Joyce Meyer - It's Okay Not to Be Okay
Well, I'm so glad that you're here, and I'm glad that I'm here, and that we're here together, and we're gonna have a wonderful time. You know, I have a very unique message that I'm gonna teach tonight. But it's something that I really feel God put on my heart, and I feel it's something that a lot of people will appreciate when they really start thinking about it. This message is called "It's Okay Not to Be Okay". It's OK not to be OK. I really feel that we need to become authentic in the church. And be honest about what we're going through. And be honest with one another. And I think there's a couple of reasons why people hold back on that. One, most people are not very good at keeping your secrets. And that's something that I feel really needs to change. We really need to learn to not tell other people's things. I mean, the Bible has a lot to say about discretion. And discretion means that you are not a babbler. It says in one of the translations.
You know, everybody's story is their own to tell. And you really shouldn't even have to be told, don't tell that. It should just be a thing in your heart that you just don't ever tell anybody's business, unless they've told you, "It's OK to tell this". And I think the other reason why people aren't really totally honest a lot of times about what they're going through is because we've been taught that if you're a person of faith, I don't know if we've been taught this, or if it's just the idea that people get that you should always be OK. I mean, if your faith is strong enough, then, bless God, God is your strength, and we've taught to be positive, you know, and all those things are right. There's not anything about that, that's wrong. But I think we have to find a balance to where people feel like they can share, because we are brothers and sisters in Christ, we're family. And I think there's a lot of people that are living lonely, isolated, almost like hidden lives, because they really don't feel like that, they can ever say, "I'm having a rough time," or, "I'm not doing so good," or, "I'm hurting right now," or whatever.
And for some reason, several weeks ago, I just began to notice that, you know, we all have this thing, "How are you"? "How are you doing, how are you"? We say that. It's kind of our greeting, "How are you"? And virtually, almost everybody says, "I'm fine," or, "I'm good," or, "Praise the Lord". And one day I thought, "You know what? They're not all fine. And they're not all good". And why is it that people are so afraid to say, "You know, I'm going through some stuff right now". We can still be positive and tell people the truth. And I just feel like that there would be so much freedom for people if they felt like they could do that. And I really think, we're going to look at the scripture more later, but because the Bible says, "Confess your faults to one another," I think sometimes just telling somebody something is like, especially for women, we need to vent. You know, and of course, you can do that to God. But sometimes, we just need that human touch from somebody else that's saying, "Hey, I understand. I'm sorry you're going through that. I'll pray for you".
And so, that's what I want to talk about. Because to be authentic, you have to be able to tell the truth, without fear of people judging you, criticizing you, thinking you don't have any faith. Because, really, when you get right down to it, we all go through things. So, why if somebody says, "I've had a rough week" why would we judge that as being somebody who doesn't have enough faith or shouldn't feel that way? When if we're honest, we all feel that way, at times, except we just don't wanna tell anybody. Now, maybe, sometimes you do, if it's a really good friend or something, but. You know, the other end of being out of balance is somebody who just complains all the time about everything they're going through. And they're always going through something. And they just tell you, and tell you, and tell you, and tell you, and tell you, and tell you, and tell you.
So, balance is always an important thing. Authenticity is letting go of who we think we are supposed to be, and becoming who we truly are. And I love that because, you know, we feel a lot of expectations from a lot of different people, even if sometimes they haven't told us they have that expectation, we feel that they do. I just really want us to be free to really be real with each other. So, sadly, we've discovered that if we are real with each other that not everybody keeps your secrets. And I think that's really sad. I actually, had a girl just, I've had a couple of really good confirmations that God wants me to teach this. I had a girl just last week, that I've known for many, many, many years, and she said to me, she said, "I would love to tell you something, but can I be guaranteed that you won't tell anybody"? And I said, "Absolutely". I mean, I have learned to keep my mouth shut.
And so, she told me some things, just some things that had happened to her, like 35, 40 years ago. And I just thought, "How sad is it that she had to keep that as a burden for 40 years? And felt like there was nobody that she could trust to tell that to". And when she got finished, she said, "Well, you know, what do you think"? I said, "I think that you've done exactly what you need to do. And I think this is gonna put an end to your problem". I really do believe that sometimes just releasing it. I mean, why do people go to counseling? I mean, what do you really do when you go to a counselor? And I think it's a wonderful profession. I don't mean this in any way, like to put it down, but, I mean, you pay somebody $100, $125, $150 an hour to listen to you talk. And really, what you're doing is you're telling your stuff to somebody that, by law, can't go tell it. But we need to be able to do that with one another.
Now, obviously, you have to use discretion yourself, because not everybody can be trusted, and not everybody is somebody that you want to know certain things. But we should all have some way of being honest without sounding like we don't have any faith and without sounding negative. So, sometimes, we are fine. And the more spiritually mature you are, the more often it may be that way. Because the more spiritually mature you become, you can be having a lot of problems and it really isn't bothering you, because you've had enough experience with God that you know how it's going to come out in the end. But I don't care how spiritually mature you are, at least this has been my experience, and I've been walking with God a long time, and I'm in the word a lot, and we just all have weak days. They may not be real often, but we all have days where we just, I mean, look at Elijah. And we're gonna look at his story. I mean, he's great man of God. Doing great feats one day and the next day wanting to kill himself.
And so, if it can happen to him, it can happen to us. Jesus on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me"? Well, I mean, that's about as bad as it gets if you really feel like that God has left you. And so, we're not always fine. And there's nothing wrong with saying, "You know, I had a really hard week and I would appreciate your prayers. But I know God will work something good out of this". The "But God" is the thing that always turns everything around. And it's amazing how often we find that in the scripture. I actually, just looked up, "Show me the scriptures that have 'but God' in 'em". And 20 came up right away. And some of the scriptures that I'm gonna read you, you're gonna see that some of the some of the greatest men of God, that we study about and admire and would like to be like, always told the truth about how they were feeling, and what they were going through. But they also always had a "But God" in there. They always ended in faith, and we can do that.
If the person that you're talking to digs for information, which some people do and shouldn't do, you can always just say to them, in a polite manner, "You know, I really don't wanna just continue to talk about it because I don't think it's gonna help me or anybody else, and so, but I would really appreciate your prayers, and I would appreciate your privacy, if you would keep things private for me". So, what do you think so far? Does this sound like anything that anybody might, anybody just... Let's see a show of hands, if you think we ever need this. Alright, discretion, the word discretion, which it is all over the place in Proverbs. It's the quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information. And if I had time to go around and ask each person, which I don't, I just wonder how many people, each one of you know that you can say, "I 100% believe that I can tell this person anything and they would not tell anybody".
I have a feeling not too many would have a real long list. And the sadder thing is, is some of you would have nobody. There would be nobody that you could say, "I know, that I know, that I know, that they would not tell anybody". I wonder how many people take medicine for anxiety, or depression, or some other kind of emotional difficulty that would not dare tell anybody. Because that particular area has a stigma attached to it, really like no other. We wouldn't have any problem telling somebody you're taking blood pressure medicine. Or you're taking medicine for, whatever, you know, anything, diabetes, or heart medicine, or a lot of things. But we sure don't wanna tell anybody we're taking medicine for bipolar disorder or, you know, whatever the case might be. And, here again, I got a great confirmation. A lot of times these letters don't even get to me, but I got a letter, don't even remember now, how I got it. But the girl said, "You are so open and you talk about so many things that help us so much, but I've never heard you talk about anxiety medicine. Would you please talk about it, so those of us who take it can stop being judged and criticized"?
So, I'm just gonna tell you and tell the world that I take anxiety medicine. And I have for a long time. That doesn't mean I don't have any faith. That doesn't mean that God hasn't healed me. It doesn't mean that I don't trust God. But God works in different ways. And I believe that every bit of medical technology that is good came from God. He is our healer. But the Bible does not say that he always does it miraculously. And I read a story about a priest who suffered with depression for so many years. I can't remember his name right now, but you'd probably recognize it, if I could. And his doctors finally got him to take, I think he was taking a medicine called Prozac. And he said he learned every morning when he popped that little white pill in his mouth to thank God for it because it changed his life.
Now, I've hesitated to tell people that, although I usually tell everything for this reason, I don't want everybody to say, "Well, if Joyce can do that, boy, let's all go get a bottle". I don't want it to be a license for everybody to just not try to work things out without doing that. And I did for many, many, many years, and my doctors finally, said Joyce, "You know, you're suffering needlessly". So, why would somebody like me who knows the word and, I think have a great relationship with God, why would I need to take anxiety medicine? Well, the first 15 years of my life, I was sexually abused by my father. You say, "Well, I thought you said God delivered you from that"? He has. But there's still effects on your physical body that as long as we have this physical body, until we get our new glorified body, we may still have some issues with.
If you fell and broke your leg in five places when you were little, chances are, you might always have a weakness in that leg. And so, we have to stop looking at emotions like they're some other whole area that's so different than the rest of our body. Because your emotions can get sick or damaged just like any other organ that you have. Because of being abused, and my mother not really doing anything about it, even though she knew it, because of living in a house that was full of fear, and full of anger, and ranting and raving and drunkenness and just all the things that go with that, and although, that hasn't happened to all of you, it has happened to many people, and if not that, something similar to that. Because of that I didn't really have any worth and value because my parents never talked to me in a way that would give me that.
So, when I did get away from home, I practically worked myself to death trying to prove that I had some kind of value. And even when I got into ministry, I still did it, I was just doing it for God. And, I mean, God only knows how hard I worked to get from where I started, to where I am. I look back at it and I think, "How did I survive all that"? I've had several major operations in my life: cancer, two hip replacements, hysterectomy. And you may be thinking, "Man, lady, you need to hear some teaching on healing". Well, see, that's the whole thing that we've gotta stop, you know, is assuming that if somebody goes a medical route instead of the miracle route, c'mon, that they've got something desperately wrong with them. And I honestly, believe, and I think I hear from God about my teaching, I honestly, believe that this is probably gonna help more people than what we can even imagine.
And I think, we just have to knock this devil in the head, so people can stop feeling condemned and fearful if they don't feel like they can get a miracle every time they have a situation in their life. And it's so bad if we judge somebody, who's maybe, dealing with something that we've never dealt with, but we certainly have an opinion about how they should handle it. Come on, do I need to say that again? So often, we've got so many opinions about what people should do, but they're dealing with stuff that we've never been through and never dealt with in our life. And then, even worse today, don't have the common sense not to put it on social media and tell the whole world. And I'm sorry, but that is just bad, bad, bad, if anybody does that. I also have an adenoma on one of my adrenal glands. And what that is, it's a type of a tumor, but it's not cancerous. It doesn't grow. Possibility, it's been there my whole life. But my doctor said that it can play havoc with my hormones, or with my neurotransmitters.
And so, like, I have a very strong immune system, but my adrenal glands are weak. That's why I have to be careful about having excessive stress in my life. And it's taken me, well, I'm 78 now, and it's taken me, I guess, that many years to figure that out. And several times, I made myself really sick. And we just need to stop doing that to ourselves, and do what we need to do. Now, I wouldn't mind it if somebody would clap about, right now, and act like you like this. So, let's think about some of the men in the Bible, and let's just see how they handled their problems. Paul, 2 Corinthians, 1:8 and 9. Now, I want you to listen to this 'cause this is a really good. And just to ask yourself, "Would I have the nerve to do this"? "We don't want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life itself".
I mean, come on, this is Paul. He wrote two thirds of the New Testament. And he's saying, "Our troubles were so bad, we didn't even know if we wanted to go on living". "Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might", but this, but, but, but, "But God," see? And here's the transition. "Here's my truth. Here's my situation. But here's the facts". Or maybe I should say it the other way. "These are the facts, this is what I'm going through. But the truth is"... "It's gonna end up well. It's gonna end up good". "But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead". So, wow. They had major problems. They hadn't sinned. They hadn't done anything wrong. He wasn't without faith because he told people what they were going through. He said, "But actually, God, let us go through this so we had enough sense to not depend on ourselves, but to depend on God".
And to be honest, I think because of the great way that God was using them, to be honest, when God is using you in a really, really big way, any of us can get full of ourselves. And so, sometimes, people that are being used the greatest, may end up having some of the biggest problems, not because they don't have any faith, but to keep them in faith, so they realize, "Hey, this is God. It's certainly not me, look at the way I feel. Look at what I'm going through". And how wonderful, how silly would it have been if they saw, Paul, "How are you doing, Paul"? "Fine. I'm good. Praise the Lord". I don't know about you, but I'm just tired of it. I mean, I just really want somebody to tell me the truth, and to be honest with me. "But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God".
2 Corinthians 4:8 and 9: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed: we're perplexed", in other words, they were confused, they didn't know what to do. "But we're not in despair: we are persecuted, but we are not abandoned: we are struck down, but we are not destroyed". You know, I don't get too weepy very often, but it would be really easy for me to bawl today just because I feel like, that people are so desperate to maybe hear a little of this, once in a while. And that doesn't mean we don't teach on faith, that doesn't mean we don't teach people to be positive. My gosh, that's our answer to our problems. But that doesn't eliminate having problems. Like I said before, we're family. If you can't be honest with your family, and do you know that most of us would feel more comfortable telling somebody what we were really going through that wasn't a Christian?
Come on. And that's really bad. Christians sometimes can be so judgmental. I'm gonna act like your mama, right now. Don't you ever judge, critically, judge another person because they have a weakness in an area, and they're going through a rough time. Especially, if your life has been great, recently. Don't say to people, "Well, you just need to believe God". "Well, I am believin' God". You're free to start telling the truth. And some people will judge you. Some people will criticize you, but somebody's got to get the ball rolling in the right direction, and it might as well be us. Amen? Come on, give God a big praise.