For some reason, our society (and especially Christian circles) have developed this idea that if we don’t appear to have it all together, we are perceived as weak and one big hot mess. I honestly never understood this mentality. When did we start saying that it’s not okay to be not okay? What exactly is the definition of “being okay” anyway? Our society seems to have set this standard that you must have your ducks in a row to be okay. Have we considered that not being okay is still okay?
This past week has been fraught with a lot of stress for me. It has put me through turmoil mentally, physically, and spiritually. If you look at my blog posts over the years, you’ll see that our family has been through a lot. We’ve endured deployments, pregnancy loss, deaths in the family, marriage struggles, moving to another state, severe postpartum depression, and so much more! It’s been crazy, rough, and interesting, to say the least.
When I was going through my horrific postpartum depression, I would have been lying through my teeth if someone asked me how I was doing and I said, “I’m okay.” The thing is, I wasn’t okay. I wasn’t okay at all. I was trudging through a deep darkness that pierced my very soul every day. I felt like there wasn’t going to be an end to my pain. I feared that I would never be an adequate mother because of the burden that was cemented to my heart. When I tried to be okay, it was worse . . . because I was trying to do it alone.
Here’s the thing, when we pretend to be okay, we miss out on all the blessings and encouragement God might have waiting for us. We steal blessing opportunities from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. When the church first began, the Christians came together and helped each other. They looked for the people that were not okay and gave them encouragement, help, and lifted them up in prayer. As a result, those who were struggling felt encouraged and eventually got better. They came to a point when they truly were okay again and could turn around and be a blessing to another person.
When we stuff our troubles inside, we slowly destroy ourselves. We wrestle alone when we don’t have to. Yes, we might be leaning on God for help and seeking Him, but do we consider that God might want to use someone else in the equation of helping us get better?
We need to step away from this societal stigma and say, “Actually, I’m not okay. I am struggling with this and that. Would you mind praying with me?”
And then you see mountains start moving. They might not go completely away. They might not move right away, but it’s amazing the amount of burden that is lifted when you admit to someone that everything is not okay. Suddenly, you don’t have to be strong anymore . . . and that’s okay.
It IS okay to not be okay!
Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up . . . – I Thessalonians 5:11a