“How are you doing?” If I asked you this I’m pretty sure that I could guess what your answer is going to be.
Or maybe just maybe you would join the 2% of the population that actually chooses option 4–honesty.
One Sunday morning I asked someone how they were fully expecting to get any of the first three answers, either 1, 2, or 3. But instead they chose option 4–honesty. What did they say? “Well actually I’m pretty Sh!&#y. This was Sunday morning in the church hallways. There was something so honest and refreshing about his response. He didn’t need to lie to me. He didn’t need to cover anything up. His feelings were raw and emotional. They were right there on the surface. And what I really appreciate about the whole interchange is that he didn’t apologize for them. It was what it was.
How often are the regular Christian clichés we use nothing more than disguises for our hurt and pain? They are not only lazy but also deceiving. Maybe most dangerous of all, we may eventually fool ourselves one day into thinking we’re actually okay. We hide so much under the rug, eventually we end up tripping on it.
Why do we do this to ourselves? What are we afraid of? Too often we are so uncomfortable with who we are on the inside that we couldn’t possibly understand how anyone else could possibly accept us if they saw who we truly were or what we were truly experiencing. So rather than being honest and vulnerable with people, we choose to project an image of having it all together.
This should not be.
Fight the desire to simply be okay–okay is average. Okay desensitizes you to feeling both hot and cold, pain and pleasure. To the degree that we understand pain, we will understand pleasure. We cannot understand the majesty of the mountaintop if we haven’t been down in the valleys too. I love how J.R. puts it, “we may eventually fool ourselves one day into thinking we’re actually okay”. How scary is that? Those words left a haunting impression in my mind. I don’t want to fool you, and the last thing I want to do is fool myself.
Don’t ignore the people around you. Do them a favor and be honest with them. They need it, and you need it. So, would you be bold enough to answer honestly the next time you are asked how you are? What if you were courageous enough to go first… I bet you’d be surprised at how they would reply to your question “How are you?”
I dare you. Try it.