Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'm Not Fine

Lisa-Jo Baker, the author of this post, says she's over being "fine". Hers is a beautiful post...so sweet, so transparent. I admire her attitude and openness.

I'm not where she is. I may never be.

When someone asks me how I am I usually answer with a smile and the usual, "Fine, thank you."

In my mind, I justify my answer because, really, I guess I am fine...if you compare my problems with those who have it much worse than me. That works, right? That makes it okay to say "I'm fine" when I'm anything but fine, doesn't it?

You've done it. I've done it. We've asked someone how they are, just because that's what we're supposed to do. Sometimes we might really want to hear their answer. And sometimes, we might be dealing with too much ourselves to be able to listen and to care. I get that. But I have to say that there have been very, very few times when someone asked me that over-used question and I knew, felt, that they wanted to know. That they cared. And even in those few instances I couldn't answer honestly. It hurt too much, and it opened me up to rejection. Again.

Sometimes I want to tell them, just tell them, "If you don't want to know, don't ask. I'm tired of being untruthful." But I know they're only doing what I have done over and over.

Sometimes I want to spill. I want to tell them that I'm not okay. That from childhood I have dealt with anxiety and depression and that I despair of ever getting better. I want to tell them to stop judging me just because I might not handle stress as well as they do. I want to warn them to not even think about telling me to "buck up", because that's what I do. I have to in order to simply live through some days. I want to tell them that sometimes I feel like I've been sucked into a black hole from which there is no escape. And God doesn't seem to be there. He doesn't seem to be anywhere. I want to tell them that sometimes I feel like a broken little girl who will forever be looking for acceptance and love, but who will never believe anyone who says they love her, because she can't. I want to tell them about my family, one of the saddest I've ever heard of. I want to tell them how I've been crushed by people who others would call saints. I want to scream that I don't get it...any of it...and that I'm worn out from trying. I want to tell them about the fears that haunt me, especially at night. Fears of failing in every area of my life. Fears that cause my heart to palpitate and bring on something akin to a panic attack. I want to tell them how much I miss the two dearest people on earth to me. How I weep for them when no one sees, and how I hurt because I know that so few mourn their deaths with me. I want to tell them not to believe the bright smile I wear, because it's only a mask that hides the ugly mess I really am. I want to tell them how I despise myself. I want to tell them that I know I have it better than most...I do...but that doesn't take away the pain. And it doesn't make me ungrateful at all. In fact, it probably makes me more so, because I know how little I deserve all with which I have been blessed.

I want to tell them all these things, but I can't. Because they would be startled, embarrassed, shocked, angry and disgusted. They might tell me that I'm being over-dramatic. That I'm feeling sorry for myself. And, if they did, I would die inside...all over again.

It's a whole lot simpler to just say, "I'm fine."

But, I'm not fine. And I'm too scared to say so.

Please think of this when you ask someone how they're feeling. And, to those of you who have chalked this post up to one big pity party, I guess there's nothing I can say to change your opinion. But I ask that you think about your judgments until you've walked where I have walked. And I ask you to take the time, at least once, to listen to the answer to your question and to hear, really hear, what that person is not saying.

I'm reaching...grasping...for hope. I'm praying that God can help me not necessarily to be "fine", but to just get better. To get real.

There are a lot of people who need to do that, too. You're not fine. I won't offer you advice that I'm not even following, but I do want you to know that you're not alone. More of us are wearing masks than you could imagine.

God sees behind the mask. Sometimes that terrifies me. Mostly, it comforts me, because He's the only one Who can help me with what He finds there. He can help you, too.

I still believe that, someday, I can be healed and used of God to help others who wear the mask of "fine".


To a certain person who has been faithful to ask me how I am, to want to know, and to persist until she gets the answer, thank you. You know who you are.


  1. Thank you for this!! I soooo understand. I see myself in every sentence. God Bless You :)

    1. There are so many of us in this same situation, and we need each other. Praying for peace and healing for you!

  2. Thank you for being brave enough to put your heart "out there" and say what so many of us can identify with! One of my pet peeves through all of our journey with cancer is how the one place where we SHOULD be able to say we are hurting and need help (the church) is the last place we feel we CAN say such because we are all wearing the mask of "if I'm struggling with something I must not be okay spiritually." I've wondered many times what can be done to help others understand that we need to make the church a place where folks feel they can come and be real, and be loved and prayed for and supported. I believe that's how Christ meant for the church to function! Do I hear an AMEN??? =) Blessings on you, Jessica...and now I don't feel quite so alone in posting my own "raw" blog post! =)

    1. You're so right. Church is, unfortunately, the place where we tend to hide the most. Far too often we all live in our own little worlds, simply existing, focused on anything and everything but the person near us. That's not how Jesus meant for it to be. Church should be far more than beautiful music, a good sermon and collecting money for missions. It should be more than a building where we meet. Church should be a family of believers who laugh and weep together, "bearing one another's burdens".

      You're right about the attitude a lot of people have that someone has a spiritual problem if they aren't strong and full of hope and faith when they're suffering. That's so sad...and so wrong. Think of Elijah. He was a great man, a mighty prophet. And there came a time when he lay down and wanted to die because he thought he was the only one left. He was tired. He had run out of strength. But God didn't berate him for feeling sorry for himself, for being weak. Instead, he sent an angel to care for him.

      When a fellow believer is hurting, the last thing they need is for someone to chide them for not having more faith, or to accuse them of not being close enough to the Lord. We HAVE to get over that mindset.

      We have to start reaching out to one another.

      I guess it starts with us. And we can only hope and pray that the eyes of others are opened and they follow suit.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and soul with us. So many of us, those of us who are honest, at least, can identify with much that is written here. I know I can. I hope that you know that I am thinking of you, praying for you and am here for you if you ever need to chat. Many blessings, friend, Lisa

    1. Thank you, Lisa. And the same to you! It's hard to be honest, but it's the first step to healing.

  4. Dear Jessica,
    I am praying that the Lord will continue to heal you and your heart, mind, body, and spirit! He is in the business of doing miracles! "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you". 1 Peter 5: 6-7
    Stand firm in Jesus and put your armor (Ephesians 6: 10) on every day!
    God bless you with many blessings :)

    1. I'm sorry! I thought I had replied and I didn't.
      Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement. I really appreciate it.
      Your blog and Facebook posts are a blessing to me.

  5. Oh my, how this post resonates in my heart! Such honesty is beautiful, and I hope your courage to be honest like this helps the rest of us to also be honest. Perhaps we can start our own little revolution of honestly taking the time to not just ask but listen; to not just give the "pat" answer, but give the raw, painful truth. Bless you, sister!

    1. That would be a wonderful "revolution". Thank you so much for your kind comment, and for reading my blog! Blessings!

  6. Bless you for being so honest and open! We never really know what others are dealing with. You are not alone in your struggles this world throws at all of us. Thank you for your bravery, many of us needed to hear it. Those that are dealing with depression and anxiety, and those that love them. http://www.satisfactionthroughchrist.com

    1. Thank you, Rebecca. Sharing with one another can help so much.... It's a shame we're too scared to do it more often.


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