I am not okay.
I know, that’s not something people usually say to everyone. When an acquaintance asks the very mundane question, “How are you?” What do we usually say? “Fine!” Or “Good.” Yes, sometimes those words are true and correct. But wouldn’t you agree that sometimes we just say them so people will move on, having done their duty to ask how you are doing? And it goes the other way. I know I have been guilty in the past of asking someone how they are doing because I feel like I have to, and I expect a simple answer in return. But you know what? Sometimes people are not okay. And THAT is okay.
So, I am not okay. Why? I’m glad you asked.
The Lord has given me a cup of suffering over the past year or so that has been difficult to bear, beginning with a cancer diagnosis and the death of my mother. She was my best friend, my favorite partner in crime. This tragedy brought me closer to the Lord as he held me in his arms, but it also opened the doors to many new trials that I had never faced before.
The death of my mother put into motion the most difficult year I have faced yet in my mere twenty years on earth.
Since her passing, I have struggled with overwhelming anxiety about pretty much everything, from where I would eat that day, to the possibility of my family and friends dying tragically. Coupled with that, I have struggled on and off with some aspects of depression, manifesting itself in interesting and difficult ways. I have experienced intense social anxiety when faced with large crowds, something I have never struggled with before. I have had fears, doubts, struggles and guilt in friendships to such a degree, that I worry about pushing people away. I have not maintained the good grades that I am used to getting. I have been in the great and terrible jaws of grief for many months, and it is hard. I will never pretend it isn’t.
But here is my point. Externally, I usually look fine. I am able to articulate the struggles that the Lord has allowed for me, and people marvel at the strength I exhibit.
I AM NOT THE STRONG ONE.
I cannot tell you how many times I have cried over the silliest little things, or taken an hour to pull myself out of bed, or wrestled with a friendship because someone took longer to answer a text than usual.
The Lord is in me, and He is the only reason why I do not fall more horribly than I do. He is the only reason I can get out of bed in the morning. He is the only reason I am still alive. He is the only reason I can have a semblance of peace when I think about the death of my mom.
And so, I am not okay. Sometimes I am, yet rarely. But that is okay. Do you want to know why?
Because my God is better. My God is bigger. My God is perfect. And any strength that I exhibit is from him and him alone.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor 12:9
Think about that for a moment. God is already perfect, we know that. But his power is perfected in us and in our weaknesses? How can that be? What a great God we do serve, a God who understands and loves us no matter what, and a God who is okay when we are not.
You know what else? He knows what we are feeling, because he has felt what we have felt. He has been tempted with the same things we have been tempted with, and he did not stumble.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:15
And so, I DO NOT have it all together, EVER. I don’t know if I ever have, but especially not right now. Anything good in me is from my Heavenly Father. Anything strong in me is from him. Anything loving in me is only through my great God. And while I may feel like a worthless failure at this very messy thing called life, God is within me and because of that, I will not fall. When God looks at me, and when he looks at you fellow believer, he sees a soul that has been redeemed, bought back, purchased from darkness. He does not see a failure. He sees pain, but he also sees that you and I are cleansed from our sin, that he doesn’t even remember it anymore.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Ps 103:11-12
I need to remember that, and so do you. When you forget, I will remind you. But when I forget, will you please remind me? And remember this. It is okay to not be okay; because God is better, bigger, more wonderful, and can fix us when we are not okay.