“How are you doing?”
If I were to guess, I’d say that’s probably the most frequently asked question in a day.
Would also be my guess as to the most frequently answered comment to this question.
You rarely hear anyone say:
“Well, actually, I’m doing absolutely, downright terrible.”
And if they do, it’s always followed up with:
“… but I’ll be alright!”
Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in the power of your words. I believe Jesus wholeheartedly when He said that the power of life and death is in your tongue, but sometimes I wish that people wouldn’t give these generic answers!
It sounds so right to say that we’re doing good, but how many of us (if we were being completely honest with ourselves) are truly doing good?
Now there are definitely times that we are doing good, and if that’s you today, FANTASTIC! Save this blog post for a rainy day. Because as much as we like to tell others, we aren’t always “good”.
The phrase, “How are you doing?” has seemed to take all of my attention lately. I honestly didn’t realize how many times we get asked that question a day until I started to pay attention to it.
And really, if you think about it, that is such an intrusive question for just casual conversation. I think that’s why we’ve capped it off by saying, “good”, no matter what we’re really feeling.
But what would happen if we were really a community of Jesus followers who took that question seriously? What if we took out the politeness of it and really answered how we’re doing.
It wouldn’t sound as pretty or politically correct, but I feel like we would be in a much healthier place if we answered it honestly.
This can translate from the guy in the grocery asking this question to your friend sitting across from you at coffee. It’s the same question that often times gets the same response.
And then we wonder why we feel like crap.
Listen carefully to what I’m about to say next:
IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE “GOOD”. IT’S OKAY TO HAVE BAD DAYS. IT’S OKAY TO FEEL HURT. IT’S OKAY TO FEEL DOWN. IT’S OKAY.
If you’re anything like me, reading those statements feels partly freeing, yet partly controversial.
As much as I would love to say that I know that it’s okay to not be okay, deep down I still feel conflicted.
I feel like it might not be okay to feel sad when I am so much more fortunate than those living in third world countries who are starving and wondering if they’ll make it through the night.
I feel like it might not be okay to have bad days when I’m not in an abusive relationship.
I feel like it might not be okay to feel hurt when no one has cheated on me.
It feels freeing to say those statements above, but by the time that the echo of the words make it from my ears to my heart, I start to wonder if it really is okay.
But the more I learn about Jesus’s personality, the more I understand that it doesn’t matter if you stubbed your toe or just got evicted from your house, He gives us permission to feel it completely.
He isn’t in the business of suppressing feelings.
For years I believed that He wanted me to be thankful for what I had and be happy no matter what, because in perspective I had it all.
And while I wholeheartedly believe that perspective is VITAL, that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for not feeling.
I now know that the Father’s heart is for me to tell Him how I’m really doing. For me to tell Him what hurts, what makes me sad, what makes me feel rejected, etc. He wants to hear my honesty and He wants me to live out those moments with Him rather than pushing down those thoughts.
He wants to validate my hurt feelings.
That statement is enough to change your life.
Taking it a step further, I believe His heart is for us to be a community that we can live out those emotions in. As I said before, there is a time and a place for perspective, but in the same way, there is a time and a place to feel all the feelings. When we live in this kind of community, it gives our souls the ability to thrive in the soil of freedom rather than disintegrate in the suffocation of suppression.
So let me ask you truly:
“How are you doing?”