This is Halle.Isn’t she beautiful?!?!?!?!?! I have known her for what feels like forever. It’s probably actually only been like six years. Anyways, I am always inspired when I’m with Halle and today was no different. But this time, we talked about something rather difficult: being okay.
I am always “okay.” Somehow I make it out of bed and into class (nearly) every morning. I usually have fun living life. I really can’t complain. My life is busy, exciting and blessed, which is really all I could ask for. But as Halle and I shared our lives with each other she mentioned how often we get screwed over by what kinds of pain people say is okay. For example, there are many times when I’m scared, panicking, or loosing my mind over something seemingly small and someone will say: “Sarah, its okay. Everything is okay.” Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes it is just a little thing that shouldn’t have the power to ruin my life for a week. BUT sometimes, my pain IS actually a big deal. And sometimes its NOT okay.
Throughout my journey with anxiety many people have told me that it’s okay to not be okay. And I get that. That’s true. Life isn’t perfect and I hate that. So do we all. No one has a painless life. But sometimes, if I’m scared, there’s a reason, and you need to believe me. I have spent a lot of time trying to convince people that I’m actually in pain and that its important to pay attention to me. Because its not always okay to not be okay.
So much of dealing with anxiety and panic disorder is trying to find the balance between when its okay to be falling apart and when its not. Falling apart because I got a bad grade on an exam may be a bad idea for me. Falling apart because I hurt someone on accident might be more reasonable. People pull me in so many different directions. As Halle and I laughed about, we often feel like our hearts and minds are two very separate beings from ourselves. And when we get confused…sometimes its okay and sometimes its not. If I’ve learned anything this week its that no one else can tell me what is okay and what is not.
But I’ve also learned that I CAN’T do it either. I’m always caught up in what I want verses what I think is right that I don’t know how these things will ever come together. I loose myself within myself, trying to listen to everyone around me, desperately wishing they could simply tell me what to do and how to get rid of my anxiety. But then I come before God. I’m usually worn out by this point, struggling to grasp some life out of my merry-go-round of searching for okay-ness. As though he doesn’t know my fears. And then I read this:
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me
That’s what Jesus said in John 10. He KNOWS me. He KNOWS its not always okay. He knows when it is okay. But he simply wants me to listen to his voice. Usually I find that when I go to God with my panic-driven heart I find that instead of telling me whether or not I’m okay…he simply says, “Sarah. Listen to me. I know you. You are known. Know me. Just know me.”
That’s a very different answer than the one I want. But as I spoke with Halle again this afternoon I realized that truly, when I hear his voice, I AM okay. I can go in circles trying to figure out how I’m doing and whether or not its the right thing. But at the end of the day, the thing the Lord cares about most…is whether or not I know him and listen to his voice. His voice calling me into himself.