“How are you?”

I answer the telephone and direct callers to different departments for my job.  The phrase I use when answering is ‘Good morning/afternoon, how may I direct your call?”  Most people just answer my question and I can direct them quickly and efficiently.  Occasionally, I get someone who asks me “How are you?”  To which I answer: “I’m doing well, thank you.  How may I direct your call?”  That way I can keep the calls flowing.  However, I sometimes get someone who asks me “How are you?” and then goes right on into their question.  Not even waiting for me to even respond.

It really made me think about how flippantly that this phrase is used and thrown out.  When someone asks “How are you?” and doesn’t even wait for your answer, it comes across as a cheap greeting.  I always wonder whey they even bothered asking, when they obviously don’t care.

Then there is the generic response of “Fine”, “Good” or “Well”.  I totally admit I use those terms when I don’t want to share with someone how I’m really doing.  Most people are shocked and feel uncomfortable when they ask “How are you?” and someone gives them more than a one word answer.  When they are being actually honest with how they really are doing.

However, I love it when a good friend asks, and waits for your response.  Wanting to truly know how you are doing.  And if you hesitate, not being afraid to gently dig and get to know the truth.  There is something amazing in someone wanting to know you and honestly wanting an answer to “How are you?”

2. Being known

Have you ever had a friend who loves you and knows you so well, that even if you tried to hide something from them, they would call you out?  They know all your quirks, your likes, dislikes, and can sometimes even know what you’re thinking.  It’s an amazing, yet very scary experience being known so intimately and be loved so deeply by others.  I know I desire to be fully known, and I love it when someone knows me so well.  It can be freeing to be known that well, yet very difficult to hide anything.  This is a foreshadowing of my relationship with God.  God knows me better than I know myself.  Even when I‘m aware of this, I try and hide things all the time from Him.  Sometimes, I get so afraid that when he knows my crap, that he won’t love me anymore.  Which is totally a lie, and I have to constantly remind myself that God loves me no matter what.  No matter how hard I run and try to hide, God will always know me.  And, because I have some amazing, close relationships with others who love me unconditionally (which is amazing in and of itself), they show a glimpse of what it is like to be in close relationship with God.  Learning how to have deep relationships with others teaches me how to have a deep relationship with God.  In order to keep these deep friendships, I have to maintain them.  I make an effort to spend time with them, asking them questions, listening to them.  Unfortunately, I forget about the maintenance it takes to have a deep relationship with God.  I forget to spend time with him, and I know listening goes out the window sometimes when I come to Him and talk all about me.  God knew me before I was born!  He created me, and knows all my nuances.  I ultimately have to remember that no matter how alone I may feel, that I am loved and known intimately by the creator of the universe.

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.

5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, [a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!

20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.

21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?

22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.