Mental health seems to be all the rage these days. Athletes, artists, actors, and stars are opening up with statements like, “it’s okay not to be okay.”
But for us mere mortals, is it really okay to not be okay?
I’m not attempting to be snarky in my question. I’m suggesting that for the bulk of our human landscape, it’s still very much not okay to be not okay.
While I want to believe that I am wrong, ask yourself how safe you feel about divulging to your boss or buddies that you are struggling with depression, self-harm, anxiety, or any number of mental or emotional health issues?
I took a few days off over Labor Day weekend and, upon returning, found myself overwhelmed at the number of needs, challenges, calls, and expectations. Just writing that makes my skin crawl. Not because of the requirements, challenges, rings, or expectations, but because of the folks that will be placing varying degrees of guilt, shame, or assumptive qualifications upon me.
You may not be that person with those guilt-ridden thoughts, but we all know that they are there.
Maybe you wrestle with some of the same struggles that I do. Perhaps you feel like there is nowhere to turn. If so, or if you know someone struggling, here are three next steps that can help…I promise.
1. Take three minutes right now and pray. That’s right, pray. Not with your “fake holy voice.” Just ask God to calm your soul, settle your spirit, still your mind, and give you truth-filled wisdom.
2. Send a text to a trusted friend, and ask them to have coffee because you need someone to chat with. If you do not have that person in your life right now, do these two things: 1) Go back to number one and add to your prayer that the Divine would place that person in your life. And 2) Reach out to a counselor or therapist. I know that can be challenging. That’s why my friend Julie Homrich and I have built a place that you can seek and find help and privately. Just go to ClearPath Counseling and invest less than ten minutes in completing your free assessment.
I’m not sure why I struggle with these things. I wish that I didn’t. If you are one of the 4,500 plus’s church members of the church that I pastor, you might be thinking (as I’ve been told), “we don’t want to know about our pastor’s struggles.
I am, however, now okay with admitting that, at times, I am certainly not okay. I’ve learned the truly amazing power of prayer. I’ve learned how little the Divine cares about the “how-to” of prayer. I’ve learned and experienced how simple yet significant the act of “chatting” with my Creator. I have also been blessed with a couple of dear friends, an unbelievably gracious wife, and the kindness of an exceptional therapist.
You might not be okay, not being okay. But you should know that I know how much your Creator truly, deeply, earnestly loves you and wants to chat with you, especially when you are not okay. That’s how I know firsthand about His love. In my most not okay moments, He’s listened to my deepest “not okayness.”
It might not feel safe for you to share your own “not okayness” with someone in your circle right now, but open your head and heart to a conversation with God. You probably still need a counselor or therapist, but He’s the best. The very best at listening to our lack of okayness.
May peace be yours this day.
May joy become your normal.
May hope reign on the throne of your heart.
May tomorrow be better than okay.