She slides into the seat across from me at a busy restaurant. I can see the tiredness in her eyes. She’s in a tough season. Many women would have given up by now. But not her. “How are you?” I ask. I really want to know.
“Oh, I’m so blessed!” she responds with a forced smile.
I reach my hand across the table and touch hers. “I mean how are you, really?”
Tears come to the corners of her eyes. “I’m ready to be done with all of this. It’s harder than I thought it would be.”
So which answer was true? Both.
We’re funny as humans. We tend to think in terms of all or nothing. So we insist that life is great when we’re breaking apart inside. Because to do otherwise would be to discount all of God’s goodness in our lives, right? Not so, friend. We always live with both blessings and brokenness. Challenges and victories. Sorrow and joy. They’re all mixed up together.
Acknowledging the hard parts of our lives doesn’t mean that we’re not grateful for the gifts God has given. We can thank Him every day for the child He’s given us while also feeling exhausted when that same child gets on our last nerve. We can feel deep appreciation for the job He’s provided us with while wanting to beat our heads against our desks in frustration several times a day. We can wonder at how many blessings fill our lives while at the same time sensing an aching emptiness that comes from desires unfulfilled.
God understands both.
So what do we do? We embrace the paradox. We bring our sorrows as well as our joys to God. We say, “Thank you for this job. Please help me because it’s wearing me out.” We pray, “Thank you for this child. Please give me strength because I feel like selling him to the gypsies.” We declare, “Thank you for the blessings in my life. Please grant the desire of my heart that feels like a hole in the middle of all this wonderfulness.”
What does it tell God when we do that? It says that we trust Him. Like the psalmist says, “I trust in your unfailing love.” In other words, “No matter what my circumstances are, I believe that you love me. And I will choose to recognize your love in both the hard and happy parts of my life. I know I’m safe with you and I can bring everything about my experience on this earth to you.”
God is leaning toward you right now and He’s asking, “How are you, really?”
He truly wants to know.
And it’s okay to tell Him.
All of it.
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