Mood, Mindset and Matters of the Heart


Don’t you wish there were a better answer to the question “How are you?” “I’m fine” pops out of our mouths far too mechanically because how do you really describe the fact that, at any given moment, we’re all a mix of delight and despair?

“How are you, Elizabeth?”

I’m extra super-duper excited about the futures in front of my children who have worked really hard to position themselves to be ready for opportunities that come their way! While I miss having eyeballs on each of their incremental successes, or ears out for tidbits around the dinner table, I am contented with the resulting slightly slower pace right now. Kevin and I can usually take time to lean into our own future and decide how we want to direct our lives without being blown by gale-force winds in any certain direction. We’re learning to embrace that. (Notice the ongoing tense.) My friendships with moms and teammates I’ve known for years are transitioning from “all about the kids” or “all about work” to “I’d do anything for you.” I still always enjoy helping people who bring their skin concerns to me. I get to provide lovely service, but there’s always the intrinsic reward of knowing I’m trusted enough to be asked to help.

And, then there’s …

I’m not intentionally hiding the facts that my health has some invisible challenges, occasional family dramas feel overwhelming at times, I rarely sleep more than five hours a night, or I sometimes get a nervous twitch in my neck. I wonder about the drive and dreams of my teammates and how I can help keep them inspired to be determined about the work they know is necessary. I’m heartbroken over general injustice and inhumanity, and I have an overall sadness because people suffer. No one excluded.

That’s just in one day, right? I’m sure I’m not the only one. And, somehow the only way we’ve figured out how to make it all fit in a passing answer is to smoosh it all into two of the most banal words ever combined.

Maybe we need a better question. Or, maybe we need to quit asking if we don’t intend to take the time to allow for a real answer.

In a world with so many maybes, I’ll offer you what I do know. This imperfect place, where we all struggle with sin on a daily basis, is not our forever home. We may not have all the answers, but we can “set our minds on things above,” and not be swayed by circumstances, or fooled by fickle feelings. We can live in the midst of muddled messes and still have gladness of heart that comes from knowing God, abiding in Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit. We can “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”

I may not be “fine” every time I answer your question; but I am filled with the Holy Spirit, and that is reason to be glad. In fact, that may be my new answer to the question “How are you doing?” I am glad. It’s a little awkward, but maybe then I’ll have occasional opportunity to express why I’m glad. And, if someone keeps walking, then it’s no different than if I had said, “I’m fine” in the first place, right?

How about you? Will you change your answer? Or, your question? I’d love to hear how we can improve our connections, even in passing. What ideas do you have? Please share!

Just like popping the top of your favorite bubbles and finding a mood-tickling fizz, I plan on letting this image be my reminder that my source of everlasting joy is “in the Lord,” rather than in the difficult, painful, constantly changing circumstances of life. And, THAT joy, my friends, never runs out at the bottom of a can.

Download with me, and “be joyful always.”

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