If We All Answered This One Question Truthfully

Someone walks over to us. They smile. Casually, they ask us a question and the conversation goes like this:

'How are you doing?' 

'I'm fine. How are you?'

'Busy, but fine'. 


What if instead, it went something like this:

'How are you?'

'Terrible. My heart has been shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. I'm having trouble with my relatives again. I wake up only to continue the crying session I ended the night before. My pillow is soaked with tears. It feels like I'm barely hanging on.'

'I am so sorry. I wish there were some way I could help. Would you mind if I prayed for you right now?'

'Not at all'

'Heavenly Father...' 

Can you sense that  the isolation begins to evaporate when we invite someone in? That even though life hurts and despair may follow us, that isolation is something we actually can remedy? Because we are not God we cannot fix another person's hurts entirely, but we can sit with them so they do not have to endure it alone.

I wonder who would be willing to answer this question honestly: 'how are you doing?' How can anyone ever know us or help us if we won't let them in? How will others know how they are to pray for us or that they should pray for us at all?

But what if just once we truthfully answered when somebody asks us how we are doing?

And while I know that there are some who might nervously look back at you or even look away, still, not everyone is like that. The key is to find those who are drawn to the hurting and to realize that not everyone is. Like throwing starfish into the ocean, we can discard emotionally the ones who don't want to go deep with us.

The best way to start is to be honest when someone asks you how you are doing because there is a chance that someone will really care. Opening up may be the start of a beautiful friendship. You never really know until you take the leap. 

We of the body of Christ often keep things to ourselves when the Bible says that others are supposed to be there to bear the burdens of one another. We often keep things back. For many, church becomes a place where you hide your troubles because you don't want anyone to know you are hurting. Sometimes we even fear being judged in our pain. And sometimes rightfully so.

But not taking the risk could be hurting us more.

Because we don't talk about this and we don't talk about that, church sometimes becomes a place where the sanitized modes of conversation reek of hypocrisy.

We become pretenders.


Hopeful mask-wearers.

Our hellos are hollow though our hearts whisper, 'hallowed be thy name' 

We hide and we hide until there is nothing left to us but the hiding. We've worn the mask so long it sticks to our skin. We know who we are but shudder lest anyone catch a glimpse of what lies beneath. We wear ourselves out. 

Are you worn out? Does the charade ever leave you exhausted? 

Be honest and don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Beauty often lies in the risks we are willing to take to stop pretending. And if our scars are not beautiful, then I don't know what is. Because they are real, our flaws are always more beautiful than what is pretend. Absolutely always.

We don't have to hide our true selves in search of something better. A shadow of fancy will never compare to flesh and blood, truth and grit, love lived out loud in the here and now. So don't pretend. Be beautiful. Be honest. Be real.

And let me ask you: how are you doing?

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How am I? Struggling to balance homeschooling while recovering from surgery. Two months out and I am still not back to normal. Carrying guilt caused by needing so much help, yet knowing in my heart that guilt is not from my Lord.
Rosa, this is wisdom -- we sentence ourselves to isolation every time we hide behind the "fine." "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ."

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