If you’re reading this, then you’ve probably heard these words before: “I’m good.” You may have even said that this week. Someone asks the simple question, “How are you?” and our common response is short and vague. But what’s lurking behind that response? Let’s move beyond “I’m good.”
Until my current season of life, “I’m good” had been my go-to response for so long. I wasn’t good. Deep down inside, I was tired, hurting, contemplating quitting ministry, and “I’m good” wasn’t going to suffice. Like many of you, I wanted to say more. I wanted to bare it all, but I settled for “I’m good.” I walked away from the conversation with the same painted-on smile, telling myself that “I got this,” and that I didn’t need to burden them with my issues.
If that’s been you, or you’ve sensed that from one of your team members, I want you to know it’s okay to not be okay. The Bible, our daily life, our ministry, and so much more lets us know that there are people who aren’t okay who are are doing great things. So, what’s the difference?
Acknowledge It: Beyond “I’m Good”
We have to be okay knowing that every day isn’t going to be the best day ever. There are good days, bad days, weird days, crazy days, sad days, and more. What makes the difference in those days is what you do with your emotions and who you have in your corner.
At my lowest point I knew something was off, but the weight of appearing good outweighed the desire to be real with someone and to be real with myself. It took a good friend truly seeing me and pausing long enough to allow the truth to be told.
At that moment, I wasn’t worried about volunteer schedules, lessons, and other responsibilities. I had the chance to truly feel my tiredness and my pain. It was uncomfortable, but that time allowed me to acknowledge that I was not in a good place. As a matter of fact, I was far from it.
We often mask things for so long that just getting by somehow becomes acceptable. Take some time. Reflect. Pause. Ask some trusted people what they see in you. These are simple ways to start the process of moving toward a healthier you.
Express It: Beyond “I’m Good”
That same friend recently had a baby girl. Anytime the baby cried, the whole house paused to check on her. We called daily, FaceTimed, brought them food, and helped where needed. Why? Because we wanted them to know that they were supported.
In ministry, we all want to be supported but don’t always know how to express that need. Should we post online? Do we send a group message? Or do we run down the hall and scream? I will admit that I have done all three.
How do we let someone know that we’re not ok? We wrestle with questions like, “What will they think?” “Can they really help?” And we convince ourselves that it’s better to we just remain quiet.
Don’t let social media be your therapy—you need real interactions with people. More than that, you have a real God who loves you more than ever. Whatever that safe place is for you, express it there. Only then can people walk with an authentic you.
Know that you are not alone.
Authenticity: Beyond “I’m Good”
Here’s the beauty of our God. He knows exactly what we need and will provide it at the appropriate time. For example, I grew up as an only child. Then God provided me with brothers when I didn’t even realize I needed them. These guys aren’t biologically related to me, but they are family, and the best part is they don’t accept my response of “I’m good.”
You need people in your life who have the freedom to probe and see how you’re really doing—the type of people who love you whether it’s a good day or a bad day. In ministry, we serve a perfect God, but we don’t have to be perfect.
Some of you reading this need to hear that. You don’t have to be perfect. Everyone gets to do ministry how God created them. You get to be authentic. You get to have bad days, good days, and off days. And you get to do it in community.
For example, someone once asked me these questions, and I was determined to have an answer for each:
● Who truly knows you? (I’m talking everything, even that time in 3rd grade …)
● Who holds you accountable?
● Who do you look up to?
● Who are you pouring into right now?
If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking, “Who needs all this?”
You need someone who knows the real you. It’s important to find some “NO” people in your life. You need some people who are ahead of you. You need some people you’re pouring into.
Grow from It
Now, if you read all this and you’re thinking this is going to be tough, you’re right. The beauty in moving beyond “I’m good” is knowing that there’s light on the other side. I’m not where I am today without that season and its trials. It’s hard for us to take those next steps if we don’t acknowledge it, express it, walk with others with it, and grow from it.
Unfortunately, I can’t promise that the process will be quick and easy. But I do know that God is always with you. I believe you will be better off having experienced it. Your ministry will be better from it. Your community will be better from it. And ultimately, God will receive glory from it.
I’m challenging you to move beyond “I’m good” today.