How are you doing? By that I mean, how are you *really* doing? Yesterday the receptionist at one of my doctor’s office (two appointments with doctors in one!!!) asked me this question and I was tired, tearful, and a plain ol’ mess. I thought about saying, “OK,” which would have been a bold-faced lie. I was clearly *NOT* OK. I told her that I was having a rough day. She smiled sympathetically, talked to talk to me about my dogs (usually a great topic), but I wouldn’t budge. I was not OK, and I couldn’t pull it together to have fake cheerful small talk. Sometimes small talk just seems so, well, small.
I needed someone pastoral to talk to, and since I don’t know the pastor at my new church that well, I decided to call my buddy, Brently, at First Pres in Bethlehem. He was OK with me not being OK, listened to me, and then he prayed for me. He told me that I totally need to check out the Christmas rock concert at the church next weekend and promised to give me two of the worship bands CD’s (I’m holding you to that, Brently). Thank you, Brently! After praying for me (over the phone, nonetheless) , I felt the Peace that surpasses all understanding–all because Brently took the time to listen to me when I was not OK.
Therefore, I want to offer a bit of advice for you when you’re not OK:
1. You’ve heard “fake it until you make it.” If I’m truly glum, faking it just makes it worse. Be honest. “Today I am not OK.” “Bad day.” “Dealing with some stuff.” And remember, if the person asks you if you want to talk, you aren’t required to talk. Just say, “No, thank you.”
2. God’s OK with you not being OK. He longs to comfort His child. Not being OK drives us to His arms. The world is brutal; we need God’s comfort. I like to journal my little heart out and read Psalms. All of them.
3. Talk to a safe person. Don’t give away pieces of your heart to people who can’t be trusted with it. Find someone who’s OK with you where you’re at and just let loose. It’s one of the best things you can do–to find God’s peace. (If you don’t have a safe person, pray that God will provide someone…or take a risk on someone you think could be safe. I mean, you could fall flat on your face. That will hurt, but it’s worth risking to find that person that will point you to God. And it’s not easy at all.) Be wise about this, though. Talking to the wrong person can be horribly painful.
4. Listen to Bebo Norman, lots of Bebo Norman. I’ve said in previous posts that Bebo Norman’s music has this incredible quality to calm me down and provide peace in many different moods. Find your “Bebo Noman”–an artist, a book, a Bible passage, whatever, that comforts you and draws you into the heart of God, that calms your spirit, that helps you with not being OK.
I know these tips aren’t earth-shattering or anything. They probably won’t change the world. You probably know and utilize them already, but this is what’s on my heart. And maybe, just maybe, there’s someone out there who needed to be reminded that it’s OK to NOT be OK as much as I did this morning.
I’m thankful to report by my NOT OK has returned to OK, thanks to the prayers of faithful friends. I love you, guys!
Now that we’ve had our little affirmation session for the week, let’s get on to those Friday Faves, shall we?
*Last week I told you about the splediferous Jason Gray CD giveaway I’m doing here on Backseat Writer to celebrate “Remind Me Who I Am” hitting #1 on iTunes. Apparently, you didn’t get the message, so I’m extending the giveaway a little bit. GO ENTER THE GIVEWAY FOR AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF A WAY TO SEE IN THE DARK!!! Even if you already own the album, enter if you know someone who NEEDS this album. Seriously. I want this album to go to a person who needs it. Enter so we can make that happen.
*Earlier this week, Jenny Jones posted this video from Preston Leatherman I just had to re-share it here. The videos this character does are hilarious. Check out his version of “Footloose.” Looks like he’s at Target, Wegman’s. The mall. And wearing Tom’s Shoes, which I can’t wear because I have wide feet, but I’m glad Preston can wear ’em. And getting folks to dance with him. Preston reminds me of Sue Heck’s “boyfriend” in “The Middle.” This just makes me smile–might be a good thing to watch on those not OK days. You gotta give Preston Leatherman mad props for the creative promotion of his music, which I kind of like.
*’Tis the season for FREE CHRISTMAS MUSIC! Amazon always offers free downloads (25 days of Christmas songs–a new one each and every day), but there is a plethora of Christmas selection, including MXPX’s “Punk Rawk Christmas.” While I’ve outgrown my punkish MXPX days, maybe you haven’t! (And if you have, there are lots of other songs to make your days be merry and bright, like Leigh Nash’s “O Holy Night“! How I adore Leigh Nash. You can also snag Eisley’s version of the song. It’s my very favorite carol, so I can never have too many copies of it.). Also, my favorite site for checking out new artists, NoiseTrade, has a bunch of great music, which you can get for exchanging information, telling your pals about what you’re downloading (and leave a tip if you enjoy the music, so that artists can keep doing it). Personally, I’m enjoying Folk Angel’s three-song sampler as well as Merry Christmas, Good Night, which is a smattering of various artists, and A Child Is Born by Sojourn (though somehow I obstained Advent Songs, which I can’t find on NoiseTrade right now).
*Musician Shaun Groves wrote an excellent post on his blog called, “Fan Mail,” about how he thought he was going to save the Christian music industry, but then realized how music, even the music some disdain, has the power to change people’s lives because of God. Great post!
*My friend, Amanda Danziger, makes indie documentaries about the plights of impoverished people. So far, she’s talked about street kids in Africa, women living in the slums of India, and now she’s taking on the City of Brotherly Love with her latest project, “The Backyard Philly Project.” The video above explains what the project is all about, and I’d like you to consider giving to this project. I know I will!
I have more to share, but our attention spans are so short in this day and age. I know I’m already tired of reading this post, so have a wonderful weekend and do leave a comment because it makes me more than OK. (And you don’t have to answer all of the questions, or any of them. I just write them to invite conversation.)
What is something you read, saw, encountered that intrigued you this week? How do you deal with not being OK? How’s the Christmas shopping going? What kind of cookies are you making? Would you dance in the mall with an iPod? Are you ready to fall asleep from exhaustion? (I am!)