“How are you doing?” It is a simple question, but one we avoid answering honestly. Some of us have learned to turn this inquiry into avoiding HOW we are doing to WHAT we are doing. It is easy to make things seem more glamorous by avoiding the how and focusing on what we are achieving. Answering the how gives place for introspection. We can avoid these emotions by placing the majority of our emphasis elsewhere. At one point in my life, I was good at avoiding this question. I even put unnecessary pressure on myself to answer this question in the best possible light.
Instead of answering honestly, “How is your day” I would say it was good, even if it wasn’t. Instead of being transparent during a conversation with someone else, I would give the bright side speech. I learned something valuable about myself in those moments. I wasn’t very realistic. I am not saying this gives anyone an excuse to become pessimistic and let everything hang loose. Can you imagine what would happen if we all did what we wanted to do? What I am saying is that God, as well as others, are not looking for the you that has it all together. How you are doing is not always a perfect response.
Right now if someone asked me how I was feeling, I would honestly say overwhelmed. I took on some new responsibilities with work that require me to help others navigate the learning process. I love teaching, and I love educating others. I do not like when technology doesn’t work. Everyone is too busy to help. Oh and let’s not forget everyone who has an opinion of what you need to do, but doesn’t realize your ever-increasing to-do list.
We have a responsibility to be authentic with God and with others. Why should we be authentic with God? He knows us. He knows when we are afraid. He knows when we feel overwhelmed. He knows when we want to eat a pack of cookies instead of the fruit we promised our trainer we would eat this time. He knows us, and He still loves us. God can shoulder our frustrations. There might be times during the day I have a heart to heart session with God and admit that today was not my very best day. I let him know how weighty my daily duties feel. When I speak with God, He listens.
Then, something amazing happens. The load gets lighter as I share those cares with God. Some conversations are five minutes, and other days I need much more time. Today, I needed a whole lot of time! We were never meant to carry every worry, fear, and care for an extended period of time and thrive. If you are someone who internalizes things rather well, like me, you know it can affect you mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Physically it affects things such as our blood pressure and our stress levels (i.e., cortisol). For ladies, it can lead to the less than flattering tummy because our body holds on to our stress in more ways than one. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to wear my worries.
What about being factual with others about how we are doing? James 5:16 is one my favorite reminders: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results (NLT). Worry that I mentioned earlier is a sin. I know, and how many of us do it so easily (I can be guilty too). James reminds us that we can be honest about our fault with others and when we can admit those faults and address those faults through prayer (and action) healing takes place. One thing that I have learned to embrace is Godly relationships. Those relationships were I can admit that how I am doing is struggling or wanting to quit. Then my friends can help to lift me up so to speak. They lift me up by standing with me, listening to me, providing wisdom, and then going with me to present those cares and concerns to God for wisdom in prayer. I have learned to reach out to my friends when I am not doing very well, and it has been a blessing in my life.
We don’t receive immunity as believers from every challenge. However, we can find solace in God and the relationships He provides us with. When is the last time you were honest about how you are doing with God? When is the last time you were realistic with your friends about how you are doing?