This past year has been a booger. For me, the events of 2020 and 2021 provided the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. How did I get to that point?
Somehow, and in some way, I developed the belief that I should/could just power through anything while ignoring my emotional and mental health. Somewhere a host of poor and flat-out wrong ideas took root in my thinking that produces a foul fruit in my soul. How I felt about something was irrelevant. What others thought about me was more important than what God thought about me or what I thought about me. This thought or that thought needed to be carried to its conclusion regardless of how true or untrue it was. If it went wrong, it had to be my fault because everything was your fault. I could go on and on.
There are reasons those unhealthy things were present, but this is not the place to air all of that. The conclusion for me is that I knew I was not ok, but I didn’t have anywhere in my theological or social framework to not be ok and it be ok to need help.
As I am learning the discipline of taking thoughts captive to obey Jesus and his kingdom, I’m particularly battling thoughts of guilt, unworthiness, and self-accusation about needing help at the worst possible time. Is there ever a good time to need help? No. So, I need to flush those wrong ideas immediately.
I’ve had to go through the narrative of Scripture and take note of the places where God’s servants have needed help, had to flee, had to take a stand, had to fight, had to admit weakness, had to lose in order to win in the long run, refused to take vengeance even though it cost them in the short run, recognize that it was ok for them to have to do those things and it’s ok for us to have to do them from time to time.
If I compare myself to people’s facade living on social media, their platform building, and general lack of transparency about the reality of daily living, I’d have no chance for any sense of health. But when I gaze into God’s word, I find that there is a long legacy of God’s faithful whose lives are transparently laid out for divine and good purposes who were not ok, and whose lives were dealt a terrible hand (providential I might add for glories far beyond their present circumstance), and they had to slog through hard things to better days.
Bottom line, its ok to not be ok. You don’t have to pretend.
For many of us, these days are unprecedented, and there is no lack of pressure from people on what we should think or believe about a multitude of issues and each one of them will judge us based on our response to their debatable opinion, and many of them refuse to see their position is arguable.
We are trying to parent our kids. We are trying to get our families over the finish line of a single day. We are trying to be holy, and help our friends and families be holy. We are trying to do the best we can with what is lined up in front of us, and I’ll be dadgummit if it isn’t sometimes crushing.
When it’s not ok, then be good with it not being ok.
When it’s not ok, then take a break from social media or news.
When it’s not ok, reach out for help from a trusted friend. Often, the ability to talk it out and receive empathy and counsel from a friend brings Trinitarian healing to our situation. We were made to be in fellowship and receive help in fellowship.
When it’s not ok, get quiet and listen for the voice of the Counselor Holy Spirit with an open Bible in front of you.
When it’s not ok, reach out for professional help if necessary. It’s ok to do that. Google for local Christian counselors, make an appointment, go talk. Call your doctor and get an appointment to get a medical check-up. It’s ok to take care of our souls and bodies. That’s called stewardship.
When it’s not ok, don’t let accusatory voices, likely Satanic in origin, accuse you of being weak or derelict or failing because you need help.
When it’s not ok, lean back onto the Scripture’s glorious insistence that God is at work for our good even though we may be walking through the valley of the shadow of death. We don’t have to fear evil, for God is with us if we are in Jesus Christ. Genesis 50:20 still helps to keep me upright.
It’s ok to not be ok. Just make sure to not go it alone.
Psalms 46:1-3 (ESV) God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
By trying some of these suggestions when it’s not ok, you will find Psalms 46:1-3 to be a reality you can lean on. God uses means to accomplish his divine purpose, so if you need some help, give one or all of these means a try, and find God to be your helper.