Q. ”How should I respond to people who ask me how I’m doing? I don’t want to be false and just say, “Fine” but then again I don’t want to whine or complain to everyone either.” – Robyn
This is a question my sweet new friend Robyn from Zambia asked last week. I thought it would be a great question to answer here, because I’m just guessing you may want to hear the answer, too! So here are my thoughts:
- Thank them for asking.
If someone takes the time to ask how you are doing, I would affirm the person by saying “Thank you so much for asking.” Let’s face it, most of the time people are too busy to ask and care, so if someone is doing both, by all means tell them how much you appreciate their heart.
- Be honest without being a whiner.
You might say, “You know, the truth is, life has been hard,” or “Honestly, I’ve been struggling lately.” This is not whining. It is a fact. But, please don’t stop here. If you do, your caring friend will feel like they have to fix you or they might be sorry they asked in the first place. Nobody wants that, right?
- Point them to Truth.
What you say next can either point them to The Truth or turn into a whine-fest. You have an opportunity at this pivotal moment, to pull back the veil of fine and share your heart. You don’t need to preach a sermon, but simply say, “This is what I’m learning…” or “God is teaching me this…” or even, “But this is the promise from His Word I am clinging to…” The temptation here is to focus on ourselves because we like sympathy. But Truth always lifts people up. As you hear yourself telling your friend what God is teaching you, the bonus will be you are reminded and lifted as well.
- Listen to their response.
A lot of times, when you authentically share your story with someone they will in turn share something with you. They might be struggling too and your words will bless them. Or, they may be drawn into your life and offer to pray for you. Either way, this is true:
“I’ve learned a thing or two during this experience. The first is that when we are winning and life looks good on the outside, people want to be like us. But, when we are honest and share our broken and disappointed places, others strongly connect with us. When we are strongly connected with others, we can find purpose in our struggles like never before. In this honest and connected place we also find a powerful pocket of influence.” Being OK With Where You Are, chapter 3.
I’m not going to tell you this type of real is easy. In fact, the enemy flat out hates this type of talk because your story is a reminder that Jesus is active in your life and you are trusting in Him. The truth is our not OK places have the power to encourage others in their not OK places, too. We simply have to tell be willing to tell them.
Let’s be brave.
Let’s be honest.
Let’s point them to Jesus and His Word.