Blog Post

How Are You? Really?

How many times in a day are you asked “How are you?”? It’s a simple question, one that we often feel compelled to give a polite answer to. Even on a bad day, we’re more likely to answer “I’m fine” rather than to speak truthfully about what is on our minds and hearts. We don’t often see what a wonderful opportunity “How are you? can be.  

Several years ago, Sharla Langston decided to challenge herself and choose a different answer to this age-old question. Every time someone asked, she responded with “I’m a woman doing well.” By simply swapping out her default answer, Sharla was able to open the doors of conversation like never before—and she opened a floodgate. While she didn’t always have the opportunity to talk about Women Doing Well, she was always given the chance to experience a meaningful conversation. These conversations were long and short, with everyone from friends to gas station attendants. She notably remarked that the male gas station attendant responded with, “I’m a man doing the same.”  

The more Sharla used this response, the more she found herself reminded of God’s goodness and blessings. (Read Sharla’s full article here.)  

Sharla and I recently had a phone conversation to catch up on where she’s been since writing the original article for Women Doing Well. I’ve summarized her responses to the questions I asked below.  

What’s your life been like since first writing the article?  

Being a “woman doing well” has come to mean new things for me. It means taking care of all aspects of my health through a holistic approach. I’m still responding to people by saying, “I’m a woman doing well.” It allows for our conversation to always go deeper, even if I don’t have a chance to talk about Women Doing Well.  

How has God challenged you?  

God challenged me through my health. Before the COVID-19 shutdown in March, I had stepped away from my full time job to focus on my mental health and wellbeing. I needed to take time for myself and heal from a mental health crash. This time has helped me recenter my focus on Christ. I was struggling with the often asked question “How are you?” Our “How are you? is centered on how we are with the Lord. It’s been important to ask myself, Where is my joy coming from? Is it coming from God or somewhere else? If I’m centered with Jesus, my answer can always be, “I’m a woman doing well.”  

What ways has COVID challenged you?  

In some ways COVID-19 has been a blessing to me. It has actually been a great time to get focused on Jesus again and remind myself where my joy comes from and who I serve. I’ve been inspired to find new ways to improve people’s lives in the simple ways, doing little things to make their day better. I believe I’m being called towards these small acts of kindness. 

Instead of COVID being a drain, I’ve been able to take this time to intentionally go deeper with God. Additionally, the simple act of calling out that I’m a woman doing well is connecting me and reminding me to keep going deeper into gratitude and the abundance of God.  

Kalie Shaw

About Author

Kalie Shaw

Kalie Shaw is a junior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, graduating in 2022. She studies Multimedia Storytelling and Political Advocacy and loves working with audio, video, and writing. One day, she hopes to work with local nonprofits by telling their stories to demonstrate their very important role in their communities.

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