“I’m going through a lot of pain and agony in my life right now. . . but God is good! I’ll be fine. I’ll get over it. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s okay, God is in control and everything will work out in the end. How are you?” 

I’ve heard these lines automatically arrive after two seconds of someone admitting their pain and then follow the hours of covering it up countless times.

Friend, who taught you to cover up your pain in layers of “it’s okay” just so you’d look like someone who has enough faith to help someone in theirs?

How often have you shut your own pain out because you were afraid you might discourage someone in their relationship with God? How many times have you brushed it off and held in those tears because you were afraid to show how affected you really were? How common is it for you to not talk about it because you were afraid to tell anyone just how fragile you felt for all that you were going through?

While these are all understandable concerns, it is in acknowledging that you don’t want to be afraid anymore that you take a step toward being brave, honest, free, and real. For you must know that your being not okay is no threat to your faith. Instead, it can be the very place where grace is ready to meet you where you are.

To further understand this truth, let us first uncover the concern of why we may think that we have to be okay in order to help someone in their relationship with Christ.

You think it is your responsibility to keep someone saved in the faith.

And so you have to be okay.

You think not being okay in the middle of a crisis means you are not trusting God enough.

And so you have to be okay.

You think you cannot help someone if you are not okay.

And so you have to be okay.

Are these things true? Are they in line with who Christ created us to be? Do these thoughts express the Gospel of grace we claim to believe?

Living out our faith to encourage others will always be something we do as Christians. But do you remember how many times Job’s story of suffering related to yours? Do you remember how many nights David and the psalmists’ cries to the Lord sang accurately about yours? Do you remember how many moments Jesus’ tears and gentle spirit allowed you to just be? The very essence of our faith is that we were first saved by God’s grace. Because of Christ’s love and compassion for us, you are given the grace to be.

Grace to walk beside someone at the right pace knowing that you both need saving.

Grace to sit and cry with others in silence when they find it difficult to trust God at times.

Grace to be honest about what we are going through, even when we are not okay, too.

Grace is best seen in relationships. In the same way that Jesus personally reached out to us and related to all that we go through, we can also extend grace to those around us, allowing them to deeply experience Christ in the best possible way: in the context of relationship.

According to interpersonal neurobiology, we are who we are because of our relationships, and these connections, old and new, will continue to change us. We were never meant to go through anything alone because we were made to need each other. We were designed in the context of being created to have a relationship with God and people. So it is okay to reach out. You don’t have to pretend. You CAN talk about it.

There is enough grace for you here.

The same way the body of Grace came to meet you in the middle of your pain, so can your presence empathize with and sit through the pain of others even when you don’t see the light just yet. As uncomfortable as it is to sit in the darkness with painful emotions, that is where light is best seen. Wait for it, together.

For the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

You can let go of the pressure of having to fix every problem that comes your way. Instead, wait and watch the tombstone roll away, together.

You can let go of the control of having to be okay all the time. Instead, wait for the rain clouds to subside and watch the sun set in the sky with a spectrum of color, together.

You can let go of the burden of having to make those around you okay. Instead, wait for the night to pass and watch the sun rise again as dawn appears when it is time, together.

You can let go of the fear of not being okay and allow yourself to experience all that God is willing to graciously give: great comfort and deep compassion. Right here, right now, right when you need it.

Yes, He is Savior; But He is also Friend.

You can be a friend to those around you because Christ is Friend to you.