Are you okay?

Philippians 2:4 – Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.

Ever since Meghan Markle the Duchess of Sussex referenced these words in the New York Times last week when asked about her mental health, they have echoed in my thoughts. In her essay, she shares the pain of miscarrying her second baby.

Referring to when a journalist asked her a few years back, “are you okay?” She says it’s not the answer that really mattered but the question itself. She had replied, “ Thank you for asking. Not many people have asked if I’m okay”

In this simple conversation is food for thought. Asking about the welfare of others should be second nature to us particularly in these stressful times. Jesus Christ says we should love the Lord with all our heart and with all our soul and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. “Neighbour” in this case is figurative and includes even strangers as the Bible tells us.

Today, I would like us to take our eyes off ourselves. Let’s remove our gaze from our selfies or following on social media. Let’s forget about the flawless image we try to project as a desperate need to suppress our inner struggles.

Let’s focus the limelight on someone else and actually ask them, “ Are you okay?” They may appear to have it all together but who knows what they are going through? You won’t know until you ask the magic question, “ are you okay”.

Using worldly standards, Meghan Markle looked okay. She is beautiful, wealthy, famous, and married to a prince, one of the most eligible bachelors in the world. Yet at the time she was originally asked the question she was far from okay. The journalist who asked the question was probably not okay but at that time he forgot about himself and reached out.

Do not judge externally, assuming that people around you are okay while you go on with your life. It’s actually not about you. Expand your mind view to focus on others. Jesus Christ mirrored this concept every day of His earthly ministry. He moved his lens from the heavenly, to the global and still connected on a personal and human level. He was never self-centered but other-centered.

Let’s learn to ask the question, “are you okay” with a heart open to listen. People can always tell when you are asking just for the sake of asking or you are truly interested in their response. Don’t be afraid to really listen. You may not have the answers but you can give people the gift of being heard. You can take it further by praying for them to a God who sees and hears.

In truth, we all are not okay. We cannot be okay. None of us is normal. The pandemic has done something to our minds. Our nerves are frayed, our emotions are raw but we are still hanging in there: holding on to Christ as an anchor in this storm.

It’s the most freeing and empowering thing when we look away from ourselves and engage with another. It’s how we are designed to function. The life of Jesus Christ is about connecting and bridging the gap. Let’s follow in His steps, reach out to someone and ask them the magic question today – “ Are you okay? “

P.S. You are invited to join the conversation today on the Designer Women Radio program, WFM 91.7 at 4.30pm WAT.

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