Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tell Me the Truth...

Have you ever heard that “fine” is the Christian “f” word? It’s crude, but true. Of all of the words in the English language, this could possibly be the most damaging to the lives of Christians. Let me explain:

You know the scene: you are somewhere that is not all that unusual for your normal routine…the grocery store, picking up the kids from school, the bank, church, the dry cleaners…whatever. You run into an acquaintance and the conversation goes something like this:

THEM: “Hi, your name here! How are you today?”

YOU: “Fine. And you?”


There it was. Did you catch it?

Fine is not really an acceptable answer. You are something and fine doesn’t really cover it.

I know, I know. You don’t know this person well. You don’t want to burden them with your problems. What you are thinking about is actually a personal issue, and this is not someone you can trust.

I understand that, but the real issue is that too often we tell other Christians that we are fine when we really could use some support. Some understanding. Some guidance. Some prayer. We are too afraid of what they might think or considerate of their feelings to ask for help.

And so the vicious cycle begins. We all parade around acting like everything is okay. Like we aren’t stressed out about how we’re going to make ends meet. Like we aren’t worried about the health of our dad. Like we aren’t concerned about the salvation of our child. Like we aren’t concerned about what those medical test results might look like when they come in. Like we aren’t hurting because our spouse is terribly distant. Like we are happy knowing that our best friend could be making the biggest mistake of his/her life by running off with that person they have only known for 2 weeks. We hide behind a façade of pleasantries and no one is the wiser. We all appear to be drifting happily through life without a care in the world. No burdens. No hardships. No worries. No fears. No insecurities. No hassles. No heartaches. No tears.

This just isn’t realistic. And worse yet—it hurts our witness. When new Christians or even growing Christians experience any of these circumstances, it is hard for them to feel that they have anyone to relate to. It’s hard for them to feel like their errors are okay and normal. It’s hard to feel like they are not failures at the “whole Christianity thing.” It also deters people who are seeking Christianity, as they sometimes see their situation as something that Christians cannot relate to or have never experienced and therefore, would not understand. It is a put-on. It is a lie.

So I’m calling for more realism. I’m not telling you to lay all of your burdens on your milkman if he asks. However, if he asks how you are, tell him you are in need of prayer. If he prompts you and you feel like divulging, please do. It’s a step. It’s an open door. It’s a sign of dependency…and it’s a good thing in the family of God.

We are not called to walk through this world alone. Sure we know we all have God to guide us, but we also are surrounded by a family that he’s given us. A family that is to love us unconditionally and support us when we need it. A family of believers. One bonus effect it actually has? It seems that when we each start opening up about our own needs, we are less judgmental of the needs of others.

Let’s face it…we ARE weak. In fact, we must be so that He might be strong in us. That weakness is not a fault, but is the key to our strength. And let’s support the weakness of each other by admitting to one another that we’re human, and we’re in need.

Starting Friday, I’m going to feature on this site a Mr. Linky. Please write a post about your current needs. What are you going through? What are you frustrated about? What are your prayer requests? What mistakes have you made that you need help with? What questions do you need answers for? Then I will ask each reader and entrant to pray for the other needs on the list. You can be as general or specific as you want, but know that you are met here with love and open arms. God is the healer of all hurts, and there is nothing you are going through that He cannot solve. There is nothing unforgiveable. There is nothing too vile that cannot be cleansed. There is nothing that you can write about that someone else hasn’t already gone through.

My prayer is that this list will provide us each with a list of specific needs that we can pray over for one another. I also pray that it will bring us together—even if that is only virtually. I pray that you will be able to get in touch with someone who has been through something similar and can help you through it. My prayer is that we, as a family of believers, can lift one another up and mature together.

And when you have your prayers answered? Why not post something to link to over on Thursdays for “Count Your Blessings” at The Faithful Follower?

We all need one another. Let’s not pretend that we don’t.

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).

"…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16)


Sheila Hill said...

Thanks so much for the link love!!! I love your post and will post about it today on my blog. Thanks so much for sharing in this way on your blog. What a great idea!

MyKidsMom said...

What a wonderful idea Kaye!

I'm afraid you've described me to a "T". It would seem at our church there are two kinds of people: those who never stop their list of ailments if you ask, and those who wear a smile no matter what(yes, I fit there). I don't even like to blog is I'm feeling down, it just makes me feel so exposed.

I am committed to doing the Recipe Fun Friday post already, but could I post Thursday? I would REALLY like to do this. I might even consider starting another blog just to cover this. Just let me know what would work best.

MyKidsMom said...

If I did another blog for this, I COULD do it on Fridays. Then I would just link to it from my main blog.

Okay, I'm done chattering, LoL. I think this is such a good idea.

Amanda said...

Oh, I like this idea! It's so true how so many of us put on our happy face for others. I did this for far too long and it really took it's toll on me. Thank the Lord, He helped me drop the mask and "get healthy".

Thanks for inviting me! :)

L.L. Barkat said...

This sounds like good grist for a poem. I don't know... I see poems just about everywhere.

(Came over from High Calling blogs, btw.)

Adam said...

It reminds me of the Casting Crowns song "Stained Glass Masquerade" which presents a similar message. I found your statement about the way this kind of thing can hurt our witness to be particularly thought-provoking. I think honesty about our weaknesses is a big thing in Christianity. It opens the way to display God's grace.