Stuck On Fine

This week's post by Brandon Adent, a deacon at Redeemer Church. He likes words and music, and as soon as he hits publish will pour himself another cup of coffee and listen to an old Switchfoot album.


Given the question “How are you doing?”, a response meant to communicate a mental state somewhere between “decent” and “I can’t complain”.

But “fine” is lazier, somehow; I find it to be an effective substitute for “I don’t want to get into it”.

“Fine”. What a terrible word.

And yet it is the word I choose most often.

Perhaps I go with this awful word due to a lack of time or energy. Or maybe I’m trying to be considerate; I know someone else is going through a much tougher time, and it doesn’t make sense to talk about how I’m bored at work or school.

For me, though, the main reason is not that I’m doing well or poorly, it’s that I haven’t stopped think about it. I get so caught up in finding and making distractions that I lose sight of what I’m avoiding.

I don’t want to stop the hamster wheel of distraction, either. (They’ve gotta know that all that work is getting them nowhere, right?). I’m scared of which adjective is true. Actually. I’m scared of saying which adjective is true, of admitting to myself and others how I truly am.

But, as Christians, the Gospel frees us up to be honest with ourselves and others. We know that God sees behind every facade we create, every little lie we tell ourselves, every flaw or weakness we try to cover:

“O God, you know my folly,” the Psalmist says, “the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.” (Psalm 69:5)

Because the only Person who does not have opinions knows us for who we really are - and died for us knowing our worst - we can be honest with ourselves and others. We don’t have to resort to “fine”.

Like any word, “fine” does have it’s place in life and conversation. But don’t let it take the place of honesty.

Given the question “How are you doing?”, maybe pick a different response than “fine”.