The story of why it’s okay to not be okay

MV5BMzIxOTQyODU1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDQ4Mjg4Nw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_If you ever get the chance to watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower at 3AM on a cross country redeye flight: don’t.

Let me explain.

About a month ago I had the opportunity to go to California with our church leadership to study and learn from another church. It was an amazing trip and we really did learn a lot. With that said, it completely fried our brains. We asked so many questions and heard so many new things that by the time we got to dinner on the third night, we were walking zombies giggling at stupid jokes. After spending our final day relaxing and visiting some famous landmarks, we made our way to the airport for our flight home.

Our flight left at 10:30PM California Time.

10:30PM California time is also known as 1:30AM Tennessee time.

I had been asleep by 9:30 California time every night of the trip.

I can’t sleep on planes.

Brain frying trip + all night flight + semi-depressing movie = me being totally messed up at 5AM when the plane landed.

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched an emotional movie while being exhausted, but if you haven’t, it’s a weird feeling. I knew while watching it that it was bringing up some weird and awkward emotions. I knew it was because I was tired and it was a movie. I knew the feelings weren’t real. What I didn’t know was how long those emotions would stick with me.

As the movie went on, I was completely sucked into it. I was dead tired so I had a laser focus on the little four inch screen in front of me. The scenes kept changing and my emotions kept getting me more and more hooked in.

By the end of the final scene, I had jotted down a quote that seemed to jump out of the movie and smack me in the face. I believe it’s something we all struggle with and it haunts our lives more than we realize. You may not be reading at three in the morning, but I hope it messes you up as much as it messed me up.

Ready?

Let’s go.

Do you ever wonder if people knew how crazy you really were that they wouldn’t like you?

That escalated quickly didn’t it? That went from lighthearted and fun to existential and deep in the span of like twenty words. Welcome to my world on that flight.

On a serious note, we all think that. We all think if people really knew us, if they really knew all the crap that goes on in our head, they wouldn’t like us. To some level, we all assume our junk is worse than everyone else’s junk. We think we have to put on our costume that says we’ve got it all together, that we’re not secretly freaking out about that one issue, and everything is alright.

If not, people will think we’re weird.

If not, people won’t like us.

We do so many things to make people think we’re perfect. We Instagram pictures of the meals that look delicious but not the grilled cheese we burned because we got distracted. We tweet about great date nights but not about the giant fights. We pin the perfect dream home DIY projects but not the leather couch with a giant hole in it.

Everything we do is in an attempt to not look as messed up as we really are.

If people knew how crazy you really were, they wouldn’t like you, right?

Wrong.

The entire time we’re trying to act like we have it all together, the people in our lives are begging for someone, anyone, to admit they’re a mess. Everyone around us is hoping somebody, anybody, has the same problems they do. the truth is no one is normal. Everyone is crazy in their own messed up amazing way.

Over the past week, I’ve had multiple people stop me in the church lobby or at different places and tell me they were enjoying the things I have been writing. The common theme in all of the comments wasn’t that I was a great writer or said something they didn’t already know. The common theme was they were glad someone was saying the things they were thinking and experiencing in their own lives.

I’m not the only messed up person on the internet.

You’re not the only messed up person reading this.

When we admit we don’t have it all together, or when we bring our worries, concerns, and anxieties into the light, we become a catalyst for others to do the same. When other people begin to open up, we begin to realize we’re all on the same team and we’re all meant to go through this life together. It starts to click in our minds that we were meant to help each other, not hold each other back.

By holding on to your insecurities, you’re actually holding someone else back from being freed from that same insecurity.

By not admitting you have that one problem, you’re not only are trapping yourself, but you’re also not allowing someone else to move past the same problem.

By not bringing your craziness into the light, you’re showing someone else their craziness needs to stay in the dark.

If I got on here multiple times a week and wrote about how my life was awesome, how nothing bad ever happens, and how everything is going perfectly, you’d get through three paragraphs and never come back. One of the reasons you’re reading right now is because you know I’m going to be real with you. You know I’m not going to sugarcoat things and I might bring a different perspective to that one thing you are struggling with.

You don’t need a blog read by 47 people to be real with others.

You don’t have to tell interesting stories to show people you don’t have it all together.

You just need the courage to admit that you don’t have it all together.

Here’s my challenge to you: admit it today. Seriously. When you get finished with this post, tell someone you don’t have it all together. Let someone know you’re a mess. I’ll go one step further and make it even easier: leave a comment on here saying it. You don’t have to reveal your deepest secrets, but I guarantee you there will be something freeing by saying publicly you’re a mess and you aren’t perfect.

I promise I’m still going to like you no matter how crazy you are.

I promise God will still love you no matter how messed up you are.

I promise that by opening up, you will be able to help someone else open up.

There’s freedom in the truth. Stop holding onto the lie that you have to be perfect.

Start today.

Start now.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.

-Jonathan

This was originally posted in April of 2013. On Fridays, I will be reposting old topics from years ago. I hope you enjoy them as much now as I did writing them then.

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