How Are You?

How Are You?

Written by Dr. Bill Bagents

Being odd, I tend to enjoy being asked, “How are you?”  Actually I appreciate being asked, and I enjoy searching for new ways to respond. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “Better than I deserve.” Hardly original, but always accurate.
  • “Fair to middlin’.” Again, not original, but highly functional.  It’s seriously southern and open to the broadest of interpretations.
  • “Peaceable.” Enough people have heard me say this, that they’re no longer surprised by it.  I like it in light of the blessing of Matthew 5:9 and the commandment of Romans 12:18.  Since Jesus is “The Prince of Peace,” His disciples should be fundamentally peaceable.
  • “Better than yesterday.” Applicable only when true, and subject to the natural response of, “So how bad was yesterday?”  Sometimes that question is welcome, and sometimes I need to let the past be the past.
  • “Not as good as I’m gonna be.” This one is fun because of its optimism.  It’s powerful when paired with the stunningly rich promises of 1 John 3:1-3 or 1 Corinthians 15:50-58.
  • “Fat and happy.” Too often that’s literally true, but there are many ways to be “fat.”
  • “Confused.” I really like “dazed and confused,” but the combination is less frequent. The confused part applies to some part of almost every day.
  • “Blessed.” Aren’t we all (Matthew 5:45)? And aren’t all Christians stunningly blessed (Ephesians 1:3-12 and 2:8-10)?
  • “Busy and glad to be.” I don’t just mean engaged in the rat race. I’m thinking more in terms of Luke 2:49 and John 9:4.
  • “I’m just proud to be here.” Minnie Pearl had it right. There’s wisdom in being grateful to still be around and aware.
  • “Strange and stranger.” I mean this to affirm individual uniqueness. If I offer this answer, I can’t rightly take offense if those who hear it agree.
  • “If I were any better, I’d have to be twins.” I never use this one, but I often hear it.
  • “Still learning.” I hope this one is true for each of us for all our lives, not in the sense of 2 Timothy 3:7, but definitely in the sense of 2 Peter 1:5-11.
  • “Headed for heaven.” Fits John 14 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1.
  • “Only the Lord knows.” Of course we don’t mean this tritely.  It’s an acknowledgement that sometimes we’re clueless, and we’re confident that the Lord never is.
  • “Closer to heaven than I was yesterday.” In light of Hebrews 9:27 and James 4:13-14, that’s logically true for all Christians. I hope it’s also true in the sense of our faith and heart.
  • “Awesome.” I’d never say this, but I know sweet people who say it and mean, “I’m amazingly blessed by God and happy in His care.”
  • “Wonderful and beautiful.” Again, this wouldn’t flow from my lips, but a Filipino Christian friend says it with amazing conviction that shines from her precious heart.
  • “Do you really want to know?” We realize that the only loving answer is yes (Philippians 2:3-4 and Galatians 6:2).  Aren’t you glad that we can choose to want to know?

“You don’t have time for me to tell you.”  People are both complex and complicated. I never fail to believe this truth, but I hope people know that we’ll take the time to hear as much as they need to tell us.  And aren’t we glad that God always has time to hear all that is on our hearts, even the parts that we can’t express?