I’ve been writing letters to my future husband since 8th grade. That’s really sweet if you think about it, or really sad if I never get married, but I guess we’ll see. Ha.
The other day I found a letter I wrote my junior year of high school telling him that I had woken up one day and decided to be a marriage therapist. I guess I wasn’t that crazy, ’cause here I am. That does mean, though, that for five years I worked, and prayed, and did what it took to get into a MFT program. There were times when I genuinely did not think it would happen, so when it did I had one of those “I’ll never ask God for anything again because I’m so thankful and this is everything I’ve ever wanted” moments.
This first month of school has been amazing. It really is everything I thought it would be, and more. I have no reason to ever complain again, or that’s what I’ve been telling myself.
My best friend, Matt, came to visit me recently and as I was telling him something I had been sad about, I also told him I felt really guilty for it.
“I just prayed so much that God would bring me here, to grad school, and it happened. And now I’m here and I’m upset about this thing that seems so small in comparison. I’m mad at myself for letting it bother me. It makes me feel like I’m ungrateful,” I told him.
As a Christian, I’ve heard a lot about how important it is to be grateful. We should be thankful for what God has done and is doing for us, and our momentary troubles really don’t compare to the bigger picture of spending eternity with Him. And that’s true.
But what does it look like to be truly grateful? Lately, I’ve told myself that being grateful means never being sad. And never having bad days, or complaining about them. Because grateful people are happy. And if I’m not acting happy, then I’m not grateful. And how dare I not be grateful when God has given me what I’ve asked for.
It was a painful cycle of lies that were only making me feel worse. I had let myself believe that showing or feeling my pain would mean I’m ungrateful, which would disappoint God. I was too busy trying to suppress my feelings when I could have been sharing them and handing them to Him.
Because not only is God a Provider, He’s a Comforter and a Healer, too. It obviously glorifies God when we praise Him and thank Him. But I also think it glorifies Him when we share our pain with Him- because we’re admitting we need the One who’s stronger than us. If something hurts, it’s because it matters. And what matters to you, matters to God. And the truth is, I’m never going to stop needing Him no matter how many prayers He answers or how many things go my way.