It’s Okay to Not Be “Okay”.
By Pastor Johnny D. Gentry III – Northeast Houston Responds
Like most ministry work, disaster response comes with great stress and burden that can take its toll on personal, moral, and spiritual health. In light of the recent tragedy involving our partners at Attack Poverty, Pastor Johnny Gentry reminds us of the importance of personal care and a transparent biblical community.
So many servant-leaders in the body of Christ serve our families, churches, and communities while under great stress and personal duress. We bear the weight and worries of family, ministry, community, business, and more while neglecting the practices of personal care, transparency, and accountability. Often those we serve and those with whom we co-labor have no idea we’re “leading while bleeding”. We sometimes carry hurts, habits, hang-ups, failures, fears, frustrations, and fatigue that render us wounded, depleted, and defeated. Yet only a surface-level “pray for me” seems to escape the psychological prison of pride and shame in which we are living. For different reasons, we never truly release just how bad it really is. Notwithstanding God’s repeated divine attempts to intervene in our situation, a moral or spiritual tragedy happens. Shock, disbelief, devastation, and disaster overtakes us. The latter state is worse than the former. It didn’t have to happen. Speaking as a servant-leader who has been graced to walk through some deep, dark cave experiences, I have learned to err on the side of transparency. If I’m not okay, I won’t conceal it. I’m okay not being “okay”. Today as we lift up others who may be in the midst of a cave season, let’s remember to love one another, be sensitive to one another and be present for one another. Let’s be accountable, truthful, and transparent with one another. Let’s get rest, counseling, and help when we need it. Our own lives and the lives of others are at stake. Let’s always remember it’s okay to not be “okay”.
Johnny Gentry is the coalition coordinator for Northeast Houston Responds, the disaster response coalition for Northeast Houston where many neighborhoods were devastated by Hurricane Harvey, including the North Forest, Lakewood and Kashmere Gardens areas. He has served as senior pastor for Free Indeed Church for the last 17 years. Johnny also leads Community Works CDC, a non-profit community development ministry dedicated to at-risk youth, workforce development and community economic redevelopment.