I’m Not Ok. You’re Not Ok. And That’s Ok!


A few months ago I received a LiveScribe Pulse pen in the mail. It was a gift from my manager for hitting my sales number for the second quarter of this year. I’m not a big fan of technology for the sake of technology, but I was intrigued by the idea of a “pencast” and […]

A few months ago I received a LiveScribe Pulse pen in the mail. It was a gift from my manager for hitting my sales number for the second quarter of this year. I’m not a big fan of technology for the sake of technology, but I was intrigued by the idea of a “pencast” and what could be communicated in that medium.

I tried a number of years ago to start keeping my journal digitally and it just didn’t work for me. I’m much more tactile and enjoy my worn, leather-bound journal in my hand as I scribble thoughts and ideas on its unlined pages. These pencasts give me the opportunity to do what is more natural to me and still share my ideas with a broader audience. No doubt these pencasts will get better over time, but for now, here is my first attempt at using this new technology.

About a month ago I heard someone do the “I’m Ok. You’re Ok.” grid and I immediately saw it as a great tool to explain why the behavior-modification paradigm simply doesn’t work. The notion that we are supposed to be ok is the source of so much of the shame that fuels addiction. Let’s be clear…we are supposed to be ok, but there is absolutely nothing that we can do to be ok. We must desperately cling to Christ as our only hope and not turn to focus solely on our moral behavior. According to Titus 2:12, it is God’s grace that trains us to live godly lives, not our discipline or ability to make good choices.

So here is my first attempt at a pencast. There is an arrow in the top right corner that allows you to view it full screen.

So have you settled into quadrant 4 living or are you still vacillating between quadrants 2 and 3? Why is it hard to admit that we are not ok?
  • Hey Traylor,

    Great post with a lot of truth and a topic that comes on the heels of a conversation I recently had with Michael and a couple who was at our home for dinner last night.

    The conversation started with me bringing up a recent post I'd read over at Project M on regarding whether or not marriage is hard which morphed into a program that us two couples are familiar with which encourages people to be their authentic self which, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing (no masks, no pretending, etc.). My question/response to that, though, was what about when my "authentic self" hurts another person? Do I justify that with, "hey, this is me….authentically." Somehow, I don't think that would work because it's an authenticity that's self-focused.

    Which takes me to your 4th quadrant: "I'm not okay. You're not okay." True statements and definitive Gospel which offers true freedom in Christ. It doesn't seem quite enough to recognize our respective non-okness (how's that for a new word?), however, and leave it at that. I would hope that the recognition would follow with change as it doesn't seem enough to recognize the brokenness and do nothing to move through it; to say, "this is just who I am" because there's no condemnation for those who are in Christ therefore others need to receive me.

    I recognize that you haven't stated this in your post; it's just what came up for me while reading it. In our marriage ministry, we occasionally talk with husbands who claim in one breath that God knows their heart and with the next verbally abuse their wife. Yet they hold fast to that belief because, in their mind, it justifies the strength of their faith even though the word tells that same man (indeed, tells us all) that out of the mouth speaks the heart. Our response to these men is, "you're absolutely right. God does know your heart."

    My reality is this: my marriage would never have been restored had Michael continued to look at pornography and go to strip clubs. Do we both recognize that as a part of non-okness? Yes. Though to just recognize it and do nothing to move out of it would have been counter productive and, in my opinion, a poor representation of Christianity.

    • Thanks Annalea for such a thought-provoking reply.

      The reality of the Father's scandalous love and grace toward us means that we are free to come out of hiding and be who we really are. But we don't come out of hiding only to say "This is who I am, take it or leave it." The fundamental assumption of my post is that all of us are on a redemptive path of sanctification that will ultimately render us "ok". First and foremost in that process is to receive God's unconditionally love and acceptance in spite of our brokenness…to admit that we are not ok.

      What my post gets at is the question concerning how people change. We all can agree that the goal is to ultimately become "ok", however we want to define that. Quadrants 1, 2, and 3, to go back to the illustration that I was using, all base my being "ok" on my own effort or behavior. Ultimately, it is God who transforms us into the image of His Son, not our own striving.

      So much of the shame that we see in our recovery groups is the basic belief that I'm supposed to be ok and God is very disappointed and frustrated that I'm struggling with sin. It leads to an orphan mentality in that we are left to our own devices to clean ourselves up and to defeat sin. God wants us to bring Him into our struggles, not believe the lie that He is somehow frustrated that we are struggling.

      So to sum up, I'm definitely not saying that people need to just accept me as I am in all my brokenness and that somehow makes whatever I do ok. What I'm saying is that by acknowledging my own brokenness I see daily my desperate need for Christ. In that way, when both Melody and I live in a "I'm not ok. You're not ok." paradigm, we are free to repent freely in our brokenness rather than trying to pretend that we have it all together.

      I hope this helps…

  • I think it's kind of like, "you can't (and need to) do it on your own so don't even try." The times when I try to do things in my own strength is when I completely flounder around and I recognize that when I do this, I'm not trusting God's ability to get me through to the other side of whatever it is I'm struggling with. It's still thinking that I've got it all under control.

    Danger! Danger!

    Then it takes SOOOOO much longer and is SOOOOO much more difficult! UGH!!!

  • Yes! As Paul writes in Titus 2:11-12:

    "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age."

    We put lots of emphasis on God's grace saving us, but then we often turn to our efforts and behavior to renounce ungodliness. It is God's grace that transforms us, not more discipline or effort on our part. Our part is to acknowledge our desperate situation and to acknowledge that we are powerless to do anything about it.

  • Makeda

    I really enjoyed this Traylor. There is so much power in recognizing that we are all really not okay and that the ONLY way we can become okay is through Christ. I think the church as a whole is still missing it in giving people permission to say they are not okay especially people in leadership positions. We still have the unspoken expectation that people in leadership are supposed to be okay so we don't give them the freedom to not be okay. I think we still have room to grow in that area. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and thank you for the incredible work you are doing to help other people be okay with not being okay.

    • Thanks Makeda! Unfortunately we often receive the free gift of God's grace at salvation and then quickly pervert the Gospel by thinking that our sanctification is based on our own efforts and ability to make good choices. Thankfully the same grace that saves us sanctifies us.

  • Ken

    I got your link from Annalea, we are in http://www.Godsavemymarriage.com ministry, I was not maturing as a Godly husband, and the Lord has shown me His grace in allowing me now to mature into Christ likeness as I live out of who He says I am. I wanted to share an awesome group True Faced in Phoenix AZ they have a link and their book "Bo's Cafe" is really a treasure of His Grace. please feel free to connect with John Lynch and David Pinkerton tell them you got a hug from a pilgrim traveler in NC http://www.boscafe.com/site/

    • Thanks for your comment, Ken. I'm glad to hear that you are receiving the scandalous grace of the Father and are beginning to live as His beloved son. He delights in you and He is singing over you.

      We have friends who have introduced us to the TrueFaced ministry and I think it is great what those guys are doing. I'll definitely let John know!