It's OK to not be OK

Unless I missed it, the song “Everything Is Awesome” from the LEGO movie is no where to be found in scripture. In fact, look at the Psalms and you will read the songs and prayers of a man who knew suffering. King David knew what it was to be misunderstood, betrayed, and left mentally exhausted. And yet, most of the time, put a Christian in a painful situation, and nine times out of ten they will slap a smile on their face and recite a ridiculous number of platitudes. “I’m too blessed to be stressed” or “God’s got me. I’ll be OK” to name but a few.

Funny thing is, nowhere in the bible do we see people speaking in such clichés. Jesus Himself demonstrated that when people were hurting, He hurt too. When Lazarus had died, He didn’t walk in and say, “Hey guys! I’m here. Put a smile on your face and be grateful. I’m about to do something awesome!” No. He talked with Martha and Mary. He heard their hearts. He wept. He felt the pain of those He loved and He grieved (John 11:35).

This has been a hard week. And whilst I seek to encourage people, I have to be honest. The trenches of life, motherhood, and everything in between have been overwhelming. We all have bad days. Sometimes there are bad weeks, months, and even years and it feels like a struggle to stay positive. There are times in our lives when we feel like we are fighting one bad situation after another. And if you are like me, we feel guilty that we are feeling sad, because as a Christian, we should be joyful at all times, right?

But in John 11, Jesus showed us that He prioritized a person’s heart over a result. Before He performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, He felt with, grieved with, and comforted those in pain.  In another passage of scripture, Jesus also said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4). How can you be comforted if you don’t mourn? How can you experience the true impact of the comfort of the Holy Spirit whilst you are masking your pain?

The western Church has become so very fixated with results. Some churches want results seen in healing miracles. Other churches want results in numbers of converts and church growth. And whilst it’s easy to criticize church leaders for thinking about the numbers, we all live our lives looking for results. We have specific ‘results’ that we are asking God for and we ask for them everyday. Have my prayers been answered yet? Do I have the promotion that I have been asking God for? Has that family drama been resolved? Do I have the money to buy a new car? Why am I not married yet? Is the doctor going to call me and tell me that I am healed? Please God, let me go full-term and not miscarry another baby.

And whilst praying for these things is a good thing, becoming fixated on the ‘result’ can be so destructive to our hearts. When circumstances don’t change in accordance with our timeline, disappointment and resentment seeps into our hearts. Before we know it, we are mad at God for forgetting about us but we are simultaneously trying to keep a smile on our faces. 

But like we saw with Lazarus, He walked up to Mary and Martha and loved them BEFORE He gave them a ‘result’. He mourned with them, cried with them, and let them know that He was present. 

So today, whatever you are dealing with, whatever result you are not seeing, whatever grief is gripping your heart, put down the mask and let your heart be seen. Know that your God loves you more than your circumstance. As scripture shows, your pain matters. It’s OK to be in pain. It’s not a sin to grieve. But before He performs a miracle, maybe He wants to come close and comfort you? Maybe He wants to grieve with you and let you know that He is with you? 

It’s OK to not be OK, just keep your heart open to God and let Him come close to you.

Good Friday - It is not the end

Good Friday is an awkward day in the Christian calendar. Typically, Holidays are times of celebration, freedom, and joy. But not Good Friday. It’s a day to remember that disappointment, grief, and pain are all a part of faith. We remember that Jesus wept so hard he sweated blood. We remember that He begged in prayer, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” And yet He yielded His heart to God’s plan and He surrendered Himself over to the authorities. (Matt 26:39). We remember that the disciples were utterly confused as to what was going on. We remember that Peter cut off one of the soldiers ears, and promised to never deny Jesus only to deny Him hours later. We remember that this band of misfits who loved and followed Jesus watched him die a torturous criminal’s death.

Nothing made sense on Good Friday. Years of following Jesus seemed wasted. There was only death. Death of hopes and dreams. Death of a teacher, friend, and savior. Death.

But it wasn’t the end. Guys, we know that only three days later they would discover the tomb was empty. But a couple of millennium ago, they had no idea what the future would hold.

For many of us, we have experienced an anesthetized Christian faith where we have had little permission to feel pain, loss, or anger. There’s almost a guilt attached to negative emotions like we are failing at the Christian faith if we are not joyful at all times. 

But remember Good Friday. Remember the day when the followers of Jesus only knew sorrow and heartache. Remember no matter how far they ran, doubted, or hid, Jesus came through for them. Remember that they didn't have to "get it right", or even understand what was going on, because resurrection was only three days away.

No. Good Friday was not the end.