The “How are you?” Dilemma – A.K.A. I am really not trying to be religious, but this stuff is real.


When you are in the midst of a serious faith challenge one of the most difficult things to deal with is the simple question, “How are you doing?”

Innocuous, right? But a potential minefield.

It all comes down to who is asking and the setting. There is nothing worse than being in a difficult moment and seeing the widening eyes of the innocent person floundering to come up with a response to the tears that fill your eyes as you honestly share the battle you are facing. Oooooops. They were just using the question to segway into a conversation about how they are feeling. Drat! Made the mistake again. LOL

Then there is the moment you answer from your confession of victory. Face it, you are in constant state of pep talk on the inside. Your battle is fierce and you have scripture rolling around up there to counteract the physical or emotional symptoms that are shouting at you throughout the day. You turn to them and share a positive confession, simply because it is in there. They give you that weird, “oh my, that was Jesusy” look. Epic fail, again.

Or, you simply brush over it all and say, “I’m fine.” Then you become condemned because you sound like a liar to yourself.

My goodness, add up all the times during the day that you are faced with this question and it is tempting to stay hiding inside. Simply because you might get stuck for a full minute and a half staring blankly at the next person who asks you those four dreaded words. But the key is the missing words that should follow.

How are you doing… in the midst of the battle?

I now come prepared. I ask myself the following questions quickly.

  • Is this question legit? Or is it a greeting? Example: How are you questions from people just making contact.
  • Is there time to discuss stuff? Sometimes it is a legitimate request to listen. If you don’t have enough time, thank them and let them know you would like to share details when you both have more time. Bank these people in your memory for the rough days, when you could use support.
  • Does the person want fact or truth? God’s Truth is always greater than fact.
    • I am living with a truth focus, if they want fact I have to determine:
      • If I can trust them?
      • Can I recover from telling them fact?
      • Can they handle fact?
      • Are they going to discount the fact and try and fix fact?
        • These people are better with “truth”. They want to hear a God Truth, a scripture etc. that they can relate to and cheer you on. Be aware that fixers mean well, but they gain good energy by fixing. Fixing for you can be draining.
  • Do I need space? When I know that I am resting in God and His promises, but don’t have the reserves to explain this in detail I rely on a statement that covers all the bases.
    • How are you doing?
      “Better and better every day, thank you.”
    • Then you can choose to stay in the conversation, turn it to them and gain a reprieve from your stuff and get the fellowship you are craving or you can just move on with a smile. The best thing is this works for everyone, in the church and out.

Hope this made you smile and helps as you walk out the real stuff, while loving people along the way.