The Apostle Paul said he “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Phil. 4:12). I don’t think I can honestly say I’ve truly learned to be “content” in every situation, but I think I am finally learning the secret of being “okay” in any and every situation. That’s because I’m learning to be okay …
Even when I’m not okay.
I think that is actually a huge part of the secret … learning to be okay with not being okay.
Recently I got a precious and profound email from a friend who has been through an absolutely horrific ordeal I would never wish on anyone. She is recovering and healing–slowly, but surely. Her words were filled with beauty and hope, but a few lines particularly jumped out and grabbed my heart:
“I may not be ok now, but I know I will be. Though others struggle with me not being ok, I’m ok with not being ok right now. He will heal me… heart, mind, body and soul. And every promise, every single promise that He has spoken to me, He will bring it to pass.”
Really, my friend is learning to be okay … even when she’s not okay.
All of us experience not being okay from time to time. But I truly believe that how we respond to not being okay is one of the things that determines how long we’re not okay. Unfortunately the honest responses that position us for deeper healing are not always encouraged … especially in the Church.
So instead we waste precious emotional energy trying to be a lot more okay than we really are. We may fool ourselves, or even others at times, but God is never impressed by our misguided attempts to demonstrate we have it more together than we really do.
Fortunately, He’s also not put off by our true state of being. When we’re honest and learn it’s sometimes okay to not be okay, we actually heal a lot faster. I’m not talking about indiscriminately dumping our baggage anywhere and everywhere, but I am talking about being real. Genuine faith is one thing, but denial is another deal entirely. Denial never healed anyone of anything …
Even when we’re okay in the whole, there are may still be some lingering areas in our lives that are “not okay”–and that’s okay too. And when other people are not okay with us not being okay, that’s also okay. It will happen. Part of the process of healing and developing healthy boundaries is realizing you can’t always make things okay for other people … no matter how much you would like to.
Honestly, there are some things in my life that really aren’t okay right now. (There probably are in yours, too.) But I’m okay. I’m okay because I’m learning to be okay with not being okay. I’m learning to be okay with being me and being where I am. Not necessarily where I’d like to be–not where others think I am (good or bad) or where they think I ought to be–but where I really am.
Here’s the thing … I can’t compare my journey to anyone else’s journey. And you can’t compare your journey to anyone else’s either. When we do, we always come up short. There are many wonderful things along the way that we do get to share with one another. But in each life there are unique blessings and unique challenges. In each life there are those things that are too precious — too sacred — too deep — to ever fully express to another. So we learn to be okay …
Even when we’re not okay.
The great irony is that when we learn to be okay even when we’re not okay–when we learn to let go of how we think things are supposed to look, feel, or be (including ourselves)–we become more present and more truly okay than ever. We become more available than ever.
Really, I think we become more alive than ever.
We become alive (and okay) knowing there is One who does see all. One who knows all. One who is always there. One who always understands –who always discerns correctly — who always thinks and does what’s best —
One who always loves.
One who “gets it.” In fact, He gets me better than I get me. And He knows exactly what the very best me looks like–even as I’m still figuring it out.
He’s also knows that being authentically me means sometimes things don’t look or feel even remotely okay.
He’s okay with that. So am I. Because I know …
“He will heal me ... heart, mind, body and soul. And every promise, every single promise that He has spoken to me, He will bring it to pass.”
I believe it. I believe Him. And because I do, I’ve learned to be okay in any and every situation …
Even when I’m not okay.
How about you? Have you learned to be okay … even when you’re not okay?