Happy is overrated. Not that I don’t love being happy, but our entire culture revolves like vapid planets licking up the sun of hedonism.

It’s okay not to be happy from time to time, even much of the time. Trying to “be happy” when God is trying to convict us, when the state of the world should sadden us, when people around us are hurting—this can be a sin as rank as outright rebellion. Jesus, you’ll remember, was “a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief.”

Not that I’m so spiritual. I can’t pinpoint why I’m sad today. I think I’m probably just tired, my body is rebelling, and my soul is trying to tell me that after being “up” all week it’s okay to relax a bit. There is amazing freedom that infuses my frame when I give myself permission to be down, to have a down day. There’s nothing unspiritual about it, nothing to fix, nothing to confess or beat myself up about. I’m just down. This, too, shall pass. I have God’s permission to be human, and then some.

The alternative, of course, is to be sad that I’m sad—which would double my emotional weight. Or, I could worry about being sad, obsess about being sad, lament being sad—none of which changes anything and just complicates what ought to be a simple, sad day. My goal today is clear: Trust God in my sadness, elevate him in my down-ness, to be at home in the state I find myself. And, of course, to look for the door that will lead out of this room quite naturally when it’s time.

Now, I’ll have to watch for other emotions and temptations lurking around my campsite: self pity, trash-talking thoughts, grumpiness, and defensiveness. So far, none of these have found their way into my heart and mind.

You can pray for me. That would be nice. But don’t pray that I won’t be sad anymore. Pray that I’ll be faithful. That God will get glory out of me no matter how I feel. That I’ll look to him, enjoy him, and serve him with all my heart.

That maybe, these thoughts would find their way into yours. With a focus like that, “sadness may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”