I’ve asked therapists, pastors, and friends all kinds of questions over the years. Is it okay for me to be a joyful person and have depression, okay to have both doubt and faith, okay to be an introvert and a leader? I won’t get into those answers just yet. Because, what I think my permission-seeking questions boil down to is this: Is it okay to be me?
A few years ago, I discovered my predicament described beautifully in this poem, “God Says Yes To Me” by Kaylin Haught
I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes
An important observation: There is nothing wrong with any of the things that Haught’s narrator nervously asks permission for. They’re harmless personality traits (melodramatic), physical characteristics (short), and self-expression choices (wearing nail polish, not paragraphing letters). Sure, any of those things taken to an extreme could pose problems; being too melodramatic could cause social conflict, being extremely short could make it hard to reach things, etc. But she asks permission anyway.
More specifically, she asks God for permission.
Because, all too often, we come to believe that what we’re doing or becoming is socially — or even theologically — unacceptable to do or be. We may notice Bible verses that could be interpreted as forbidding what we’re doing (e.g. “rejoice always” could seem to forbid worrying). We may not notice many people at school, at church, or on TV who seem to be behaving, thinking, or feeling like the way we behave, think, or feel. As Pastor Steven Furtick has said, “we compare our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.”
For years, I’ve compared my behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel in a number of ways. And I know some other folks who have too.
So I’m getting ready to do a blog series on a few ways that “God says yes to me.”
- “I asked God if it was okay to doubt”
- “I asked God if it was okay to be depressed”
- “I asked God if it was okay to be introverted”
- “I asked God if it was okay to change my mind”
In each instance, I hope to focus on just a couple reasons why we think it’s not okay to do those things and a couple reasons why it is okay.
I can give one sneak preview, though: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). So, we can ask permission all we want, but more often than we might realize the answer — while potentially complex — will ultimately boil down to: “what I’m telling you is yes yes yes.”