It’s okay to not be okay, is a something we hear often today. For some reason, I couldn’t wrap my head around until I found biblical truth to it and a promise!
To be clear, I don’t mean unpacking 2 Corinthians 12:9. Which is what you’ll find if you search the internet for what does the Bible say about; is it okay to not be okay?
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
While I love this passage, and it is the a foundational truth to, it’s okay to not be okay; in my search through God’s Word I found more biblical truth.
Truth that not only justified how I felt, but truth that showed me something more.
I Was Not Okay
For almost a year, I was not okay. I had a bone infection that led to numerous infections. As a result, I was isolated, and experienced extreme fatigue, which made me feel non-productive.
This prevented me from being social. I was unable to maintain my normal physical routine, which led to weight gain. Keep in mind this was also around the time we closed our church.
I felt lost and began to question God. Where do I belong? And what’s my purpose?
To put it plainly, I was not okay. Although many say it’s “okay, to not be okay” that did not resonate with me.
There was nothing “okay” about this for me. Until, I read Psalms 126 and discovered a biblical truth; that changed my heart and perspective about my current circumstance.
It’s Okay To Not Be Okay
Psalms 126 (NLT); “When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! 2 We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” 3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. 5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”
Let me give you some context to this passage. Psalm 126 is considered a hymn of thanksgiving for restoration of God’s people and restored prosperity as the Israelites returned to their homelands to rebuild.
Verse 1 Through 3 Explained
In versus 1-3 God’s people are remembering and thanking God for what He did for them. God brought them out of exile. In which they were no longer captive and freed from Egyptian bondage.
These blessings were so great that even nations who watched them recognized the blessings, upon them.
Verse 4 Explained
In verse 4, God’s people are now petitioning God to bless them once again like He did before.
Psalm 126:4 (NLT); “Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert.”
To use the word restore, indicates they once had fortunes. However, somewhere those fortunes were lost, and now they want restoration.
In addition, using the metaphor, as streams renew the desert, describes the dried up season they are currently in. Now, they’re seeking God out of desperation to help in their present circumstance.
They continued their petition to the Lord with verse 5 and 6.
Verse 5 And 6 Explained
Psalm 126:5-6 (NLT); “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”
The rebuilding of Jerusalem took time, and the people of Isreal were discouraged. They couldn’t live on yesterday’s joy no more than their ancestors could live on yesterday’s manna. As the scriptures instructed them to go out each day to get fresh manna.
In their discouragement of their present circumstance, they had to find a new daily joy.
Remember, in verse 4, the people are calling upon the Lord to restore their blessings in the dry desert. As the water turns their desert into a garden, they can rejoice with joy again.
In verse 5 and 6, not only do we see the biblical truth where it’s okay to not be okay, we also find the instruction and promises to stand on this truth.
So let’s break that down.
Psalm 126:5 (NLT); “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.”
Let’s look at the words; plant, tears, harvest and joy.
To plant tears means there is a weeping or sorrow before the Lord in private or public (think about how hearts are overwhelmed with emotions during worship at church, etc.). And this weeping is not just a physical weeping. This can also be a weeping of being mentally drained or weighed down from spiritual distress.
Shouts of Joy– to shout means to speak something out loud. So to have shouts of joy means, there is a praise flowing through your lips based on what you know (God’s Word), not how you feel. Clearly if you’re planting in tears, you’re not joyful in the natural.
But pay close attention to what the scripture says. Those who plant in tears will harvest.
Which means in our tears, in our pain, in our sorrow, we are planting seeds.
We are going before the Lord in our weeping, and in return, we reap a harvest or a blessing of joy!
Verse 6 makes this more plain.
Psalm 126:6 (NLT); “They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.”
Let’s look at the words plant their seed and return with the harvest.
In order to return with a harvest (blessing), they had to first, plant their seed. But notice the first part of the verse says they weep as they go to plant their seed.
Which means in their tears, they are planting seeds. There is a doing – an action we must take, in our sadness, to reap a harvest.
Where you plant your seed of tears matter.
Who are you crying to? Where are you planting in tears? Are you going to God, your War Room, accountability partner, or Brother or Sister in Christ? They will weep with those who weep, but they won’t let you stay in that place.
Or are you planting tears with others who aren’t okay and are having a pity party?
These shouts of joy aren’t feelings you have. Rather, a spirit of joy, springing forth in your brokenness from being in the presence of God.
The Bible tells us when we cry out to God, He listens!
Psalm 120:1 (KJV) “In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.”
Psalm 34:4 (NLT) “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.”
Psalm 34:6 (NLT) “In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.”
Joy comes from what you know, not how you feel. It’s okay to be sad, but be joyful in your sadness. How?
Joyful in your sadness is in the doing. We see this phase in verse 6; as they go.
As the people of Isreal endured hardship while waiting on God, they planted, in their tears, petitions before the Lord.
They asked God for a new outpouring of divine blessing (harvest). And they sung praises in their waiting, being joyful in their pain because they were confident that since God did it for them before, He will do it again.
He will relieve them from their current anxiety as they plant seeds in their tears so they can reap a harvest!
Reaping a harvest that brings a song of praise to our heart is determined by what we sow in our sadness, when we are not okay.
So I ask you friends, what are you sowing (planting) in your tears – your current state of not being okay?
Are you just soaking in your feelings and saying it’s okay for me to not be okay; I’m just going to stay here for as long as it takes for my feelings to catch up with my spirit.
Or are you going to plant seeds in your sorrow so you can reap a harvest of joy and blessing?
How To Plant Seeds When You’re Not Okay
Planting seeds often referred to as doing good works.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
In your tears, you can plant seeds of good works such as: serving, giving, walking in love, working unto the Lord, serving your family, fellowship, etc.
Therefore, when we plant seeds of good works in our tears, we can rejoice with joy from the harvest, which will cause us to sing with praise!
In my tears over this last year, I chose to show up and serve in a Laundry Love project with my picc line, looked for ways to give, and continued serving our LOP community.
The forced down time to heal gave us the time we needed to finish writing our new devotional – Intentional Devotions to help others pursue a lifestyle of spending time with God.
You see, once I took the focus off of how bad I was feeling, in my tears we put our hand to the plow to help others.
When we received feedback from families who were blessed by us serving the community, how by helping them with their laundry, they were able to buy groceries, we said praise God.
Hearing people tell us how our devotional has helped them to have daily time with God caused us to praise God.
Was I still in pain? Yes. Was I still isolated, waiting for healing? Yes. But in my planting of seeds in my tears, it brought a harvest of joy! It brought strength to my spirit and joy to my heart.
If you sow sparingly because of how you feel, you will reap sparingly.
Don’t Give Up
I get it. There are times you don’t feel like it. However in the process of sowing and reaping we must be patient.
“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].” ~ Hebrews 11: 6 (AMPC)
Joy comes from what we know! So if you don’t know what God’s Word says in your sadness of not being okay, spend some time, knowing who God is through His word.
Find joy in remembering what God has done for you in the past and what we know He will do for you in the future based on His Word and not your present circumstance.
“But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure.”~ Romans 8:25 (NLT)
If we want joy in our sadness, we must plant seeds in our sadness. Because if we do not sow, we cannot reap a harvest.
Sowing in isolation and neglecting good works, will only reap heartache and loneliness.
There is a time for isolation to; fast, pray, meditate or even rest. However, when we take too much time of isolation because we’re not in a good place mentally, isn’t good and can become a slipper slope.
Connected To The Body of Christ
Not being a part of a local Body of Christ can contribute to feeling lost. Once we took a year’s sabbatical of rest after the closing of our church, we sought God as to where He would place us to fellowship with a local body and use our gifts.
When we found our new church home, there was a void filled in our heart’s that began the healing process of feeling lost. There’s a reason the Bible tells us not to neglect the assembly of believers.
And the revelation God showed me was that although we were in a season of rest, when we are not okay, staying isolated from the church body; is the last thing we should do.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” ~ Hebrews 10:25 (AMPC)
In The End
I don’t know what you’re going through that has caused you to not be okay. But I do know that God can restore the dry places in your life.
Yes it’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay in that place and soak.
Like the Israelites, remind yourself what God has done for you in the past. Then with humility, go before the Lord and plant seeds of good works (walk in love, serve others, and give to those in need) in your tears (sorrow, sadness, anxiety, or depression).
~ Timberley Gray