"How are you?"
Something that really excites me these days is that I can tell God my entire heart. That I (we, you) can speak out loud every single thing that fills your mind and heart and He will listen.
This is a newer concept for me, growing up I seemed to adopt the belief that my prayers had to be a certain way. Curated, respectful, the way I would speak to the Pope or something.
Not until I was stripped to the bone of pretty much every pretense (when my sweet Reese was born), did I realize the insides of me were not matching the outsides. I had questions and dreams, desires and feelings that were finally exposed and let me tell you, it wasn't pretty at all. In fact, some VERY ugly things came out of me the day of my "meltdown" when Reese was 4 months. (side note: I had many meltdowns, this one was just the most extreme).
This day of my meltdown showed me two things.
1. Hiding these emotions and feelings was no longer an option, they needed to be set free, I was living in bondage. I thought I needed to feel one thing and I wasn't. I pretended so everyone else would feel comfortable.
2. Secondly, there are certain people in life who can take the honesty, and sometimes God himself is the only one. I have a feeling, though...you know who your safe people are. The ones who will listen and sit still WITH you. If you have no one, come sit on my couch. If you don't live close, start talking to God, He promises to listen.
It's been almost 5 years since my major meltdown; crying out to God and others was a vulnerable and scary thing; but it's what brought me to a major understanding I live out today. A conviction and belief that what is inside of us matters and emptying out the realness inside of you invites God into those places. If you are lucky, people will also be safe enough to let into those spaces as well.
I've been asked more times than I can count the following question while at church. "Is everything okay?"
I kept getting hit with it, which caused me to pause and reflect.
My aha moment was when I realized the old me would "fake it" if I was having a bad day. If I was about to face people at church, I would take a deep breath, turn it around and dig deep to find a smile and the strength to lie, "We're great!" It was SO good, people would smile back, satisfied and leave me alone. I was more honest now, causing people to worry about me. When, in fact, being honest about having a hard day is SO healthy. It was when I was in hiding that they should have been worried.
Now, I'm not suggesting telling every person who asks you, "how are you?" to actually give them the truth. However, I do think there is something humane and dignified about identifying you aren't okay and being able to communicate that. Everyone in life has days like this, days where they feel like it's NOT okay.
It seems to me, we are ALL HUMAN. Sometimes at church, though, it seems we are MOST comfortable with everyone being robots. (I have been a robot at church for more than half my life, so no shaming here).
I don't know what it looks like to truly have your insides and outsides match (a concept introduced to me by Bekah Jane, my wise SIL), I am definitely on a journey. I do know, however, that the one who made you already knows everything anyway, so He is a good person to start being real with, in my opinion.
Love to you,