How’re You Doing?
No, really. How ARE you doing?
When was the last time you were asked that question? Probably more recently than you think. It seems like society has molded us to quickly rely on the casual exchange that goes something like this…
“Hey, how’re you?”
“Oh, I’m doing pretty good. You?”
“Doing fine, thanks.”
Regardless of how “good” we’re truly doing the quick passing conversations go something along those lines, right? Our minds are trained to respond, “good”. I can’t count the number of times I’ve replied “good” when life wasn’t really all that good. I’m certain you have too. It’s almost as if we’re a little shocked when someone responds with something other than ‘good’. We’re a little thrown off because that’s not the norm. Everyone is always ‘fine’ and we don’t typically expect it when people aren’t.
When was the last time you truthfully answered the question, “How’re you doing?” not just in a societal norm kind of way, but a genuine kind of way?
I recently spent some time hanging out on the weekend with a group of good friends. We chatted for a while and talked about all things easy and fairly superficial. Then, I’m not even exactly sure how it happened, but eventually we got to talking with each person, and listening to how they were really doing. How life was actually going for them. How the struggles in their lives were really going. How their heart was truly feeling at that moment. Suddenly it wasn’t the super easy, surface-level conversations, but deeper discussions about the hard, ugly, not-so-much fun parts of life.
What struck me the most, was how quickly we assume everything is ‘butterflies and rainbows’ in each other’s lives from the casual ‘How’re you doing’ conversation. How if they respond ‘good’, then everything certainly is good.. But the funny thing was, almost everyone was actually struggling with something more. Something deeper than could be brought up in a quick passing-by exchange. Something that maybe they were only comfortable discussing in a safer place or space. I think that’s what makes our struggles harder to deal with—the causal exchanges that don’t allow time for deeper discussions.
What kinds of conversations are you having in your mind over and over again, continually processing internally, because sharing them would reveal your vulnerabilities? We all fight battles, that over time can easily become lonely, losing battles. Can I just encourage you for a second that sometimes it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to not know how to deal with something. Be real. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Those are the moments that lead to deeper, raw, tough conversations that may otherwise never be had. You’re a child of God, called to walk in freedom, and not be trapped in your struggles alone. It’s okay if you don’t have life all together and figured out–most of us don’t.
We talked for quite a while that night, and I think we all left feeling more connected and less weighed down by our struggles. Did we come up with a clear-cut solution to everyone’s problems? Absolutely not. However, I don’t think that’s always the point. Simply being able to share your heart and soul, and pray for one another can make all the difference. It also gives you an opportunity to check in on them after a bit. Follow through and see how they’re doing after a few weeks. Ask how you can continue to pray for them or help carry their burdens. That’s what makes a friend a good one.
It’s so much easier to work through or walk in a challenge or situation when you can share it with a few good friends who can share some meaningful suggestions, or lift you up in prayer. Those are the tools we need to help each other out; to be a better friend. Trusting relationships are built when we feel we can really explain how we’re doing, or what’s really going on deeper in our hearts.
No, I don’t think it is always the time or place to share your heart when the clerk at the store asks, ‘How’re you doing, today?’ But, I do think it is important to have close friends who, even when it feels a little risky, you can share your heart with. Trust me, it feels so much better to lighten the burden of your struggle, and talk it out with someone. Find a good, trusting friend you know you’re vulnerabilities are safe with. Let them be a listening ear for a few minutes and help you sift through the hard parts of life. Your struggle will likely look very different from your friends’, but no one problem is worse than another. It’s not always fun, or free of tears, but if something is bothering you, it’s probably worth talking about.
So, my encouragement for you this week is to take time to maybe grab coffee with a close friend, or have a girls/guys night and really ask how someone’s doing. Encourage each other to share their struggles. Be quick to listen, and slow to speak. After all, that’s what friends are for, right?
Ecc. 4:12–By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend, you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
Hope you have a blessed weekend,