How Are You? Really?

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

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Summer was in full swing. One day effortlessly merged  into the next as I basked in the glow of the unscheduled nature of summer vacation: the time of respite given to weary students, teachers, and parents so we can fill our depleted souls in order to do it all over again in late August.

I love summer with a fierce passion. I treasure the unscheduled lazy days (well at least until late July when the kids start using each other as squeaky toys and boredom turns normally lovely little creatures into potential spawns of…..sorry I digress)

As I was saying, I love summer and this one was no exception. Things were going beautifully until my world started spinning…literally.

I was doing my thing: writing, swimming the with kids, taking naps, running errands etc and felt confident in doing such normal tasks. Yet day after day I began to notice that things felt a little “off.” Driving required extra concentration. A carousal ride left me sitting on my horse wondering when this particular park went to mock 4 speeds. Naps went from a luxury to a necessity. And floors seemed to move under my feet.

I tried to manage things on my own, convincing myself that I was just tired or imagining things, but my symptoms worsened. When I could no longer stand up without swaying I admitted defeat and went to the doctor.

The doctor listened patiently and did all the normal investigative doctor things then looked at me and said that I have a bad case of vertigo caused by eustachian tube dysfunction. (Yep, I now have a piece of paper that says I’m dysfunctional. great!)

As I sat swaying on the exam table I asked if he could see a lot of fluid in my ears. “Nope. Your outer ears are totally clear. In fact I can see no outside sign of a problem. On the outside you look fine (except for the little bit of swaying). The problem is all internal – in your middle ear. ”

I took my small booklet of prescriptions and went on my merry swaying way. But as I waited in the pharmacy for the pills that would stop my world from spinning I began to process the deeper truth of what the doctor told me. “On the outside you look fine…the problem is all internal.”

Wow! Have truer words every been spoken? How fine do we all look on the outside (ok so some probably look more fine than others) but what pain and dysfunction do we carry inside? And what kind of damage could that pain and dysfunction do in the long run?

Ignoring pain never works. The pain either grows or gets masked by other destructive means. Ignoring a problem only results in the birth of new problems. I tried to ignore my symptoms at first, but it did not take long for me to feel like a ship had tossed me around and then sailed right over me leaving me flattened in its wake.

So many things in life can be like that right? Grief, betrayal, sickness, and even a fading walk with the Lord. We can pretend things are fine and we can look great on the outside, but inside we are falling apart and the pain becomes to great to ignore.

Are you struggling today? Has it become impossible to pretend things are fine? Friend, please know that you are not alone. You have a Father who loves you more than you can imagine. He knows the pain of a broken heart and a broken body. He longs to bear the weight of your pain, and to hold you in His loving arms. Run to Him. Talk to Him.

He has also given us each other. We are called to bear one another’s burdens. Seek godly counsel. Seek medical or professional help if needed.

Today let’s not be afraid to share someone’s pain. Let’s ask “How are you?” and mean it and then stick around to hear the answer.

Let’s ask someone for help. And maybe for one day, let’s take off the “I’m fine” mask and tell someone “I’m hurting.”

Let’s hold onto each other through the dizzy times and wait with great expectation for the day when Jesus will return to make ALL things right.

I would love to pray for you today. If I can join you in prayer please leave a comment below or email me directly at jmbleakley@gmail.com 

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