“How are you”? We ask this question all of the time. We ask this question of our best friends, family members, and complete strangers. We are so used to the question being asked of us that we all have a few answers that we give in response. Our responses are usually something like “fine”, “good”, “O.K.”, or perhaps, “I’m doing well” if feel like oversharing. It is rare for us to answer the question with much honesty. In fact, I tend to think that we ask the question to avoid honesty. We all assume most people don’t really want to hear the honest answer to the question so we give a quick non-threatening answer and then move along. The person getting the answer to the question rarely digs deeper and we are all left thinking everyone is relatively good.
The truth is many of us aren’t good. We are overly busy and tired. We are struggling with depression and anxiety. We are frustrated that our lives aren’t what we had hoped. We are grieving loses. We are struggling to find meaning and purpose. We are overwhelmed, disconnected, and we feel alone. Many of us are trying to find or to maintain joy and peace in our lives when things have gone sideways on us. And yet, when asked, we default to saying that we are fine.
That’s why being apart of the Christian community is so important. You and I need safe places in our lives to openly and honestly share our burdens and point one another to Jesus. In Galatians 6:2, Paul reminds us to “Bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”. In Hebrews 10:24-25, the author reminds us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We gather together, in part, to help one another face the difficulties of life and to encourage one another to faithfully live the Christian life.
When John Wesley was getting Methodism underway, he created what he called Class Meetings. The class meeting was designed for people of faith to connect. It was a tool for spiritual formation and discipleship. They would often pray together, take communion, and would ask, “How is it with your soul?”. This simple question was a catalyst for spiritual growth. It was meant to create a space for honest reflection in a safe small group environment. People could confess struggles and sins in a loving and supportive environment and then be encouraged to follow Jesus faithfully.
I’d like to encourage you to join a small group if you aren’t already a part of one. It can take on a lot of different looks. It could be a prayer group, Bible study, Sunday school class, or accountability group. Any of those places will do, but make sure it’s a place where you are being challenged to go deeper in your faith and you are being pointed to Jesus. We need each other in the body of Christ. We need genuine relationships and connections in a world where people are feeling more and more isolated. If you aren’t connected in this way, you need to be. Your spiritual life depends on it. If you are struggling to find a group, pray about it and ask your pastor or small groups director. Let them know what you are looking for so they can work with you to help you find the right group for you.
Questions for Reflection:
- Do you struggle with opening up to others about your struggles?
- Do you fear to be open and honest with others about the state of your soul?
- Are you apart of a small group that makes space for open and honest confession about struggle, temptation, doubts, and sin?