All of us have looked at another person wishing we had the life they have, but we often only see the best of that person’s life. We probably have never known the struggles they had to endure to get where they are today.
We say nowadays that people show the best parts of their lives on social media, so you can’t say you completely know someone by what they post. But even before social media, people would still only present their best selves in public.
When I was growing up, my mom would write the annual Christmas letter to close friends and family. This Christmas letter would usually highlight the best moments from the past year.
Another form of publicity would be the local newspaper. People would make exciting announcement of engagements, weddings, births and graduations.
There was however a section of the newspaper that was dedicated to announcing crime and arrests in town, and these postings were done by the police department and not the perpetrators themselves.
We are often quick to post the joyous events in our lives, but want to leave out the struggles and failures. There are some exceptions to this, those who seem to post everything negative going on in their lives.
Whether you are positive poster or the negative Nelly, remember this, no one’s life is without its troubles.
I remember sharing with a co-worker how I was divorced. This person was surprised and said ‘you didn’t seem the type of person to have been divorced.’ I was wondering what type he meant.
People will only know based on what one reveals. I’m not saying to not be transparent, but I feel it is important to have some authentic relationships. If no one knows your true self, there must be a reason you’re hiding out. And often it can cause more stress on yourself if you are showing a facade.
While I may not air my dirty laundry on social media, I do have a few friends with whom I share my struggles. And if God leads, I do share my testimony in order to encourage someone else.
I’ve learned to not be jealous of anyone else because I know everyone has something difficult going on that may be completely unbearable.
I’ve been a believer for many years and through my struggles, God has been there for me. I sometimes had moments where I wondered if life would get easier, and then it did. But then another uphill battle would appear, and I’d think, “when is it ever going to end?”
Through the ups and downs in my 40 years of life, I know I’ve grown stronger spiritually and emotionally; and God’s goodness and grace has been revealed to me over and over again.
A former boss of mine said to me after I had gotten out of an abusive relationship, that I was now my true self. But I don’t think that’s what it was, it’s not that I wasn’t myself before, it’s that I had grown stronger and more confident. I was never like that before that relationship.
In Romans 5:3-4 it says
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
So instead of hoping your life was better or you had what your friend has, remember that God allows us to go through difficult situations so we can develop endurance and character. Also be introspective and learn about the struggles and how next time you can grow from it and not do it again, or go through it better than you did before.
I’ll leave you with the serenity prayer that tells us to discern what we can and can’t control and encourages us to make changes in our lives:
“God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.” ~Reinhold Niebuhr