How are you?
Fine or Good or Blessed …. Those are the usual answers we give, right? I was asked that question at church last night. “Hi Beth! How are you?”. “I’m good”, I said with a smile. And inside I could hear the truth pounding in my head and my heart. I wanted to say “I’m not good. I have so many, many heavy things on my heart and I can’t see the breakthrough yet. I know it’s coming. I know God is going to show up. But right now, I can’t see it.” I wanted desperately to tell the truth. But those aren’t the words that came.
How often do we do that? How often do we pretend? And on the reverse side of that – How often do we ask someone how they are and really want the answer? How are you? has become a cliche. It’s just another form of greeting, right along with Hello. What if we asked someone how they were doing and waited for their answer? What if it was ok that they told us how they really are and didn’t answer with another cliche that’s far from the truth? What if we stopped being so busy for a moment and saw them through eyes of compassion? What if they knew when we asked them how they are that we wanted them to be real with us and tell us how they are?
There was a missionary at our church last night. I expected to hear about everything they were doing for the people they serve. I knew it would be interesting, but it wasn’t what I “needed” to hear. I’m ok with that. I know God can speak to me through a song, or a friend, or something I read, or directly to my heart. I was still looking forward to hearing about what they do. Surprisingly, when the wife got up to speak, she said God had laid something else on her heart for the night, something different than what she usually talks about. She wanted to be real. To share the true struggles of being a missionary, of leaving everything you know to go to a country where the people may not accept you. Of how it feels to look around you and think that God can’t do anything through you for others because your life isn’t perfect. Because it’s in the real that we truly connect with others. And I forced myself to sit there and fight back the tears because I knew, if it wasn’t for anyone else there, she was speaking to me.
So much of this blog is “preaching to the choir”. When I write, I’m reminding myself of what’s important, I’m encouraging myself to be real, I’m making sure I focus on the right things. And, at the same time, I always picture you and hope that sharing these words will touch your hearts, too. You are important to me. And everywhere I turn right now, the message is Be Real…literally….everywhere.I.turn!
I am almost ready to share some more of my story…almost 🙂 Because I know that I’m not alone. And I hope that I can be an encouragement to others who are hurting and have had to let some of their dreams die. To give hope that they can make it through and dream another dream; it won’t always be easy and there will be setbacks along the path to healing, but Life is a journey and you don’t have to walk the road alone.
Which brings me back around to compassion again. Compassion stirs you to action. Sure, feelings may accompany the action, but when you truly have compassion on someone, you DO something. Compassion speaks. Compassion listens. Compassion gives. Compassion shows respect for the other person and what they are going through. Compassion pushes us out of our own comfort zones sometimes.
So, I encourage you today – the next time you ask someone how they are doing, take the time to really listen. See them through the lens of compassion. Each of us have a struggle somewhere in our lives. It might be big or it might be small. Let’s allow others the space to be real with us. Give them the opportunity to lay down their brave masks and stop pretending that they have it all together and everything is hunky-dory every second of the day. There are plenty of times that we have to plaster on a smile and “fake it till we make it”. Let’s be a soft landing place for our fellow moms and allow them to be real, with no judgment, only compassion. Together, we can do this!