When someone asks you how you are doing, do you ever wish you could scream, “I’M NOT OKAY!!!” instead of the generic, “I’m fine”?Well, for the past two weeks I have been reviewing a book by Sheila Walsh called, “It’s okay not to be okay.” Today I will be discussing this book and my thoughts on it. If you enjoy it, please make sure to share this, and comment below with something that really stood out to you.
In this day and age, especially as women, we tend to compare ourselves with others, and look at what we don’t have verses what we have been given. In the first half of the book Walsh shares that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, He doesn’t even want us to be okay, all He ask of us is to trust Him with our lives and take each day one step at a time. Mrs. Sheila writes, “You don’t have to be perfect, just present. You can pour out your what-ifs to the Lord. When you take a step and things seem to go wrong, God is working, God is faithful, and God is a God of grace.” One of my favorite verses in the bible is Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”* It doesn’t say that everything in life will be good; but what it does say is that God will cause what was bad in our lives to turn around for our good. So that child abuse? God didn’t cause it, but later in life you will meet someone who was or is currently being abused and you can tell them that life may seem like it’s over, but there will be a brighter day! Isn’t that awesome?!?! What about losing someone you love dearly? Yes, they may have died, but instead of asking why it happened, what about asking yourself how you can bring glory to God and share his love with others during this time? I know it looks bad, and I have seen my fair share of heartache and pain – whether in my own life, or in the lives of those close to me.
Mrs. Sheila ends each chapter with exercises to help you put into practice what you just read. These are really great, and I encourage you to do each one of them. About three weeks ago I lost a dear friend of mine, and this book couldn’t not have come at a better time. Doing the exercises at the end has really helped me during this time, and I have been able to really grieve well without getting lost in deep depression. In chapter seven Mrs. Sheila says something that I think really sums up the book as a whole, “Christ meets us where we are. He doesn’t leave us there, but that’s where our journey begins. What’s not okay is to pretend you are okay when you’re not. Moving forward takes courage, but you will never walk one step of that journey by yourself. Christ is always with us.” Throughout the book she talks about journey and taking steps toward our healing. I not only believe this is a book every human being on the face of this earth needs to read this, but I think by applying these tools she implements, we will start to see a difference in our churches and communities and begin to see true change all around us.
Get your copy of Sheila Walsh’ new book, “It’s Okay Not To Be Okay” today at Amazon, or wherever books are sold. Remember to share this, comment below with something that stood out to you, and have an awesome day!
Truth: Contentment begins with asking how God might use this for His glory.
I was doing my devotional this morning and checking my email when I found a great article in my inbox. The email was from Faith Gateway and was written by Laura Story, it was entitled, “When We ask Why, God? Why?” I will include the link below of the full article, but I just want to share something that was on my heart after reading it. Most of us assume if we had all the answers to life – or at least our own – questions we would be much happier and really be able to live the life we were supposed to live. However, from reading the article, and through my own life experiences, I have found that all this does is leave us confused, usually without the answer, and often times with even more questions that when we started. So how does one go about living life content and with purpose in a world that tries to leave us brokenhearted?
There are three things from the article that I would like to share with each of you; first, God loves questions, he actually encourages them, and we are encouraged to write down our “WHY” questions. Second, we are not entitled to answers, there is nowhere in scripture that says God has to answer our questions, He is God and we are not! Finally, I have noticed that when we shift our focus from our past hurts and failures, and look to God to how He can both make good come out of them as well as receive the glory in the midst, then that is how we can fully embrace contentment and joy.
God loves questions
In another study I did recently, I learned about how God loves questions, and all throughout the Bible we see a back and forth of God and humans creating dialogue through questions. The only time God is upset with questions is when we question His identity and power, aside from this, when we are honest and we want to know Him more, as well as seeking answers to why someone or something has hurt us and left us brokenhearted, God encourages us to present our questions to Him. I wrote down all the “WHY’s” I could think of after reading the article, and honestly, even though it was nice to see them on paper, I was confused still because they were still unanswered. I encourage you to do the same, and maybe you will have some answers, then again maybe not. However, regardless of the outcome, I think it is healthy to write down the questions you have.
Go ahead, right now each one of your questions on a piece of paper…go on, I will wait right here for you.
Done? Next we will talk about entitlement, and how it can breed bitterness when we don’t have the answers we are seeking.
We are not entitled to answers
No matter what you were taught about God as a child, or what you have come to believe as an adult, we are not entitled to answers. God is the creator of heaven and earth, He rules over everything and everyone, and He has no rival. There is no one to compare Him to, and He is holy and powerful. Because of this, He doesn’t have to answer to us, explain Himself, or do anything for us. In saying that, God chose to love us, send His son for us, and grant us mercy and grace each day as we look to Him and call on Him in prayer. He does these things because He is love, and we are His creation; just like a parent who doesn’t have to do anything for a child because they did so much by bringing them into the world, yet they choose to love them and do good things for them, this is the same with our Heavenly Father. In short, God doesn’t owe us answers, and we may never get them, in this life or the next. However, this shouldn’t stop us from trusting Him and His plan for our lives. If your child wanted to play in a busy street and you said no, yet they kept fussing and asking why you won’t let them, does that mean you are a horrible parent? No, you know what is best for them, even if they can’t see the bigger picture. This is what I am talking about! Trust Him, because He sees the bigger picture, and has our best interest at heart. When we focus on why’s of our past and our circumstances, we begin to become bitter because our questions don’t seem to be answered or they aren’t answered the way we think they should be. We get so focused on them, and ultimately can waste our life on something that could be a stepping stone to our purpose – when instead becomes a stumbling block and leaves us stuck. So how do we move past this?
Focusing on the HOW rather than the WHY
We’ve learned that God loves questions, and he even encourages them. We learned that we are not entitled to receive answers, because we can’t see the bigger picture, and focusing on our past will only lead to bitterness and regret. And finally, we are going to see that when we focus on the how instead of the why, we will find true contentment and joy.
Laura shares in the last part of the article how she learned to focus on HOW God can use her past and the pain in her circumstances to bring glory to Himself, and turn things around for good. Laura goes on further to explain that by focusing on the how, instead of the why she was able to fully trust God no matter what the outcome was, if she ever got answers or not, and use those hurts and fears to help someone else in need. On that same sheet of paper you wrote your WHY’s, flip it over and begin writing your HOW questions.
Write down How God can be magnified in the dark times, in loss of life or a relationship, in the times where you don’t understand how good could come out of something ugly. A few questions that were posed in the article are below to help get you started:
How might God use your current trial to glorify Himself?
How might God use your weakness, infirmity, or disability to display His power?
How might God use your hard circumstances to show you something about Himself?
How might God use your hard circumstances to show you something about yourself?
How might God use your pain for a purpose? How might God make this mess into a message?
How might God use your current chaos to make you into a man or woman who walks by faith, not by sight?
How might God use your situation to show you that true peace is found only in Him?
How might God use an untimely death to stir the hearts of others and show them the importance of eternal security in the life to come?
After you write them down, come back here as we finish up…go ahead, I am not going anywhere.
How did you feel after writing down the HOW’s? Was it much easier than you thought, did you find a sense of relief, or maybe more answers that what you had in your WHY’s? If you are still stuck in your WHY’s at the moment, that is ok, just stay there and talk to God about it. Don’t wallow, but allow yourself to process those questions, and then when you are comfortable come back to that sheet and write down your HOW’s. For me, I found an overwhelming peace come over me, a confirmation of things God has already been speaking to me, and almost as if things were actually going to be ok. After reading this article and doing the exercise, I have realized that it is ok to not know everything. At the end of the day, I can have peace and joy without having all my questions answered. I don’t know about you, but my peace, joy, and contentment – and let’s be honest, even my sanity – are worth more than getting answers. Regardless if I ever get an answer to my questions in this life or the next, I am making a stand, I am putting my foot down if you will, and I am choosing to trust God in the midst of hard times and choose to focus on How He can get the glory and how I can help others through my story and my experiences.
If you enjoyed this and want to read the full article for yourself, then click here. Don’t forget to come back here afterwards to share your thoughts, as well as your WHY/HOW questions. Look forward to talking with you again soon.
You are awesome, loved, and I accept you! Stay beautiful people!