Christian Living


Sheila Walsh on How It's Okay Not to Be Okay

Beth Patch - Senior Producer

Sheila Walsh says it's like coming home when she visits Virginia Beach, Virginia, to appear on CBN's The 700 Club (a show she co-hosted from 1987 - 1992).

In town doing interviews for her latest book, It's Okay Not to Be Okay, Walsh was excited to share with me why she wanted this book to be different than anything she'd written before.

After greeting me with a hug, we sat down to discuss her book:

Beth Patch: Who is It's Okay Not to Be Okay for?

Sheila Walsh: Gosh, I think probably for anyone like me. I grew up the first 30 years of my life with this internal list of things I thought I needed to do to be good enough for God, so that I wouldn’t disappoint God, and He wouldn’t stop loving me. It was really a punishing list, and I think so many women live with an internal list of things. They want to be the best mother, the best wife, the best whatever their job is. It took me a long time to realize that I’m not the good news, Jesus is, that it’s okay not to be okay, because Christ has made us right. I used to painfully pursue perfection. But, now I pursue Christ, who’s perfect.

Patch: What is the secret to being okay with imperfection?

Walsh: The first step is simply this: dare to have a gut-level, unedited conversation with God, where you don’t say what you think you’re supposed to say, but you actually pour out your heart. I really believe that to the level that you’re willing to be honest with God is an indication of how much you trust Him that He really does love us.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to over six million women. And yet, I see myself in the crowd all the time — women who want to get it all right. But when you finally understand what grace is, that grace is God’s love stooping down and picking us up, then you can kind of begin to relax a little bit.

Patch: Is there anything different about how people our age and younger generations can receive this message?

Walsh: I honestly think if you lined up a 15-year-old, a 35-year-old, and a 75-year-old and actually got down to the basics of our heart needs, I think we all want the same thing. We all want to be fully known and fully loved. But, we’re so afraid if we were fully known, we wouldn’t be fully loved. So, we trade away being known. And, I think that there’s just a real yearning to be able to show up, because to me that’s who God is. He says, 'Come as you are.'

Patch: God’s power works best in our weaknesses. How can we best accept the truth of that Scripture and apply it to our lives?

Walsh: When Jesus asks [his disciples] to feed the crowd, they’re like, 'Lord, if we worked for six months, we couldn’t feed this crowd.' Now, if there’s 5,000 men, you’ve got at least 10,000 people with children and mothers. If you’ve got moms on the hillside, you’ve got snacks. There’s no way that was the only food available. But, the only one who offered it up was the little boy.

It’s a profound lesson for every one of us. He gave his 'not enough', and Jesus blessed it and broke it and made it more than enough. That’s all that God asks of us. In any day, in any position, no matter where we are... 'Bring your 'not enough' to me. Offer it to me and I will bless it and break it. I’ll make it more than enough.'

Patch: In Chapter 3, you bring up the topic of a lack of confidence. That’s a common thread for many of us.

Walsh: So often, we identify ourselves by things that happen to us. But, we are not what happened to us. We are children of God. I love when Paul talks about that God placed this treasure, which is the glory of Christ in earthen vessels, which to the Corinthians would be the same as... it’s like their UPS. They used these earthen vessels as a shipping port. They used these earthen vessels to transport stuff. So basically God’s saying, 'Listen, you’re just a UPS box. It’s the treasure inside that’s beautiful.' When we find out who we are in Him, then we stop paying so much attention to all the other things that do not define us eternally.

Patch: You had a bit to say about control in the book. How does that fit with being okay to not be okay? We really want to be in control.

Walsh: I think of situations like one of my friends at the moment. She’s a great mom, but she has a child who’s the same age as my son who basically said, 'I don’t want anything more to do with your God. And quite honestly, I don’t want anything more to do with you.' In those moments where, I mean, I cried with her on the phone; and I prayed with her on the phone. I’ve marched around the living room declaring things over her family. But in those moments, to me, that’s where we have to let go and know that God is sovereign, that God is in control, that God is good, that God knows where our children are when we don’t.

I love the offer of Psalm 91 that there is this place that we can hide under the shelter of His wings, and that He will be our protection. Sometimes, we need to be almost brought to our knees to remember that we actually never were really in control and that God is good.

Patch: You say to celebrate our scars. Wow. Most people try to hide them.

Walsh: Some of our scars are external, and some of our scars are internal and we tend to hide them. But to me, God tells His story in scars. I think whenever God sees the scars of Christ, He sees us. Christ could have chosen to rise from the dead without the marks of crucifixion, but He chose to keep them. And I think if Christ chose to keep His scars and to show them to His friends, why would we hide ours?

To me, scars are proof that God heals, because they’re not open wounds anymore. They’re scars, and from our scars sometimes will come our greatest ministry.

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