One of the most helpful and freeing things I’ve heard someone say was, “It’s okay to not be okay.” So often it seems like within our culture and our society and even within Christianity we think we have to have everything figured out and have no hurt or struggles or burdens. We have to be okay or at least fake it well enough so that everybody thinks we are, even if we’re not. But we live in a sinful world, a broken world. And therefore it is a hurtful world and a hurting world. There are problems big and small, burdens, struggles, pain, loss. And it hurts. Life is hard, and some hurts are heavy, and healing takes time, and growth has to take place, and God has to have time to work. And often, in the end, there are bigger purposes for those things we’re going through.
So what could happen if we felt free to say, “I’m not okay,” without shame, judgment, or rejection? What a healing experience it can be just to be heard, loved, and accepted no matter how we feel or what we’re dealing with. The Bible tells us we are to bear one another’s burdens. We are to weep with those who weep. We are to edify and encourage and strengthen and demonstrate compassion and love just like Jesus did. But if people are too ashamed or afraid to say anything, how can we hurt together and heal together and lift each other up in prayer?
We don’t have to have all the answers. Most of the time, I don’t think we need to say anything at all. Most of the time someone just wants to be heard. Most of the time, I think people just want to express what they feel without judgment or criticism or feeling minimized for their particular struggle. They just want to give voice to their pain and still be accepted and loved and cared about. They want it to be okay to not be okay. And sometimes just knowing that can set us free from the self-condemnation that keeps us silent and alone.
But doesn’t that make us bad Christians? No, it makes us real people—unique and fragile and capable of beautiful depths of emotion just like God created us to have. Being weak doesn’t mean our faith is weak or our love is weak or our commitment to God is weak. Because isn’t it in those depths that we can become stronger? Isn’t it struggles that enable growth? Isn’t it hurt that can help us connect not just to God, but to each other? And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Jesus knew what it was to hurt. Jesus understood suffering to a degree that no one else ever can. Jesus relates to us in our struggles and joins us in them. He bears our griefs and our sorrows. And He invites us to come as we are to receive His love and comfort. And can’t we, then, do the same for those around us?
I don’t know what you’re going through. I probably can’t fix it. But I care. It’s okay if you’re not okay right now. I’ll listen if you want to talk. I’ll pray if you need a prayer. I’ll give you a hug if you’re nearby. I’ll probably cry, too, but that’s okay. But if you don’t want to talk to me, at least tell Jesus. He can bring healing to the deepest hurts. He can bring light to the darkest places. He can bear that burden that feels too heavy. And He will love eternally. He can set you free from everything this sinful world throws at you. All you have to do is trust Him, and one day, it really will be okay.