When I get sick I resist going to the doctor at all costs. At most, I’ll try to catch a few extra hours of sleep on the front-end or back-end of my day, but typically, I just push through.

A few years ago I was more sick than I could ever remember. When it was all said and done, I was laid up for about six days. On day one (a Monday), I left work early thinking by the next day I would be back to my normal self. On day two (Tuesday), I came into work late still trying to tough it out. I spent the first two hours of my day trying to get some things done while lying on the couch in my office. Eventually, my co-workers convinced me to go home and not come back until I was fully better.

By day three (Wednesday), my wife had rightly lost all compassion towards me saying I was a fool for not scheduling an appointment to see a doctor.

I hate going to the doctor. I hate the thought of wasting a day making an appointment and sitting in a waiting room when I could be getting stuff done. I hate admitting that I can’t muster through on my own. And I hate the thought of identifying with the sick. Admitting I was sick would be admitting defeat.

At the core of it, I tend to live with the belief that it’s not okay to not be okay. I’m not sure where I developed this belief. And while I don’t intellectually believe it’s true, practically, I live as though it is.

I’m not the only one who thinks this way. As a pastor, I find many people in the church believe the same thing. Maybe not with regards to our physical well-being, but definitely with regard to our spiritual well-being.

But Jesus has a different belief. He believes that it’s okay not to be okay. He’s quick to say in Luke’s gospel that he’s not interested in spending time with people who have it all together (Luke 5:31-32). People who never struggle. People whose lives are in tip-top shape.

He actually says he’s come to spend time with the spiritually sick and needy. Those whose lives are a mess. Those who can’t clean up their act or pick themselves up by their own bootstraps.

There is an old hymn that speaks to this very idea. The song goes:

Come ye sinners, poor and needy
Weak and wounded, sick and sore
Jesus ready stands to save you
Full of pity, love, and power

My favorite line in the song is:

If you wait until you’re better
You will never come at all

With Jesus, it’s okay not to be okay, because he’s the one who can make you well. Jesus isn’t okay with us staying not okay forever, but he’s always willing to meet us where we are, no matter how bad it is.

However, you have to take the first step. When I was laid up in bed for six days, I had to be the one to make the phone call to schedule an appointment with the doctor. I had to take the initiative and admit that I needed help. It was only when I did that I was able to turn the corner and get well.

So, don’t wait to come to Jesus until you’re better, because without him you can’t get better. With Jesus, it’s okay not to be okay. He’s ready to receive you just the way you are.

* Photo Credit: keeperofthehome.org


2 Responses to “It’s okay not to be okay.”

  1. Laura Trimble

    I love this! I too think it’s not ok to not be ok. Thanks for the reminder! Great post!

  2. Joe Poelzer

    I have so many thoughts about this running through my head, so I will try to be concise. I also understand that no one can possible cover everything in a single blog post, however this concept has been hitting me from multiple avenues: a podcast I’m listening to (The Liberation Project: A Movement for Manhood – their series about faith) an article about authenticity (on the gospel coalition website), and a book I’m reading (When People Are Big and God is Small written by Ed Welch). As I’m thinking through this concept I believe we wrestle so much with believing the Truth of Jesus’ teaching about how he didn’t come for the righteous but the unrighteous because of what we have experienced in the church or by the examples of other Christians. Mainly the hurt, judgement, and hypocrisy of those that claim to be Christ-followers. This distracts us from fully believing and living in the freedom of the Gospel and truly being changed by it. Like a seasaw or swinging pendulum, we seek balance but find ourselves swinging back and forth between living in Truth and being consumed by what others might think if they really “knew” me. Thank you for writing this, and would welcome and opportunity to discuss this further.


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