It’s okay to not be okay.  I want you to take a moment and just BREATHE.  Acknowledge what you can control and what you cannot control.  We can all fall into the trap of having to make our lives look “perfect” from the outside in, when the reality is life is hard, we all struggle at times, we all need help at times, and most importantly not one of us is perfect.  It is very easy to get caught up in life’s messes where we do not know which end is up.  Our perspectives get distorted.  Regardless of what we tell ourselves or how others see us, that picture-perfect life is not a reality.  In fact, God created us with a need and a desire to do life together, not alone.  First and foremost God needs to be our center, our all in all, our everything. Let’s take a look at scripture for a minute here.  Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  When we live with God at the first of everything, the struggles of life are easier to handle.  This is not to say that we will not have struggles, quite the opposite.  Living a life for God almost guarantees struggles.  The enemy does not want you in the game, in the battle.  He wants you on the sidelines, not participating.  When we are ineffective he does not need to take us out.  Keep this in mind during your current struggle and your next struggle.  What you are facing now may very well be preparing you for what comes next? It is during these seasons that we need to be real, authentic, and raw with those around us; SPEAK UP, ASK FOR HELP, ASK FOR PRAYER.  It is when you sit in the difficulties of life alone that the enemy gains control.  Even to the point of convincing us that we deserve our current circumstance and that God will not hear our prayers.  The enemy can be sneaky at making us feel unworthy, unloved.  No matter how small or how big your situation may be, SPEAK UP and REACH OUT.  Sometimes you might just need to share with someone else what is going on.  This could very well lead to the other person opening up and sharing what is going on in their life too.  It helps us when we do not feel alone in our struggles.  Even if our struggles are not the same it helps us to not feel singled out, as if we are on island, all alone.  I have been there my friend.  When the walls were closing in and my world turned upside down.  I got to the point when people asked if I was okay I said, “no, but I will be.”  To some I opened up a little, to others, I opened up a lot.  Not everyone needed to know the details, however, I wanted to be honest, I was not okay.  I was struggling and struggling hard.  Some people asked how I was doing because they could tell I was not okay.  Other people asked how I was doing simply because that is what we do in our culture.  It is one of the ways we greet each other.  How quickly do you ask someone how they are doing and move on before they answer or not really listen to their response?  This last season of not being okay made me be more aware of those around me. We need to take the time to slow down and really listen.  If we want people around us to share in our struggles we need to be willing to do the same.  You will find at times that you go through struggles at the same time as others.  There will also be seasons where you go through struggles at different times as those around you.  Make no mistake, those God has put in your life are there for a reason.  Just like you have been put in other people’s lives for a reason.

If you are walking in a season of not being okay, it’s okay.  It can be painful, ugly, and messy; but it’s okay.  YOU ARE LOVED.  You were created on purpose and for a purpose.  This current season you are walking through may feel like the end, your mind may very well be spinning in circles trying to make sense of what is going on.  Sometimes in life the junk we have to walk through does not make sense, at the the time.  I promise you, if you keep pushing through, God will use these ashes and turn them into beauty.  It might not be right away but God will not let the messes of life override the Beauty he has planned for you and in you.

Do not sit alone in your mess.  It is very easy to get lost in our own thoughts.  Make God first in your life and keep the lines of communication with others open.  In-person is the best way to stay in touch with others, however, we live in a world where we can be “connected” with anyone and everyone right at our fingertips.  Do not let the digital world over take your in-person connections.  Remember you are not alone.  

It might be obvious to you that your are struggling.  This does not mean everyone around you knows or is aware.  They may hesitate to ask what is going on unless you open up on your own.  Make sure to stay active, enjoy a walk or some time of outdoor activity that will get your body moving.  What you put into your body and your mind will impact your mental and physical health.  It is important to be aware of this especially if you are walking through a difficult season.  In the months to come we will dig deeper into different areas that we each struggle in.  We will take a look at ways to stay healthy overall, mentally, physically, and spiritually.  As we take a deeper look into these areas we’ll complete monthly check-in’s to see how each of us are doing.  

Until then, I leave you with one last scripture.  This is one I say in times of needing to remember that the Lord holds me in the palm of his hand, regardless of what my circumstances look like, Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Be a blessing,

Jennifer Lull