15 years ago my life was a mess.
Getting drunk most nights, I was sleeping in until midday most days. I was an unreliable worker, a messy housemate, and a lousy friend. I couldn’t maintain a job and the workload of my university course and I soon dropped out of university. Addicted to pornography, I couldn’t make romantic relationships work at all either.
Put simply, I was not okay.
But I remembered hearing a mantra repeated by many all throughout my childhood, “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, But it’s Not Okay to Stay That Way”.
In short, it was my responsibility to get help and to change my ways.
Fast forward 15 years and I am hearing a very similar mantra on repeat around the globe, from song lyrics to bumper stickers…
“It’s Okay to Not be Okay.”
There is just one line after that one that is now missing, no longer do I hear the follow up of, “But it’s Not Okay to Stay That Way.”
We’ve simply stopped at “It’s Okay to Not be Okay”, and I’ll be honest, I’m disturbed by this subtle yet significant shift.
Is it really okay to not be okay?
Should we really champion anxiety, depression and behaviour that both sabotages self and sabotages others?
Since when did we decide that “not okay” was the new normal? Since when did we normalize dysfunctionality?
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for embracing conversations about mental health, and I understand that the campaigns pushing this mantra are often simply trying to destroy the stigma of mental health, but I wish we would also point towards the hope and restoration that is available to all.
If you’re not okay I want you to know that true love says, “you don’t have to stay that way.”
I’m proud of you for acknowledging that you are not okay, but I love you too much to not say, “Don’t stay that way!”
You were created to rule and reign. You were created to conquer and to have victory!
So, say it with me, “It’s okay that I’m not okay but it’s not okay for me to stay this way!”
You can be okay again!
How? You might ask.
Here’s three tips.
1. Ask yourself, when did I get broken in the first place? What was it that first made me not okay?
Usually the answer is found at a point where either you allowed sin into your life, or the consequences of sin in someone else’s life affected you.
We are in a spiritual battle and it’s the devil that wants you to not be okay.
Ask God for either forgiveness (where you let sin in) or healing (where other’s sin got in) in this area.
The Bible says that while the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). It also says that while the enemy (the devil) comes to steal kill and destroy, Jesus comes to bring you life to its fullest (John 10:10).
Reach for what Jesus came to give you and ask Him for healing and forgiveness where needed.
Jesus wants you to be okay again.
2. Ask yourself what lies you’ve taken on as a result of that original breaking and replace those lies with the truth.
Ask God for His truth to replace those lies, and declare them over yourself.
For example, if you have social anxiety as a result of a social interaction that went wrong, you may be believing a lie that you are not good in social settings.
Replace that lie with the truth that (if you’re a believer), Christ is in you and with you and that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
Now believe that you are a much loved and valued child of God who’s identity is based in Christ’s approval of you rather than the world’s approval of you, and try socializing once again. If more lies come against you, replace them with His truth.
3. Be Okay with it taking a while to get back to Okay from your position of Not Okay.
It may take a while to get back to health, but don’t give up! You can do this!
Take life one day at a time. You don’t have to stay in the rut you’ve found yourself in forever and you won’t be there forever. You can do this! God’s got you.
Praise God, I am no longer in the mess I once was in. I thank God that the combination of this mantra affecting my outlook in life and a miraculous encounter with a Pastor who called me to respond to God’s love and get out of my mess, led me to change my ways.
I now know my value and worth in Christ and I am walking freer than ever and my message to you is this, you too can do the same.
Cheering you on and believing for your full restoration,
PS- I don’t write this blog to condemn you, but rather to encourage you. Feeling condemned? Read points one and two and replace condemnation with encouragement! You’ve got this!
(Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”)