How are you?
How are you?
These three words are often the emptiest words we will hear in our day. They are normally, and certainly expected to be, followed by ‘good thanks’.
So how are you really?
We live in a world now where people are sharing more of their lives than they ever have before. We are seeing what people are eating for lunch, where they are holidaying, where they are waiting in line, we are even having live streamed updates on people’s thoughts and feelings. Often what we see is a split second in someone’s day, a photo perfectly staged, Instagram worthy, filtered. What we don’t always see is the whole picture.
From a young age we sometimes unknowingly program our kids into this lifestyle. After all, it seems so much easier to show the good bits of life. We are taught to show our positive emotions, but the truth is, it’s ok to cry sometimes. It’s no wonder we don’t show the whole picture when we get older, if we have learnt that some feelings need to be hidden.
It’s a fact of life is that we all face challenges; we will all have problems from time to time. We will all fall down but the key is choosing to get back up. Those who say they don’t have problems are probably doing one of two things: either hiding their problems, or pretending they don’t have any.
So I’ll ask again, how are you really?
When we live under the pressure of feeling we have to be enough but feel like we never will be, we find ourselves faced with three choices:
We stay in hiding. This is a very hopeless place to stay. It leads to feelings of despair, believing nothing will ever get better. Despair can lead to depression and anger. It makes us close off from relationships and we withdraw from those around us. Have you ever found yourself here? Perhaps you’re in a job that you are hating, you feel sick getting up for work in the morning and you see no way out. You feel trapped.
We pretend we don’t have a problem. We smile and say we are fine as we drag our heavy load around. Why do we pretend to be ok? Perhaps we think that no one wants to hear about our problems, perhaps we are ashamed to admit we aren’t coping, perhaps we don’t want people to think less of us. We think we are supposed to be ok because everyone else seems to be ok. Pretending you’re ok when you’re not leads to anxiety and fear.
We have an honest, pour your heart out conversation with God. The fact is God already knows what is going on, He is waiting for you to talk to Him.
The first step in moving forward is to tell God the truth. It doesn’t matter what it is, pour it all out! Whatever it is God already knows but he wants to hear it from you.
“O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8 NLT)
Ask God for help and guidance. We were never made to go it alone. When you are ready to change your life, God will be there.
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT)
Paul asked God to take away his weakness, sometimes the answer isn’t always what we want to hear but we know that God’s grace is all we need and His power works best in weakness. It’s only when we acknowledge our weakness that God’s strength shines through us. God has given us all the tools we need to cope with the challenges before us, we just have to figure out which ones to use when.
Taking the first step is the hardest, tip toe if you must, but take the first step and if you fall down get back up and start again. We have our whole life to keep trying and that is all God is asking from us.
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” (James 4:8 NLT)