Permission To Not Be OK

Listen in on this short conversation with Andy Jones and myself – we talk about decriminalizing being messed up and giving permission to not be OK. Andy shares what he’s learned as the result of leading Celebrate Recovery.




I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

6 Comments to Permission To Not Be OK

  1. Love this. It’s ok to not be ok.

    As a leader I am definitely guilty of not opening myself up to others because of the following idea that is drilled into us in ministry. “I shouldn’t tell you I struggle with -X- because I am a leader and then you’d realize I struggle with the same things you do and then I would lose a sense of authority/leadership.” Because, as you point out, as leaders, we’re supposed to have it all together.

    Get what I mean?

    So my follow up questions to this are (and I’d love Andy to jump in on this as well) –
    As leaders, how can we be ok with not being ok?
    How do we be open about our struggles without losing the ability to lead our people through their struggles and lose their confidence?

    Thanks for another great and challenging podcast!

    • Brian Dolleman

      Chris – great question, one I’m still trying to navigate. It is definitely new territory, since I was trained in a system that kept everything under wraps.

      There is a temptation to only share past struggles. But when we do that, the underlying message is “I don’t struggle anymore. I’m victorious all around.” Unfortunately, that’s a load of BS.

      Recently in a sermon, I talked about how I have unresolved relationship stuff – hurt, disappointment, brokenness… and how that affects my life. I haven’t been to the gym since the beginning of summer because I want to avoid seeing someone I used to be friends with. It’s dumb, but I’m still in progress. Haven’t sorted it all out yet.

      I was sharing a current struggle – and people REALLY relate.

      I hope to continue to move in this direction – sharing with greater honesty and vulnerability. I also hope to create a church culture where pastors aren’t seen as different from or higher than or somehow above and transcendent over the body. Instead, we see Christ as the head, and WE ALL are the body – including those with speaking and leading and teaching gifts. We have the same struggles and battles. BTW – Paul Tripp addresses this in his book Dangerous Calling. There are some videos out on it too.

      I love what Jean Vanier says about this: “I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.”
      ― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

      I suppose in some church settings, this will never fly. In our church, we recently had a staff member go into inpatient treatment for substance abuse. They are still on our team, and involved with our Celebrate Recovery program. In my opinion, this is so much healthier than keeping things hidden until they become exposed – then the pastor/leader is fired or let go or whatever. That does seem to be the standard mode of operation though.

    • Danielle Pridgen

      I have a rhetorical question to add as well, Chris. “If we are open about our struggles, will the people whom we lead actually lose confidence in our ability to lead them? Will they be encouraged to keep following as a :direct: result of knowing that we are also actively involved in our struggle and process of transformation?”

  2. That is great. Thanks for such a well thought out response. I did watch that sermon. If you didn’t know, I’ve kinda become your biggest fan over the last few weeks haha. I think I may need to go into recovery for stalking lol.

    I think it is because it is Christianity I want to be a part of. A Christianity that offers hope and not a set of doctrines (although I believe doctrine is definitely important). The example I’ve come to like it that Christianity is a house and Jesus is the door. Let them come through the door and Jesus will show them around. Pretty simple analogy but I like it because it is simple and I tend to over complicate things. I’ve done fundamentalism and was left with big questions. I am now viewing Jesus as more graceful and merciful than ever. I definitely have black and white beliefs but I am really liking some of the grey stuff too.

    Anyway, back to the original post. Our young adult ministry just finished Follow Me by David Platt and it was extremely challenging. I attempted to be open in a few areas, especially after I saw other young adults my age being open with their struggles. But honestly, the stuff I was open with was definitely just surface stuff, although I think it did help some people.

    I will definitely look at that book by Paul Tripp. I just purchased Rachel Held Evans books because I want to hear different opinions than just the usual. I guess I am just working on my own personal journey as a 29 year old who wants to lead people to a greater relationship with Jesus and not project that I’ve got it all figured out…because that is so far from the truth!

  3. Nicole Gillam

    I love that our church is doing Celebrate Recovery and saying that it is OK to be a Christian and yet still have problems/addictions that we are working through. I have struggled with eating disorders for the majority of my life, and am still battling bulimia, with anxiety, depression and lots of insecurities behind it all. I am in such a better place than where I have been, and I thank God that He has helped bring me out of that dark place, but I would be dishonest to say that I am fully recovered. I will say that it is hard for me to share my issues, but it is definitely freeing and feels great to not pretend that everything is just perfect with me. The fact that I have a place now where I can be fully open about my struggles with others who are struggling in their own ways is really a blessing and I am grateful for it.

    • Brian Dolleman

      Thank you Nicole – for sharing openly & for being part of the Celebrate Recovery team. We need people like you!

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