It's okay to not be okay.
Updated: Nov 2, 2021
I recently watched a prominent late-night talk show host talking virtually to his guest. They both shared recent stories of some of their own issues, and how they have been interacting with each of their own therapists, especially in light of the Coronavirus. Their vulnerability surprised me! It dawned on me that we are certainly living in an unprecedented time. It is a time full of so many potential negative emotions: anxiety, depression, loneliness, exhaustion, boredom, fear, lack of control, guilt over how we spend (or don't spend) our time. I know I've felt all of these and I would imagine most people can relate. Yet I still feel like I "ought" to be better or more whole or more mature in my faith by now. And although we all feel like we don't have it together, we often don't readily share our challenges, struggles or negative emotions with each other or with God.
What I think I'm learning is that God wants us, even commands those who are "weary" to come to Him. In fact, he even tells Paul that his power is "perfected in his (human) weakness." I believe most of us would agree with that, but do we really feel we can really bring EVERYTHING to God? HOW do we really come before God, confess (or just tell Him the truth) about how we are REALLY doing?
I love the way that author Ronald Rolheiser puts it:
"All thoughts and feelings are valid material for prayer. Simply put: When you go to pray, lift up what’s inside of you at that moment. If you are bored, lift up that boredom; if you are angry, lift up your anger; if you are tired, lift up that tiredness; if you feel selfish, don’t be afraid to let God see that. Jesus said that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. One of the qualities in children to which this refers is precisely their honesty in showing their feelings. Children don’t hide their sulks, pouts, and tantrums. A good mother handles these rather easily, often with a smile. God is up to the task. In prayer, we can be transparent, no matter how murderous, adulterous, or irreverent our thoughts and feelings might seem."
As we embark on the days, weeks and even months ahead with all the unknowns, I am grateful that we have a Good Father who desires that we come to him however we are--stuff and junk included. We don't need to hide or be ashamed or pretend that we are holding it all together--because the truth is that none of us are and it's exhausting to pretend. And as we come before him in our authentic brokenness, only then do we then experience the love, joy, and peace that He has for us--not based on our circumstances or our emotions--but simply RESTING in His abundant love and grace that is enough for us today.