Are you feeling OK? Our typical response it a quick, “I’m fine.” Even when it’s not true.
It really is OK to not be OK. Even when others don’t know how to handle this truth.
You don’t have to make yourself OK to be OK, in fact, attempting to do so might keep you from feeling OK again.
If you feel the burden to be fine because you think you should, but part of you knows you’re not, you’re not alone. The pressure to be who you aren’t, or where you aren’t, comes at us from all angles. Sometimes it’s direct or implied. Sometimes it’s from the words we hear on repeat in our minds..
Facing Our Not OK-ness
What is it about not being OK that has us sitting on edge?
Perhaps we’re afraid the true state of our souls will be known, but just as fearful of never being soul-level known.
All too often, we don’t even know ourselves. Who we are. And who our God really is.
Because we don’t, we miss the kind of rest that comes from being known by others and with the God who already knows.
When someone shares their honest thoughts and feelings our inner defender for rightness tries to fix what we see as wrong until all is positive and pretty again. We’re not comfortable letting messiness surface with the anxiety it brings.
Until we face our inadequacies and feel the discomfort we seek to avoid, we won’t know what it’s like to experience His power at work in adequate ways.
Our souls know what our words and actions don’t. The ache within us speaks. Will we listen?
What Our Souls Need
When things aren’t OK, we need to know we can be OK. We also need to know we’re OK with God when nothing feels OK within us. He doesn’t leave us when our messes overwhelm us.
We’re designed to know that we’re OK when we are known and loved. This desire draws us nearer to the One who gives what we need without restraint.
This state of living fully alive because of Christ will never be complete until we’re in our forever home with Him, but we can know it regularly right here and right now. On a daily, even moment to moment basis. It’s not easy to do when everything feels like it’s caving in on you, but choosing to receive His love in those dark moments may be a life saving small step for the sake of your soul.
“And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'” Mark 2: 17
Our attempts to make ourselves OK prevent us from receiving the OK-ness God brings. In the midst of our not OKness, can we honestly utter our need? It might make a world of difference as pretend-OK falls away.
Let God speak to your anxieties, your doubts, your fears, your anger. They are there for a reason. Maybe it’s injustice. Maybe it’s pride. Whatever it is, recognizing where we’re not OK brings honor to the state of our souls before our Creator and King.
He doesn’t force us to receive healing where we refuse to recognize we need it. But when emotions rise high, it’s a good indicator we need Him more than we realize. They are a wake up call.
Our Emotions Reveal Soul Needs
Emotions are designed to lead us to action. If we shove them aside by telling ourselves we’re OK when really we aren’t, we’ll miss seeing the power of God at work in our hearts and minds. The action emotions are designed for become self-destructive rather than soul-transformative when we don’t allow God to show us what they reveal.
Please stop faking it ’till you make it. Dear one, you don’t have to. That kind of “making it” is shaky ground. It holds no structure for the weight of reality or the beauty of facing hard things with the God of it all.
When I share that I’m sad, I don’t need to be fixed and made happy just so another person can not feel the anxiety of my pain. I want to experience the comfort of another who sits there with me while the Spirit works.
When our emotions are felt they are faced. When they’re ignored, they go underground. We’ll still feel the effects, but in other less healthy ways.
When Soul Emotions Surface in Relationships
Unfortunately, I’m not so good at listening to others either. My flesh wants to be right and my heart fights the discomfort I feel. God’s conviction tugs at me to remember, they need space to be. Just like me.
When I express hurt or anger, I am processing the reality of something that happened. Right or wrong, real or perceived, the hurt and anger still needs to be dealt with and not ignored. It’s all too easy for me or anyone else to respond to this kind of revealing with our self-focused attempts at covering it up.
When someone is going through a hard time, and you feel inclined to tell them how they should feel or how they should fix what’s not OK, pause.
What’s going on internally? With you. With them.
Sit without words. Allow the uncomfortableness of not saving them allow them, and yourself, to experience the Savior’s power at work.
In the discomfort is an opportunity to feel with others. To feel our own pain too.
To heal side by side.
Jesus stays with us in the pain we experience and he asks us to sit with others in their pain too. It’s healing to know you’re not alone and you won’t be not OK forever.
Knowing We Are Not OK Makes Space for Comfort
Sitting with discomfort opens the way to knowing the Comforter who sits with you. He has much to offer.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Grace, love, mercy, forgiveness, guidance, forgiveness, whatever our hearts need. I can see His arms open wide, “Dear child, won’t you come inside my arms? I have so much for you.”
He is the one who hold our not-OKness together, every piece. He knows how to shape remnants and making something new and beautiful.
If we could do it on our own we’d never need Him. Instead, we wrestle and realize our need. It’s a place where surrender is chosen and peace received.
Our not being OK may be the way we know we’ll be OK after all.