“I’m OK – You’re OK is a 1967 self-help book by psychiatrist Thomas Anthony Harris. It is a practical guide to transactional analysis as a method for solving problems in life. The book made the New York Times Best Seller list in 1972 and remained there for almost two years.” (Internet quote) I was graduating from UCSB in 1968 in social psychology and this book was providing language for us young adults to move beyond Freud’s “superego, ego, and id” language to describe our journey to adulthood and differentiation from parents. Harris couched growth in the language of “parent, adult, and child.” Of course, we all wanted to be considered adults. Caught between the “oughts” and the “wants”, I had to learn to navigate and own my life choices. Whew. That is a journey we live out each day.
John Newton sings in his hymn Amazing Grace his journey to wholeness. In verse 2 he talks about the decision point where in crisis between wants and the shoulds of being an adult – being able to navigate a slave ship in the midst of a violent sea storm – he calls out to God. Newton found wholeness when he factored in God.
“’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.” Verse 2
The apostle Paul writes it this way,
“10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10
When we factor in God, our focus goes from parents or superego, from authorities demanding certain behavior and away from our desires that want to a God who created us as he knows is best. We see his grace in our lives and his acceptance of ourselves just as we are able to bring him joy. I am not ok because of what I do, Easter tells me I am worth incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection for a God who values me just as I am and walks with me alive today. He is risen and I am valuable. And you are ok in God’s sight too. I’m ok and you’re ok. Wow.