I know we want to project to others we have it all together. However, today you may not be OK and you know what.. that's OK.
You may be reading this and not be OK. Let me free you from the guilt of this feeling. It's OK, that you are not OK today. It even may have been awhile since you have felt OK and for that, I am sorry. I understand. I enter into seasons where I do not feel anything is lining up, nothing is going as planned, and within my heart I know, I am not OK. You may be trying to make sense of why you are not OK and that is a healthy pursuit, but at times this can lead us to more confusion of why we do not feel OK. Some of us are in denial that we are not OK and we try to avoid reality with distractions of busyness in order that we do not have to acknowledge that something is off. We are tired, distracted, and directionless. We feel so out of balance that each day we feel like we are falling further behind. Everything is not OK.
“We cannot begin our journey to OK, if we are unwilling to admit that we aren't OK.”
I think we often avoid acknowledging that we are not OK because there is a societal guilt that comes along with that admission. We have advanced to adulthood and should have everything figured out by now. Right? However, we don't have it all figured out and we feel less than those around us that seem to have discovered the key to being OK. We get caught up in the highlights of other people's lives via social media and wrongly convince ourselves that everyone else's life is perfect, so why aren't ours? The picture above is of my wonderful family. We look like a hallmark movie special in this picture where everyday is more joyful than the last. However, this picture reminds me that everything at that time was not OK. My wife and I have always wanted to adopt children and in the span of 4 years we adopted 3 children from China. All 3 came from very difficult, trauma-riddled situations. Our sons integrated into our family almost seamlessly. However, our daughter struggled to connect and brought all her hurt full force to our family that threw us into one of the darkest seasons we have ever known. We were not OK; however, every year we take family pictures and have to all smile as if everything was OK. Behind this picture was a family trying to help one of its members cope with trauma, prevent her from harming herself, prevent her from harming others, and trying the best we could to make it one more day. By the grace of God, after 2 years, we were able to find a therapeutic group home for our daughter where should could get the care and treatment she needed, as well as, allow our family to heal. It has been a year since our daughter entered into the group home. We see and speak with her often. She is thriving, loves her roommates, and has a good connection with the staff. Our family as well has been able to breathe a little, heal, and redeem our relationship with her. It has taken a year, but we are finally able to see above the storm we were in and acknowledge we were not OK. It's hard to talk about not being OK with others when you are in the midst of a difficult season. We are fearful of judgment and just trying to portray that you are OK when you are not is exhausting. We have come to terms of how difficult that season was, that we were not OK and we are fully immersed now into reaching new heights of being OK. Some of us are dealing with the past that keeps rooting its head, spilling its lies, and trying to cast labels on us that we were never meant to adorn. Some of us are paralyzed because we have no vision or direction for the future, fearful not knowing what is to come.
It's OK not to be OK, but we don't have to stay not OK.
Give yourself permission right now to admit today that you are not OK. Maybe you are OK and if so, then be thankful for the season God has you in. For those who are not OK, find relief in admitting it. Maybe you need to tell someone, maybe you need to journal about it, or maybe you need to just convince yourself. Put down the mask, stop the indulging in the distractions, and find freedom in understanding that you, at this particular moment in your life, you are not OK.
First thing you need to recognize is that no one has it all together. Not even that supermom, successful neighbor, or the social media icon you idolize. Their lives can be a hot mess as well. If you ever meet anyone that claims they have life completely figured out, know that they only thing they are an expert in is delusion. So top comparing your life to others and thinking you are the only one on the planet that is not OK. Second, its fine to look at your reality and discover the source of why you are not OK, but couple that with looking at truth. My truth comes from God's Word. It tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 ). It tells me I am a son of the most high King, adopted into all the riches of his family (Ephesians 1:5). It tells me my value comes from my Creator, not what I create (Ephesians 2:10). It tells me that I do not have to perform, because Christ has performed for me on my behalf. (Romans 8:34). It tells me my future is secure, days ahead of me are known, goodness will find me, and that I am not alone (Proverbs 16:9, Romans 8:28, Isaiah 30:21). Finally, it tells me I am loved, beyond any measure that I could possibly fathom (1 John 3:1).
Finally, take a step back and rest. So often when we have these realizations that we are not OK, we want to quickly jump into a plan that will stop us from filling this way. That's a noble and natural desire, but before you take that first step in becoming OK, take a step back. Recognize where you are, realize that you may be here for a little longer, and come to terms that God is not surprised that you are not OK. In addition, take a step back and know that God hates that you are not OK, but He so desperately wants you to find healing. Trials are not God's way of punishing us, but drawing us closer to HIm. Take a step back into His presence, before taking a step forward into healing.
It has been a year since our daughter has left to live 2 hours away from us in a group home. At first, I felt so guilty for finding her help and just knew if I was a better parent, none of this would have happened. That's a lie, but lies are easier to believe when we are not OK. A few months after dropping off our daughter at her care facility, we heard from the group home in China where she lived her last year in country before we adopted her. It was the only year she had not experienced abuse and trauma. It was a safe haven ran by a Godly woman from the states serving as a missionary. We discovered that this place of love for the orphans in China had been shut down by the Chinese government and all the children were sent back to an orphanage that was fairly notorious of being a place of untold abuse and neglect. When I heard this had happened, God gave me some insight. This past season was hard and we were not OK, but there was a purpose to it all. Even though we are not parenting our daughter as we had hoped, she is safe, loved, and getting help. She was going to be OK and not in an orphanage in China where she would age out of the next year, thrown to the streets, and forced to make it on her own. This realization was the first step for my wife and I realizing, we weren't OK, but we will be soon. I hope you can move forward today and take the first step in becoming OK. Friends, even when you reach that season, there is a good chance you will head back into the territory of not being OK. However, know that you have traveled through that season before, you know the truth that will lead you out, and in the end, with Christ, we are all going to be OK.