Are you always “fine?”
I’m reading an excellent book right now called Grace for the Good Girl. Written by Emily Freeman of Chatting At The Sky, it’s almost frightening how often it feels like I’m reading my own thoughts.
One of the things Emily talks about is how for so many of us, our default answer to the question “How are you?” is “Fine!” You can see it now, right? Someone comes up to you in the church foyer or at your playgroup and asks the question and you immediately go to the default with a smile. I’m pretty much always “fine,” if you made the determination based on my answer to that question.
But how often am I really *not* fine?
There are certainly days I answer with “fine” when what I really want to say is, “Lady, you don’t want to know,” or maybe “You really don’t have time for an honest answer to that question.” And no one would advise you to start answering every single person you meet with a detailed explanation of what’s going wrong in your life right now. Most of the time, that’s not really what they want, anyway.
But someone needs to be getting a real answer when they ask you that question.
Someone–and it would really be better if it were a few someones–needs to hear about the washer that overflowed, the child who’s still giving you fits, and that ache you’ve been battling for the past few months. Someone needs to know that you couldn’t find the right shoes to match your skirt, and burned the eggs this morning, and you just found a lump that’s making you really nervous. And there are a couple of reasons for this.
First of all, you were designed for real relationships.
God Himself has always existed in relationship; as a Trinity He literally *is* a relationship. And being created in His image means it’s vitally important to our well-being to have meaningful relationships, too.
Sometimes you talk to God but don’t feel like you’re hearing answers. That may just be because He wants to love on you through someone else. As the word reminds us,
“A friend loveth at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.” Prov. 17:17, Amplified
And again …
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]. Prov. 27:17, Amplified
We need friends.
Second, real relationships give us another — sometimes more accurate — view of ourselves.
As Lisa Bevere pointed out in Lioness Arising, lionesses always work together. They also groom one another, taking care of those pesky problems that each lioness can’t reach on her own. Someone outside of your life can see what’s “off” within it much better than you can, sometimes. I’ve been blessed to have several ladies in my life who I can trust to tell me when I’m getting too busy, putting too much pressure on myself, or when I need to back off and rest awhile. Thank heavens for the ones who listen to me go on and on about homeschooling woes or the difficulties inherent in menu planning, when those discussions would drive my husband crazy.
Additionally, real relationships encourage us to forge ahead.
I can’t count the times I’ve been challenged by my friends to reach out beyond my comfort zone. Whether it’s leading a small group, tutoring junior high students, or writing down something I’ve learned from the Lord, they challenge me to do more than I thought I could do.
And of course there’s the whole “we never do anything alone thing.” In the past couple of years I’ve taken a dance class, started working out at the gym, and read several books I wouldn’t have considered were it not for my little group of girls.
Finally, real relationships give our lives purpose.
Because we’re created for relationship, it’s the primary means God uses to use us! How can your life influence anyone if no one knows anything about it? A person who gets a smile and a “fine!” for you may think you’ve got it all together … but it won’t help them in their own struggle, and it won’t draw them any closer to Jesus.
Get out there, girls. Drop the “fine” and show someone who you really are. And let God use the resulting relationships to change the world!
To read the rest of the posts in this series, 31 Days of Encouragement, click the pink “31 Days” box above!