Climbed in my truck the other day and turned the radio on. Heard these beautiful words being sung by a Christian artist suddenly filling the cab of my truck, “It’s okay to not be okay this is a safe place, this is a safe place. Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed there’s still hope here, there’s still hope here.” The song was beautiful, but I thought someone had gotten in my head and was speaking directly to me right there in my truck, though I was the only one in there… but maybe not. I can’t tell you how I needed those words at the time… how they soothed my spirit and spoke to my heart. Maybe you need to hear them too. We’ve too often as believers bought into the very false notion that “it’s not okay for us to not be okay” as Christians. I mean, we are supposed to have our act together… always. Always on top of our game. Always smiling. Always taking it in stride. Always up. Always! That somehow being a Christian, a man or woman of faith, means we never get down, or have bad days, or let things get to us. That’s not healthy! It’s not good for your mental or emotional state for sure. I don’t think it’s even good for you physically… ulcers and all. But I really don’t think it’s good for your spiritual state and relationship with the Lord. I think somehow that may be a part of us not being transparent, or even not being honest about ourselves and God, about where we are, and what’s really going on inside of us… living in denial about where we are, or pretending to be something and someplace that we really aren’t. You won’t ever get very far in the Christian life that way, trying to be something you aren’t, or refusing to get honest with God about yourself and your struggles, or hiding behind the façade. I mean God already knows you are not “okay.” He just wants you to get honest about it, admit it to Him and yourself, and let Him help you.
All of this is what Jon Bloom calls, “deep soul weariness,” and he goes on to say “we all experience it (this deep soul weariness), though in different ways and for different reasons.” Sometimes we can point to significant factors for it… especially right now I think. Our “not-being-okay-weariness,” can come from all sorts of places… places and things that are all too obvious especially in these times we are going through right now. It often outstrips our own grasp of what’s happening. Simply put… sends our head spinning, and heart reeling and we are not okay. Yet, we think we are supposed to be okay, and we keep trying to be okay. I think you get it… you most likely feel it. To be honest with you, it’s nearly impossible to just “be okay” with all the mayhem that has entered our lives and our world as of late. There is truly a “deep soul weariness” to it. Isn’t there? It’s trying! It’s unnerving! It’s unsettling and upsetting! It’s disappointing and discouraging! It’s divisive! The adjectives just flow too easily for this all to just be okay and us be okay with it. And eating white cake decorated with the sweetest of cream cheese frostings won’t sweeten the pot any. In my case it just might send you into a diabetic frenzy and make matters worse… and now you really are not okay! So, no! When I climbed in my truck that morning, still groggy from a fretful night sleep at all of this, and turned the radio on for my morning trek to the church I wasn’t feeling “okay,” to be honest. But there was God, meeting me in it through a simple verse in a song… “It’s okay to not be okay this is a safe place, this is a safe place. Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed there’s still hope here, there’s still hope here.”
Because our burdens are not simple, they are not relieved by simplistic platitudes like; “Cheer up! Things are bound to turn around!” But a simple promise can bring great and needed relief to these complex burdens, and provided we believe that the power behind the promise is complex and strong enough to make everything okay. And it really is! And into our weariness steps the most complex power in existence speaking a promise as simple, hopeful, and refreshing as we could possibly want. It’s better than a song. Its Jesus speaking and saying to you and I who are not okay, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Here it is… what I felt God impressing on my heart, that has helped me walk with a little less limp, and live in it with a little less sigh… even in all our “not okayness” there is still hope because when we are not okay there is a safe place to run…. the arms of Jesus. He still loves us when we’re not okay. He still invites us to come to Him, though we are weak and heavy laden. He is still for us. He knows how to comfort us and encourage our heart when we are feeling the weight of all those adjectives of our time. We don’t and shouldn’t put on airs that we are okay, and everything is okay. It’s not! And it’s better to get honest about it… to get honest about us, than to hide in pretense behind the “I’m okay, you’re okay” cliché. I do believe and affirm the positives we keep telling each other. I believe we will get through this, that things will turn around, that this too shall pass, and that it will all work out. I tend to be turned that way… toward the more positive. But in the meantime, I want you to know that it is okay to not be okay. God doesn’t love you any less if you are struggling (even really struggling) in all of this. I don’t even think He’s disappointed with you for feeling not okay right now. If your faith has been shaken a bit or a lot, God hasn’t gone and given up on you. It really is okay to not be okay, because God can handle our “not okayness.” He can even enter into it with us and give us a peace that it’s going to be okay, because it is. I love how He speaks into our “not okayness” … in the cab of a truck, through a radio, an unusual song by an unusual artist called Plumb, or hundreds of other ways He speaks. Just admit to Him you’re not okay and He might just sing a song for you too! God bless you and I love you, Bro, Buddy