In Featured, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Okay’ as in… “It’s okay to not be okay.” Thank you, Simone. Thank you, Michael.

For generations, when faced with challenges, people have been told to suck it up, shake it off, or even rub some dirt in it.  More than a few times I’ve heard this one rattling around in my head: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

How’s that working for you?

If you’ve been watching the Tokyo Olympics this past week, you know that Simone Biles, arguably the greatest gymnast the world has ever seen, made some important decisions regarding her run for another gold medal. During a competition doing what she has done better than anyone else for the past eight years, Simone said, “Nope, my head’s not right, I don’t trust myself.” In the middle of the evening’s gymnastics competition, with the gold medal dangling in the balance, and the whole world watching, Simone put on her white sweatsuit and withdrew from the competition.

Good on ‘ya, girl!

Later that evening, Michael Phelps provided some perspective. With 28 medals, Phelps is the most decorated Olympic swimmer of all time. He’s kind of a big deal. But that doesn’t make him invincible. Michael has talked openly in the media about his struggles, has gotten the help he needs, and has been a strong voice for mental health, reminding everyone that “It’s okay to not be okay.” And yet for the past 18 months as we’ve stared our mortality in the face while navigating a global pandemic, many have still struggled with whether that is, indeed, true. What we’re discovering is that it is true.

So, how are you doing?

We live in a culture that at best, doesn’t quite know how to process life’s toughest, most perplexing issues; we’d rather sweep them under the rug. And at worst, we can be remarkably judgmental when struggling with the issues of mental wellness. Let’s ask a different question: Are you okay with not being okay? If not, then let’s do what Michael and Simone have modeled for us. Let’s ask for some help.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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