Can you relate? Do you ever feel like everyone else has it all together or has everything going right? Everyone but you? I feel this way more than I should. I can think of the craziest things that other people must have going for them that I am sadly missing out on. Although this struggle goes on, I can see ways that the Lord has grown me and matured me and given me a little of that thing (that usually comes with hard lessons) called perspective.
A year or two ago these are some of the things that apparently everyone else had going just right except me:
*Sleep. For heaven’s sake, am I the only one who is exhausted ALL.THE.TIME?! Why am I the only one walking around with big black bags under my eyes?
*Health. Does no one else get as sick as my family? Why doesn’t everyone have multiple rounds of the stomach flu every year?
*The perfect house. Doesn’t anyone else’s roof leak? Doesn’t anyone else have to work their silly buns off to keep a presentable house? Does anyone ever wish for just a split second they could burn the whole blasted thing down and start over? (And then take it back, of course……I know too many families who have lost it all in house fires and then I wonder what is wrong with me for even wishing such a thing?! I’m a monster!)
*Delightful children….really, do parents go days and days without having to reprimand or discipline their little children? What am I doing wrong? I feel fortunate to go hours without intervening in my children’s bad behavior.
*Money. Of course everyone seems to have way more of it than we do. Doesn’t anyone else have to stretch and stretch and sometimes even just snap from all the stretching? And why are some people such ridiculously good budgeters? I mean, really, who can spend like $200/month on groceries for a family over four? I’m hungry just trying to figure it out…..
*Happiness. Am I just a downer? Are other people happy all the time and I’m just the loser who has bad days here and there and sometimes even bad weeks or months?!
I still have days where I wonder these things. But life has given me a bit of a wake-up call….partly in the form of glimpses into other people’s lives, partly in the form of just taking my eyes off myself for a stinkin’ second so that I can see the reality of life….not just my life. There is an advantage of sharing our burdens with one another….partly it is lifting one another up in prayer, partly it is being humble enough to acknowledge that we don’t have it all together, and really there is a blessing in knowing we all struggle. None of us are perfect. As happy as we make ourselves look and as perfect as we try to make our lives sound, we are all less than perfect.
Welcome to my not so perfect life. After receiving some encouragement from friends during our recent parenting challenges, I asked my husband if we were the only parents who struggled so much with parenting. I wondered if maybe we were just wimps or if maybe our kids were just really bad. He laughed, “No, I think everyone struggles. We just wear it on our sleeves more than some people. And hey, that’s good. I don’t want to be prideful about parenting.” I appreciated his take on it…..he’s right. We probably do let it all hang out more than some people. But we seek joy in all circumstances (as hard as that might be!) and we seek wisdom in the hard times. Our faith has grown the most during our most difficult times. Hopefully hanging all of our laundry out for all to see means that people also get to see the victories that God gives us. And when we share with each other, we realize we are NOT the only sleep-deprived, ill, broken-down, sinful, flat-broke, and occasionally bummed out souls out there. If you need perspective, look at those around you. Their lives might be just as imperfect as yours!