How Are Ya Doin’?

I’m hearing this a lot that these days.

I often think about that question. Sometimes I want to ask back, do you really want to know?  Some people do. Others are being friendly and are just passing by. I think most fall somewhere in between.

Most of the time the best answer is a polite, “just fine, how are you?”

Lately I tell people, “I made it to today, that seems pretty good so far.”

Rarely, but every now and then, I just tell the truth and say, “terrible, but maybe things will get better.”

It always depends on who’s asking, the look in their eyes, and the tone of their heart.

How are YOU doin’ these days?

Are you wagging more and barking less?

Are you keeping plenty of people to love very near?

Do you let all that bad stuff just run down and never soak in?

Are you keeping your eyes on today, never missing a chance that God puts in your path?

Smiling at every face that comes into sight, stranger or not?

Putting your problems aside and thinking about someone else as often as you can – telling ’em as quickly how much they mean to you?

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” ― Dale Carnegie (I couldn’t resist)

The holidays are right around the corner. That’s when some people feel really awful. When someone near to you (at work, down the street, in the next pew, at the end of a phone call) needs to hear, “how are ya’ doin’?” And somehow know that you really want to hear the truth.

Your own bad situation is going to fade away when you start to find ways to take care of someone else’s. It works every single time!

Someone needs you right now, but may never ask

So…how about instead of asking that polite question again and again…you just assume that everyone you meet is probably having (or soon will) a hard time about something. How about you find something encouraging to say that’s personal? How about you pray (really!) for people you pass on the road of your life? How about you find a secret way to lift up people you hardly know who may not hear enough good news?

“How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.”  ― Rainer Maria Rilke

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“Look, if you sold a few sparrows, how much money would you get? A copper coin apiece, perhaps? And yet your Father in heaven knows when those small sparrows fall to the ground. You, beloved, are worth so much more than a whole flock of sparrows. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. So do not fear.”  – Jesus in Matthew 10:29-31 (The Voice)

God needs you to spread the encouragement, blessings and love of friendship. He needs you to help drive out the fear that haunts so many around you. He needs you to help become part of the answer to “How Ya Doin’?”

How Many Hairs Do You Have Left?

I had another blog idea driving in to work today, but I forgot it five minutes later, once I got to the computer. My friend called and I answered the phone. That in itself is a miracle. We came up with this as an alternative blog. It’s probably a much better idea!

“Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I watched a film the other evening about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. They had to trace back not just the definition of each word but the word’s origins. They began in 1858 and didn’t really finish until 1928! Have you ever used the word “fret”? It’s another way to describe worry. It’s origin is found in the words like devour. We sometimes say that “He was eaten up with worry.”

Your prayer isn’t supposed to be “take away all my problems!” That’s not going to happen. Welcome to planet earth. Welcome to the land of death and decay.

My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass. – Psalm 102:11

No, your prayer ought to be, take away my worries. I know who holds my hand. 

Jesus sending out his disciples ahead of him said:

“What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Matthew 10:29-31

  1. They may have been sitting at the Temple looking at the cages of animals for sale to be used for sacrifice. The cheapest animal to buy was a bird. Yet God knew all about their lives.
  2. God is so intimately acquainted with each of us, he’s even keeping up with our diminishing hair supply.
  3. What’s the big lesson here? Don’t be afraid. You are of great value to God.

“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles…by the ears, by the heels, or any  way you can manage it.” ― Mark Twain

These days, while putting my new life in order, I’m often going to bed at night with a full brain still running around with things to do and issues to resolve. Mostly about the basics of living. While giving his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed worry and the cares of life:

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  – Matthew 6:31-33

I don’t think he means not to address and manage the issues of living. I think he means not to worry and let these consume your life, moment by moment. Not to let your thinking about living become worries that dominate. We all need to figure out the balance, keeping our mind on riding that bike while simultaneously pushing the fear of falling out the window.

So, I’ve been asking people who want to pray for me to for this very thing, ask God to help me not worry while I’m working hard at reordering my life. 

The big lesson is: take care of your business, do it in thoughtful ways, always put people ahead of yourself, but don’t worry – even about the most important and essential things. Put these in God’s hands and then go about the work he has left for you to do.

“It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains!” ― Alice Caldwell Rice