Everyone likes having good days. Everyone likes the days filled with smiles and laugher. We delight in being able to say that all is right with the world and that we are okay. But what do we do when that’s not how it is? What do we do when a bad day turns into a bad week or a bad month? What do we do when we are not okay?
The first thing we need to do is get rid of the idea that we must be okay. We don’t. It is okay not to be okay. There are biblical examples of this. Job was angry with his situation and with God. He said in Job 3:11-13, “Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? Why was I laid on my mother’s lap? Why did she nurse me at her breasts? Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace. I would be asleep and at rest.” It is obvious that Job is not okay, and understandably so.
But what we can learn from Job’s example is not to keep our hurt to ourselves. Job calls out to his friends and tells them he is not okay. He shares his hurt and his pain, allowing himself to hurt. We have been given a community of believers so that when life just sucks we have someone to turn to. We have people who can be Christ in the flesh. When you are hurting, you need to reach out to those around you. Do not be afraid to do so. Let yourself hurt when you are hurting.
Furthermore, and this is important, you are a human before you are a student. I know that’s hard to hear, especially in college. But if nothing else, hear this: you can only be a good student if you are taking care of yourself first. You need to eat. You need to sleep. You need to let yourself hurt when stuff hurts. I’m not saying to just drop everything and hide from the world, but take a day to do something you enjoy before getting back to the very real stress of college. Go to a coffee shop just to sit. Take two hours to read for fun. Go sit by the lake and watch the water. Cry. Let yourself cry. Take a nap. Take care of yourself when you need to be taken care of, and let others help when you need others to help.
Now, this is important too. I also suck at taking care of myself first. I am not preaching at you as some person who knows how to do this all right. I’m with you in this struggle. I bottle things up and stay up too late to perfect a paper that I could’ve turned in hours ago. I hide my hurt so that people will be impressed at how well I’m handling everything. My head knows this is unhealthy, but I do it anyways. I’m learning this lesson too.
Being a human is hard. But we must learn that to be the most useful to God, even when we are completely broken, we must be taking active steps to take care of ourselves. It’s okay to not be okay, but there’s a proper way to not be okay. If you ever feel like you need someone, my door is always open. Please, let me hurt with you, friends. Let the body of Christ love you when you need to be loved.