It’s Okay Not to Be Okay
The end of 2020 brought a string of hard things.
My beloved aunt passed away unexpectedly in a hospital alone. One month later, after a long struggle, my mom passed away. At the same time, an estranged family member appeared. Then two close friends experienced life-altering hurts.
Life has felt heavy.
The strangeness of a world of Covid-related changes blankets all this like a shroud—not being able to travel to see friends or family; plans altered with quarantining; financial worries; kids not being able to celebrate milestones the way they imagined.
Disappointments rather than successes mark our ministries. We thought we’d be there—instead we’re here.
Some days I’m okay, but many days I’m sad—and that’s okay.
I won’t stay in this sad place, and neither will you. I don’t need pity or platitudes, and neither do you.
Whatever big or small hardness we’re going through, what we need is to grieve.
We’ll have grief-triggers, probably for a long time to come. When I carefully wrapped in tissue paper a nativity set given to me by my aunt, I teared up thinking about how much she loved me with Christ’s love. As I sit and pray each morning, I wonder what the future holds with this formerly estranged family member.
You look at the script of that speaking message you were excited to share and now disappointment tugs. Maybe that great book idea no longer seems relevant in today’s world. You’re not really sure how to move forward in ministry, not sure of the direction God wants you take.
By the time you read this, it will be a new year. 2021 brings hope.
But it’s okay still not to be okay when 2021 arrives.
The only way to get through grief is to grieve.
So I’m writing this with the hope that you are comforted knowing you’re not alone if you’re feeling heavy with sadness.
And I’m writing this for one other reason. The new year often brings the expectation of new plans and new goals. That’s one of the reasons we love the new year!
But if you’re not feeling quite ready to move forward, rest assured—that’s okay. You don’t have to map out all your blog posts, podcasts, or speaking and writing goals right now.
You’ll get there.
We at Next Step Coaching Services look forward to coming alongside you this year as you move forward—one step at a time.
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Melanie, thank you for your words. Needed.
Thank you, Michele.
Thank you so much for these words. It helps to know you’re not alone!
I agree, Suzanne!
It felt like you must have a secret window into my life! While God has been so gracious, there have been a couple of big difficult family issues which often lead me to “not okay.”
Thanks for the encouragement that I am not alone or abnormal, while I press in to God’s Word and seek godly counsel during this difficult time.
Hi Sue, Nice to see you here! Sorry for what you’re going through. Glad you were encouraged.
Today is 5/19/21 and I am just now seeing your 1/5/21 email, It’s okay not to be okay. That’s how not okay I’ve been.
In the Covid duress, I panicked instead of praising; I was terrified rather than trusting and I was fearful rather than full of faith.
Those weaknesses and sins are why I made poor decisions, life changing decisions, like leaving the comfort of my beautiful rental, where God had settled me in, to (sadfully and sinfully) moving in with a man who just entered my life, and offered comfort to my heart in all the places of panic that was rumbling heavily. That 5 month relationship resulted in a Protection From Abuse Order against him, and all within a day having to remove my belongings from the premises on an emergency eviction order against him.
On the “moving” day, Uhaul systems went down nationwide, and the truck I had preregistered could not be assigned to me since no contract could be printed “hard copy.” This occurred to every customer. But whatever happened to good, old fashioned pen and paper! Imagine living through that 12 hour day without one big truck. Women’s Shelter phone calls, lawyers, hearings, etc. became my next few weeks.
Thankfully a friend gave me a comforting bed upon which to lay my wear head. However 3 weeks later, she grew ill and I needed to transfer my abode once again. Giving praise for my daughter and hubby with 4 boys under the age of 9 who gave me their family room. Still working through all the chaos going on personally and the beautiful chaos of 4 energetic boys and trying to work at my current job, but find a new job where I can make more money to stand on my feet again, and doing the leg work of finding a new place to live, after laying my head on 3 different resting places within one month, well…. you get it.
I read Lamentations, Chapter 3. A friend called to share the infamous verse about God’s faithfulness, and His mercies, new every morning! We are familiar with its King James version. However, I pulled it up on Bible Gateway, while still on the phone with my friend and I said let’s start from the beginning of the chapter to gain context. I read the Message version. “Read” is a loose term, because I sobbed severely the whole chapter. I had never spent time in the book of Lamentations. But author is one dude who gave up on the good life outlook, and who was living in a black pit of despair.
If you invest the time into the reading, you too may identify with how “cornered” and “covered” he felt, like a “corpse nailed inside a coffin.” Oh, but he has more descriptives with which you also may have belted out before God in your anguish as well. I certainly did myself, although I wasn’t blaming God so much as I was blaming myself and my poor decision making for the reasons listed above. But my heart did GRAB the HOPE that appears in these verses, which for convenience, I will share:
It’s a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God
19-21 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
22-24 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.
25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
to stick it out through the hard times.
28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The “worst” is never the worst.
31-33 Why? Because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard…
Life seemed like the worst to me; Life seemed hard. But IF HE WORKS SEVERELY, HE ALSO WORKS TENDERLY….and in this feeling of HITTING THE BOTTOM, there is something else I remember, and REMEMBERING HIS STOCKPILES OF LOYAL LOVE ARE IMMENSE AND HIS MERCIFUL LOVE COULDN’T HAVE DRIED UP, I KEEP A GRIP ON HOPE!
Is life feeling heavy and are the hard times hard to take???
Me too!!! HE’S ALL I GOT LEFT! I bow in prayer. He won’t ever walk out and fail to return!!! I passionately wait, I diligently seek. I stick out the hard times and I quietly HOPE because he takes no pleasure in making life hard! And let me exclaim, He is doing miracles for me! I want to make that familiar Snow Meister in one of our beloved traditional Christmas movies aglow with spiritual concept: “You put one foot in front of the other, soon you’ll be walking out the doooor, oooorrr, ooooor!” And our God is infusing strength into each step so that, with enough light in front of me, I can see the Light again!
55-57 “I called out your name, O God,
called from the bottom of the pit.
You listened when I called out, ‘Don’t shut your ears!
Get me out of here! Save me!’
You came close when I called out.
You said, ‘It’s going to be all right.’
58-60 “You took my side, Master;
you brought me back alive!
I GIVE GLORY TO YOUR NAME, MOST HIGH! YOU ARE “I AM” and I am not! YOU ARE MY PROVIDER, and not man!
I have a new job offer! And I have found another beautiful rental, and at $170 less than before! And with more utilities included! And a sweet landlady! And help surrounding me on every side for every need!!!
IT’S GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT!!!
Thank you for sharing your story, Kimberly. It’s so inspiring to hear of how God has worked on your behalf!