Is The Church A Safe Place To Not Be Okay?

It’s not safe to be yourself around all people. It’s not safe to be 100% transparent with everything you struggle with with every person you know.

The church should be the safest place to struggle, but’s not.

It’s not because not everyone can handle all of your struggles. Not everyone can hear what you or I struggle with and then still look at you the same way.

It’s not safe because a person’s struggle can often be used as a weapon against them.

The church is not an easy place to not be okay. We are drawn to Jesus because of grace, but we walk into church guarded for our own protection.

Our own insecurity tells us others can’t handle our issues.

Our own pride stops us from talking about our struggles.

There is a spiritual enemy that knows isolation is the key to destroying us. The first tactic the enemy uses is the lie, “You are the only one who struggles with this.”

The church (little c) is full of broken people so it is not a safe place to not be okay.

The Church (Big C) is full of broken people so it is a safe place to be okay.

The Church (Big C) is not a building, but people. It is made up of lots of churches (little c).

God has equipped other Christians to help you and to help me when we are not okay. They may not be in your church, but they are a part of the Church.

Not everyone can handle your struggle. Some simply are not equipped to deal with it. But someone is. Maybe it’s a Christian counselor. He or she is still a part of the Church. Remember the Church is not a building, but people. Maybe it’s a friend who struggles the same way. Maybe it’s a support group like Celebrate Recovery.

One of the unique struggles of the church is we are called to warn people about the dangers of sin. We are called to be holy as Jesus is holy. We are called to be set a part and different. So as we preach against sin we often communicate, “If you struggle with this sin don’t come here.”

The church shouldn’t be a place where only perfect people can come in. It’s also not a place where everything goes. There are standards we are trying to live by through the grace of God.

So together we find ways to help when others are hurting. We tell the Devil he is a liar, and run away from isolation. We have to do the hard work to find the safe places within the church to not be okay.

This goes for pastors as well.

It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to not do anything about it.

Everyone that goes to a church is broken in some way. The judgment that spews from many Christians is simply a sign they have forgotten just how human they are.

But there are amazing Christians who are safe to talk to.

There are amazing people who love you for you and not because of what you do or do not do.

There are amazing Christians who will be the arms of God to hold you when you are not okay. But you have to be okay with trusting someone in the Church.

I know it’s scary.

You are not alone.

The beauty of the Church is it’s not based around one group. It’s made up of every Christian. Somewhere there is a place for you and me to not be okay.

Do you struggle to trust others with your struggle? Why or why not? How can the local church help be a safe place for us when we are not okay?

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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.


  1. September 19, 2016

    I don’t trust anyone with my struggles.

    • September 19, 2016

      Ricky, great to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate you.

  2. September 19, 2016

    One thing- sometimes it’s important to be okay with not being okay and to be authentic right where we are because it frees up others to do the same.
    Maybe some people can’t handle it…that is okay too. Those are not your people in this season. Maybe later…maybe never. Maybe it gives them something to think about.

    • September 20, 2016

      Chris, good point. Going first so often gives people the freedom to follow. It’s almost as if it grants permission to be in a safe place to not be okay.

  3. Laura Spiers
    September 19, 2016

    I love your honesty, Rob. This is a straightforward authentic post, full of truth.

  4. Diana Evans
    November 2, 2016

    I so appreciate that you are writing about this. It’s so important for the people of God to be each other’s safe place. The daily struggles of life beat us up enough. Just trying to navigate work, home, people, etc. while trying to live for God, turning the other cheek, maintaining a standard of godly living, etc.


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