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From Bottled Up To Breaking Free

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

There are 4 words that many of us have a hard time saying. “I am not okay.”  Being able to admit this when the pressure is on needs to start being normalized.  Time and time again, when I am pastoring my volunteers and they keep saying, “I am okay, I am fine,” as they are swiping away the tears,  I find myself saying  their tears are safe and please express your heart.

It is okay to not be okay. We have to make it the norm to ask for help if we are overwhelmed or need some help with a situation. We all need a safe place to land and show our emotions without having to make excuses.

Admittedly, this is something I struggle with, even though I work with others who are in deep pain. I grew up with this strange notion that tears were reserved for when you hurt yourself. I have been reframing the tears and not keep saying, “I am fine,” when the tears come.

My new mantra if the feelings become overwhelming is, “I am not okay in this moment, but I will be okay.” Having a few people that I can trust with those tears has brought me to a healthier emotional state because I am not bottling it in. I have been able to find peace in using my words to not only confide in my friends but also to bring it to God.

“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

We are all going to deal with feelings of depression and anxiety at some point in our lives; this is part of being in a broken world. Society has said that we can’t let anyone in on our pain, but slowly, this is changing for the good.

Modeling openness and honesty for our children in a world that tells them otherwise is incredibly important for their formation as a child of God. We didn’t have to deal with all the things that are being thrown at our kids these days.

They have had to grow up faster than us, or at least that is what society is forcing upon our kids. Their sweet minds aren’t ready to take all this on and they don’t know how to process. Giving them words to ask for help is imperative. Teens and kids want to feel like they are normal and a normal part of society so let’s create that space of emotional and spiritual health.

We don’t have to live in a state of weariness and burden, as God said we can bring it to him. Together, we can flip that script and seeking help is what we do to become a healthier version of ourselves for God, our kids and on a personal level.


  • Jennifer Norton

    Jenn is a Pastor on the Lake Forest Mission Team focusing on local mission/ministry efforts and discipleship. Her heart is for those who are hurting and feel they are in the margins. She wants them to know they are seen and loved by their Creator. She is a creative writer for several online platforms and is working on her first novel that will offer hope to those struggling in their faith. After marrying her Prince Charming, Brandon in 2004, God has blessed them with two adopted daughters, each with a unique and amazing story. Loki is their rescued lab/shepherd/snuggle bug mix who keeps them very entertained and well hugged. Jenn earned her BA in Non-Profit Management/Public Relations from Chapman University in 2001 and graduated from Gateway Seminary in May 2023 with a Masters in Theological Essentials. An enteral optimist, she is an expert at seeing the sunshine in most situations and is always looking for a way to brighten your day with a funny quip or a big smile. A little known fact, Jenn used to be on an Improv Comedy troupe and was involved in many acting projects back in the day and would love to find a way to combine her love of performing and Jesus to spread the Good News.

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