I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and that’s okay

burned out lightbulbImage “Failure” from PixelPlacebo under Creative Commons License

Nobody is okay

Do you ever get sick of the fakeness of society how everybody walks around like everything is okay?  I have never lived anywhere but in America, so I don’t know if what I observe and experience is unique to American culture, or Western culture, or if it’s more of a humanity thing. Most of us walk around acting like we’re okay, but in fact, nobody is really okay. I sometimes feel like my greatest ministry in the lives of people is more about saying “me too” than anything else.

“You feel insufficient sometimes, like there’s something fundamentally wrong with you? Me too.”
“You have doubts and wonder whether God is there, or if there’s even a God at all? Me too.”
“You care deeply for your spouse and children and wish that you could connect with them better? Me too.”
“You didn’t feel like coming to church today? Me neither.”
“You’re bogged down by your fears and wonder if you’re ever going to accomplish your dreams? Me too.”
“You feel like people probably wouldn’t love you if they really knew who you are? Me too.”
“In spite of your struggles, you still somehow manage to be basically happy and wonder if that’s okay, if you should be doing more? Me too.” 

Add your own  here:_______________________________________. “Me too.”

In many ways I’m not okay and you’re not okay. That’s okay. That’s what it means to be human.

Not Even Pastors Are Okay

For those of you not in the ministry (99% of my readers), I want to let you in on a little secret. Being a pastor doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with the same issues as everybody else. A lot of the time it just means you feel extra guilty over it, and/or crave even more deeply to be who you think others need you to be. When you look around and see religious leaders who seem to have it all together, don’t believe it for a second. It’s not true, no matter how much they may want it to be.

We Connect Best to People Who Are Not Okay

The foundation of love between you and your spouse, you and your kids, a church and its congregants, even you and me (there are some ways in which even this relationship is one of love!) is not power and accomplishment and success. The foundation of love is incompetence and stuckness and failure. Human nature is to admire people who succeed, but feel automatically like that could never be you. When you hear someone is struggling, someone has failed in the same ways you have failed, you connect to that person. So the purpose of this post today is just to tell you that I have failed over and over. I am not only not perfect, but I am so imperfect that it feels embarrassing to have to say the words, “I am not perfect.” I will burst your bubble. I will talk out of turn. I will say things I don’t mean out of frustration sometimes. I love my wife, but I will not always be a shining example of a perfect husband and father. I will be too much this and not enough that. I am not always okay.

That is okay. It is okay because my successes are not the bridge of connection from me to you. My failures are. Sure, I hope I can succeed in certain ways that will be inspiring and give others hope that they can succeed too. I hope I can think up a few posts and books that will encourage, education, entertain, and enlighten. But all of that will be meaningless if I fail to keep in front of me what matters most. I am a human being and I therefore fail like one! I invite you — on this blog, through my upcoming book, on Twitter, on Google+, on my Facebook page, and at my church, to join me in the okayness of being human. We don’t have to be anything other than who we are. We certainly don’t need to pretend to be super-spiritual (hyper-spirituality is actually not spirituality at all, it is pride). It’s not about getting it right and telling everybody else they are wrong, it’s about just being on the journey with other people, through both success and failure.

Ironically, it is only when we are free to be who we are that we find the freedom to change into the people we wish to be. That’s why I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and in the final analysis, that’s okay.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. A request for me to defend some of my comments does not obligate me to do so.

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