Years ago, a woman in our church, just a few years older than me began a battle with breast cancer. I admired her so much because rather than waiting until the battle was done, she invited our church family into her journey.
She was honest with the pain. Honest with her fear. Vulnerable even.
Now breast cancer’s not an easy one to hide. You lose your hair. You feel terrible. You need help. But I’ve seen plenty of people facing crisis just kind of pretend that everything’s fine.
Or they spout Romans 8:28 platitudes. Or they “trust in God’s plans,” rather than saying, “This really stinks.”
I’ll admit, there are time when I have had a really stinky week. And when someone asks how I’m doing, I answer, “Great!”
I’ve asked myself why I do this.
And here’s what I’ve come up with:
1. Not everyone is interested in how I’m really doing. They’re not really asking. They’re saying, “Hi!” And so, if I share with them the really stinky week that I’ve had, they don’t know what to do with that.
2. There’s just not enough time. If I answer with anything other than “Great!” we may get into a conversation that neither of us really has time for.
3. We’re not close enough. If I share the details of my really stinky week, I may cross into intimate territory that needs to stay within the confines of my marriage, our family, or our household.
4. I’m dealing with the stinkiness. I don’t even know how to put it into words. It feels raw. And although I want to be honest, I’m not quite ready to be vulnerable.
5. And, if I’m going to be honest here, there are times I feel a need to self-protect. Pride or fear is driving me. I’m dealing with my own insecurity or shame. With the stinkiness swirling around, my eyes are focused on me. I can’t reach out for help, and so I protect myself with a smile. Ugh.
What about you? When you’ve had a stinky week and someone asks you how you’re doing, do you answer, “Great!” Or do you tell them the honest truth? Leave me a comment and let me know.