It’s Okay To Be Not Okay:
An Interview with Pastor Rico Villanueva
by Kit Cabullo
It was Jesus himself who said that He came so that His sheep may have life and have it abundantly. One might think that by saying this, He was telling us that there will no longer be hardships and struggles. If this idea were true, then there would be no reason for a Christian to grieve or weep or cry or mourn.
But this picture of a perfect life in this present world is far from the full reality Christ spoke of. Pastors spend much of their time visiting the sick, counselling couples and comfort families that are breaking apart. Clearly, Jesus did not promise a life free from hardships. Even the Scriptures testify to the struggles of God’s people. Therefore, we need to see what role sentiments such as sorrow, grief and anguish play in our Christian life.
In his book It’s OK To Be Not Ok, Rev. Rico Villanueva brings us back to the biblical practice of lament found in the lament psalms and writings of the prophets. He shows how lament is part of the Christian life and how it can give hope, release, and deeper intimacy with God.
Below is my interview with Pastor Rico on how he thinks “not okay” experiences help pastors in their ministry:
Do pastors need to be okay all the time?
Because people see us preaching the Word, leading prayer, doing counselling, people think we are always okay or we should always be okay. But the reality is that we are not always okay. There are times when we just want to give up. Personally, there are Sundays when I find myself feeling empty, confused, not knowing what hit me. Oh, how I sometimes wish I were like a bird so that I could just fly away and be gone, the same thing David felt in Psalm 55:6. But we know from Scriptures that even great and godly people like Moses do break down and lose their tempers. As pastors we do not have to be always okay. That is simply impossible given the nature of our task and the reality of life.
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