It's Okay to Not Be Okay

"It's okay to not be okay." My best friend said those words to me a couple of months ago and I think I've repeated them to three other friends since that day, because they needed to hear those words of freedom as much as I did. Sometimes permission to not be okay is just what we need to start healing.

The more I push past the small talk and scripted conversation with those around me, even those in my inner circle, the more I realize that our lives aren't as polished as we try to make them out to be. I like to call it the 'Instagram Effect," where we tend to show our best days instead of our worst. And there's nothing wrong with that, but in a world with so much hurt and hardship, I can't begin to fathom what life would be like if we spoke those fears and struggles and secrets we hold so deep in our soul. Would we all feel a little more normal? A little more freedom?

What would happen if we quieted those worries by pouring the power of confession over them? I know in my heart, and in my life, those silent battles are things that draw more energy from me because of the secret-keeping that goes on around them. As if me talking them out loud makes them real and true--when in reality, speaking those fears and admitting that we aren't okay makes us human. We don't have to have it all together all the time, because in our weakness, He is strengthened. 

Sometimes those moments of confession are the most beautiful moments--the moments where the light begins to shine out of the brokenness in our souls and gives someone else a window into what you're going through. Those brief times are the times when I feel most plugged in to the friend next to me, as I hold her hand and listen to her heart poured out. 

I can't help but think of the sense of community that is created as those walls come down and we're connected on a level deeper than we've known before; to admit to others exactly where we are and just what we need, whether it be prayers, encouragement, or just a cup of coffee. Those sacred bonds formed in the quiet moments of confession are life-giving. 

No one has to go first or alone, if we're honest and open. Because when we are brave enough to admit that we're not okay, you'll be surprised at how those around you react. They're broken too, in one way or another. Marriage struggles, money issues, infertility, anxiety, alcohol abuse, singleness, and so on. When we open ourselves up and speak those secrets we're too afraid to share, our worlds become a little smaller and our hearts become a little closer because we find out we're not alone in our journey. 

If I could speak truth over you today, I'd tell you that your hurt and your fears don't go unnoticed. You are seen and you are loved by the God in heaven who loves you like freaking crazy. This too will pass. And more than anything, you're not alone in your struggles, whatever they may be. Give a little of your burden to your sister next to you--that's why God created friends. 

We are all trying, day in and day out. Let's love on each other a little harder and let the ones we love the most know that it's okay to not be okay. Here's to letting ourselves admit those scary words: "You know, I'm really not okay today." Because then and only then will we have someone grab our hand, pull us in close,  take the load off our shoulders, and reply, "Maybe not now, but you will be." 

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