“Hello, how are you doing?” That is often a conversation opener or something we say when we meet people at first and for many of us, one question we generally do not expect a response to.
Well, that assumes that we are beginning a conversation in the first place and not barging in on them like some do with a PING on BBM instead of hello to get one’s attention (that irks me to no end) and I have an aunt who does it just for that reason. I love you auntie 🙂 Anyway, back to the main gist, it takes other forms such as, howdy, which also means, ‘how are you doing?’
My pastor once told a story of how at a service, you know how you are encouraged to exchange pleasantries with the person next to you and smile and make them welcome just before the service begins or in the course of the service? A young man was sitting next to a lady and in response to the pastor’s call to reach out to one’s neighbor, the lady said to the young man next to her ‘how are you doing?’ as she reached out to shake his hand and he responded ‘I’m dying’ and she said in response ‘Praise the Lord’. He said to her, ‘I said, I’m dying’, and she said ‘Hallelujah’. Clearly, she wasn’t listening, she wasn’t asking ‘how are you?’ because she wanted to know how he was doing, for her, it was just a salutation, one for which no meaningful response was expected.
If we take some time to slow down and care, asking ‘how are you’ and waiting for the response, a means is provided to see beyond the fake smile and the sadness masked by the hearty inflexion in the voice. We can all reach out a little more with some more attention to those we care about, even the strangers in our immediate environment when we ask that question. Many times, the solution to someone’s problem lies with you and it may cost you nothing. Something that you can easily do away with may be the long awaited answer to another’s prayer. Will you find out how your neighbor is doing today?
However, much more than that, we ought to take out a few quiet minutes to ask ourselves that question. How is the real ‘me’ doing? Paul encourages us to conduct a self-examination. Now, this examination is not to encourage one to live a works based life, nor is it to inspire a guilt trip. Truth is that we will never be all God intends for us to be if we attempt to do it on our own. However, we can rest in the grace of God as evidenced in the finished work and an understanding that without God’s help we are nothing.
First, how is Christ in me? Paul the apostle says we ought to know how Christ is in us (2 Cor. 13:5) in other words, what our water level is…yes, that is very important. Am I growing in my relationship with God or not? Do I know Him better today than I did yesterday? Are we getting more or less intimate? How did I respond to God today? Did I give Him ALL?
Secondly, what am I doing with my family? How am I taking care of them? Too often, we assume that relates to only financial responsibility. No no! It has to do with time allocation, being the priest over the home, raising a wife and kids that one can present to God as a job well done. And it’s not to just the men, the question cuts across board. Am I honoring my parents, submitting to my husband, loving my wife, being honest and truthful to my siblings (both physical and in the body of Christ), raising my kids right…?
Thirdly, am I growing in things that pertain to life? Am I better today than I was yesterday? Am I more temperate, am I addressing my flaws? What inspired my decisions today? Did I listen enough or talk too much? Did I treat my employees and direct reports fairly? As an employee, did I earn my day’s wage? How am I improving on my skills and talents to ensure that I live a life of excellence that glorifies God? What is my attitude to life? Am I thankful, cheerful, begrudging or morose? What did I do with my gifts and talents today? How am I fulfilling purpose? What did I do with the opportunities that life presented to me?
Those are but a few and there is a whole lot of things that could make up our checklist but what is most important is the ability to introspectively address the answers these questions provide. Eccl. 7:10 in TLT says “Don’t long for the good old days, this is not wise”. This means that God’s intent is for us to get better by the day, for our paths to shine brighter and brighter.
Hence, we must quiet down and ask ourselves, “How are you doing?” And when our inner man responds, we must not be like the lady who said Hallelujah when more was needed because she had a default response expectation. We must be willing to listen to our spirit’s response and then inspired by God’s word, act.
So, are you going to start asking yourself ‘How are you doing?” today?
God bless you.
I’d like to apologize for being AWOL. I’m back now and I appreciate everyone who checked on me and those who wondered and those who noticed only because they saw this :-). I feel very loved. God bless you all for reading, commenting and being here. You are appreciated.