Life in the Fast Lane


Okay to be Okay

By 2:14 PM , , , , , ,

Disclaimer: This is one of the more personal posts that I've decided to share with the world, and I hope that this doesn't alienate anyone, or make anyone feel bad. My only hope in writing this is to encourage people who are doing "okay" at this point in their lives.

We know that God uses the tough times in people’s lives to make them stronger and to build their character. When you counsel someone, or go through tough times yourself, you’ll see verse after verse in the Bible that tells you how God can turn things around for you. One such verse is Romans 5:3-4: “… we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Photography and lettering c/o me.

In recent weeks and months, I’ve come to admire a great number of people who’ve displayed extraordinary faith despite one hurdle after another, after another. And I’ve seen the ripple effect their strength and resilience have brought about: other people have come to Christ because of them, and others have rekindled their relationship with the Lord and reignited their passion to serve and depend on Him.

But lately, I’ve also wondered what good can come of those whose lives are just “okay”: no big drama, no overwhelming insight, no life changing event, and no news to share.

One day, over dinner with good friends, we got to exchange what had been going on in each other’s lives, as conversations usually go with people you haven’t seen in a while. I marvelled at what God had been doing in their lives and how wise they’ve become because of it. When it was my turn to share, I was stumped for a good minute or so. I realized that I didn’t really have anything to report; at least nothing earthshaking as of late. I was embarrassed in a way, because I felt that recent circumstances in my life seemed boring by comparison, and that my friends wouldn’t be able to benefit from what I was sharing.

Of course no one’s life is perfect, and I, too, have had my share of challenging times over the course of my 30+ years on earth: disappointments, loss, feelings of failure, regret, a world of hurt, moments of self-doubt, moments of insecurity. But when I’m actually doing “okay”, I do feel like I have to apologize for those times: when there’s nothing tragic going on, nothing devastating, or nothing even remotely exciting or inspiring — especially when I know that others are going through something. It makes me wonder if my “okay-ness” causes others to close themselves off against me when I want nothing more than to let them know that I'm interested in their lives, that I understand them, that I’m praying for them, that I empathize with them, that I’m there for them.

This made me think: how, then, does God use people whose lives are seemingly “okay”?

Google the phrase “God uses” plus the word “times”, and you will most likely end up with “bad” or “challenging” or “tough” times. Rarely, if not never, will you get a hit that speaks of “good times”.

This, plus my moments of “okay-ness”, made me think: am I here because it’s not going to last for long? Because at some point, I have to be prepared to fall, to get hurt, to be tested? Is it like a vacation where you feel you’re having the best time, but at some point, you know it’s going to end?

Honestly, when I read Ecclesiastes 7:14, it sounded quite ominous and almost threatening, even: “Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.”

This made me go: “Lord, are you saying that when times are good, it’s as if we’re at the top of a roller coaster loop and you just want us to brace ourselves for the inevitable drop?”

However, coming across Isaiah 55:8 took on a whole new meaning for me: “'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.”

This made me reflect on God’s sovereignty and the fact that He operates differently. Normally, I associate this verse with how God’s will is different from ours, especially when we have certain things on our prayer list. But this time around, it reminded me that He can use people’s good or bad times as He pleases, and that the reasons behind His doing so may or may not make sense to us.

Furthermore, another oft-recited verse also came to mind upon further reflection and digging: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

One can deduce a few things from this verse, and these, in particular, jumped out right at me: that (a) this is directed towards God’s children and servants in particular; and, (b) the apostle Paul used the phrase “all things”.

“All things” encompasses the bad times and the good times (and everything in between). It gave me comfort to know that the bad times people go through in life do not necessarily outweigh the good ones in terms of how God can use people or cause them to grow. The end objectives may be different, and the ways to get there could be worlds apart, but both could be used for His glory, and to minister to other people equally and in various ways.

If you’re in a current state of “okay-ness”, maybe you’re in it to give those in tough times a glimmer of hope that someday, they’ll also be able to experience the same thing. Maybe the fact that you’re even willing to listen to someone, to pray with and for them, and to empathize with them is enough for now. Maybe you don’t see what your purpose is for being this way, but perhaps they do, and God certainly does. Maybe God is teaching you to just trust in Him, especially if you’re doubting if this season of “okay-ness” will end, because He wants you to know that He wants to bless you and not cause you harm. Maybe this is a time of learning not just for those He wants you to minister to, but even for you. Maybe He wants you to "taste and see that (He) is good" (Psalm 34:8) and to experience a similar kind of goodness.

In other words, I guess it’s okay to be perfectly “okay”, and you shouldn’t ever think that it is your fault that you’re doing okay right now.

Someday, there may be a point in your life wherein your world will flip upside down and you’ll be the one who will need reassurance from those going through “okay” times. That’s when you can look back on when you were doing “okay” and remember how He blessed you.

In the meantime, you can revel in this period of “okay-ness”, knowing that this is exactly where He wants you to be.

I know I am, and I’m thankful for that.

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  1. This is a blessing. Sometimes you've got to enjoy the mountain and it's views because someday you have to go down to the valley. But either way, the God of the mountain and the valley are just one and the same. Have a blessed weekend Tina. XD

    1. Hey, Earl! Haven't heard from you in the longest time! Indeed, we must cherish the times we're up in the mountains and make the most of them while we can. :)

      Hope you're well! God bless your weekend!

  2. Sigh...I'm going through a break-up, this is just what I needed to read. Thanks.

    1. I just saw this now. I hope you're doing okay! God bless you!


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