It’s OK that You’re Not OK

Quite often, I find myself meeting with someone who is desperate for help, but emotionally spent over what they are going through. As they share the battleground, thoughts feel like spaghetti and emotions are fried to the point of numbness.

Frustration is so pent up, they are about to explode. As they share their story, a tension rises in their voice. 

A personal hostility swells within them. The reality is they are angry with themselves. They can’t seem to find a way into freedom and therefore, they are filled with disgust over their lack of progress.

A driving thought comes to the surface, saying, “why am I still struggling?” 

The pain goes even further to ask, “What is wrong with me? I shouldn’t have these problems! I should be over this by now! Why can’t I get it together?” 

After a complete dump of verbal frustration, they immediately start backpedaling, apologizing for expressing so much negativity. With overtones of religious condemnation, they say, “I know I should be better than this.” 

As this person gives me room to share my input, my reply often surprises them. What I have to say is simple, yet incredibly powerful, speaking to what they really need in the midst of their battle. 

Here is what I often say:

“It’s ok that you are not ok.”

Some are shocked by this. They are used to receiving the shameful disappointment of others, who wonder why they can’t just get over it. They are also used to hearing about the “next three steps” they should apply, or a packet of to-do lists they will never be able to fulfill. 

In the midst of this, many never consider the power of God’s love to first accept them, right where they are in their junk.

The Power of God’s Loving Acceptance

We’re taught the power of God’s loving acceptance at salvation, but somehow, we lose sight of it for the rest of the journey. Yet this precept cannot be skipped over. The first experience for healing of the heart involves experiencing the complete and unconditional acceptance of God’s love. 

Unless this environment is set in your heart, you will waste your life trying to heal and change with cycles of performance and self-help steps. The power of love will be missing from your life and you will struggle with a lifetime of self-pressure and frustrated living. Before you take any healing steps, you must learn to engage self-compassion and lovingly accept yourself, right where you are.

Engaging Self-Compassion

When you look at yourself and say, “It’s ok that I am not ok,” you allow your heart to engage the first fruit of God’s love. His love accepts you, right where you are.

God does not change your problem and then love you. He loves you endlessly from the beginning and forevermore. He approaches every struggle and battle you have with a compassionate acceptance that will fuel you into breakthrough. 

Self-compassion and the acceptance of love does not leave you unchanged. It sets the atmosphere by which God’s power works. You cannot experience long-term transformation without first experiencing the atmosphere of God’s loving acceptance.

God doesn’t ignore sin, but He also doesn’t withhold love until you have conquered sin. He loves you first, right now, in the midst of your mess.

In fact, He will love you even if you never decide to change. 

Believers Have Skipped This Stage

Many seek transformation but skip this stage. They often avoid it because it will lead them to confront the anger and self-hatred they have towards themselves. Most people cannot receive love, until they feel they get to a point where they are “worth” being loved. It’s a shame-based lifestyle. 

Others would say if we truly let ourselves engage the power of self-acceptance, then we will not change and even tolerate sinful lifestyles. This is a limited view of love. If love accepts you right where you are, but provides no avenue of hope for change and transformation, then it’s not really true love. 

You cannot move into the greater depths that God’s love has to offer unless you immerse yourself in understanding how He sees you in your sin and struggles.  

Love First

Practicing self-acceptance does not work when you arrive at some level of achievement. You need it right now. It starts right now. Love does its best in moments where it seems you don’t deserve it, or you struggle to receive it. 

Saying to yourself, “It’s ok that I am not ok” will send shockwaves against all the strongholds of self-hatred, performance pressures, perfectionism and those battles you have with yourself. 

At first, many receive this exhortation with open arms. But they later come back to me and say, “I ‘accepted’ myself, but I am just sick of being broken! Now what do I do?” I understand the frustration, but the hostile intensity is often a sign of being hard on yourself. Anger is rising up. It’s a sign that loving acceptance needs to have a deeper work.

You don’t just flip a switch and everything gets easier. Self-acceptance opens up a whole new pathway that we need to learn to live in. It takes time.

So try this with me. Stop everything you are doing and take a deep breath. Engage your heart with God in the best way you know and simply say, “I 100%, unconditionally, lovingly accept myself, right where I’m at.”

You’ll find some resistance rise up. Its ok. Everyone has it. It’s just the enemy seeking to block you from God’s love.

Keep receiving and let His love plug you into relationship. From there, the heart healing journey can get better and better.

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