense of guilt at the sadness I was “still” carrying. I mean, this is football people. While certainly a ministry, we’re not pastors. We’re not missionaries. We’re not running some non-profit for the disadvantaged. We’re in coaching. It can be a really secular world sometimes and yet, I was really bummed. I was sad for the boys. I was sad for my husband. I was just, sad.
On this same morning, my church put on a women’s retreat. As I drove there, slightly tearful, I noticed how excited I was to be headed somewhere I could really focus and talk to Jesus about it. And this sweet little thought entered my mind…
“God is so gracious to let us bring anything to Him.”
In my years as a therapist, one of the more damaging patterns I saw in people was an effort to “poo-poo their pain.” It’s when we say, “I’m really hurting but I shouldn’t be because other people have it so much worse than me” or “I’m hurting but this thing shouldn’t be a big deal.” Rather than acknowledging the hurt and dealing with it, we deny its validity and, in effect, invalidate ourselves and our emotions. We so often judge ourselves for being sad about “trivial” things. We decide they are too small or too meaningless. And then we shove those “small sadnesses” into the “meaningless sadness” box in our heads and expect them to go away.
Spoiler alert…they don’t always go away in there. Sometimes they just pile up.
Listen folks, the God we serve is a God of details. He knows the number of hairs on our head and the number of stars in the sky. As we enter into this Thanksgiving season and focus on being grateful for the little things, maybe we should also give ourselves permission to feel sad about the “little things” too. After all, He cares about all of it. You are never bothering Him.
There is no joy too small or sadness too insignificant for God. So, rather than guilting ourselves over it, let’s join with Him instead. He is the one with the big perspective. He is the one who loves us, designed us, and knows us better than we know ourselves. He is the one who can (and wants!) to take our “insignificant” pain and heal it or teach us and use it for our good and His glory.
My dear reader, lean into the details this Thanksgiving. Find joy and gratitude in your many many blessings. But please, if your football team loses, or your pie burns or your hair does that “woohoo” thing and you can’t get it under control before the big family gathering? Feel free to be sad about it. I don’t care how small it seems, take it to Him. Always, always, take it to Him, because He loves you.
Every tiny-little-itty-bitty-part of you and your experience.
And that is something to be thankful for.