For years, actually ever since I can remember, friends have told me my life is perfect. I particularly remember one moment in my last year in college when a friend of mine told me they had failed a test and their father was upset at them because he found out they went drinking the previous night. I remember telling this person, “your father will forgive you,” and that I know the feeling of failing– it sucks. The moment I said that, they looked at me and rolled their eyes and said something along the lines of, oh please you live the perfect life without failures and you’re praised by everyone. You’re perfect. You have no idea what failure feels like. Except– I did. This was a big ouch, except I didn’t show it to them. . .except, I wish I had.
The thing is, I use to be insulted by people who said I was perfect or I had a perfect life. I think I was offended because that meant people thought I had life easy; life was just handed to me perfectly on a silver plate with a glass of expensive wine. It meant my life was roses, and everyone I met or who knew me thought I had it made. It meant I didn’t know loss, pain, suffering or hardships.
The truth is, I know all those things–very well. Then I thought, so people think my life is perfect. . .this has to mean something good, right? This perception of people about me simply means—I’ve just gotten really good at not complaining about all the ordeals in my life and I’m better at saying all the really great things that God has done in my life. This is good, yes? I mean, speaking positive things more than complaining is always better. People love to talk about happy things, happy relationships, happy coffee dates and happy kiddos. This brings joy to the heart (especially some happy kiddos). So I choose to talk about those happy moments from the past instead of the pain I’m going through in that moment. Then I recently went to church on a rainy Sunday morning and the pastor tore this thought up to shreds. He basically said sometimes in life, you’re going to go through some pretty tough moments. Know that it’s okay to go to your brother or sister and say, hey, I’m going through this or that. I’m really not okay, I’m not.I don’t know what to do or how to handle this. . .and I’m struggling. This isn’t complaining, it’s seeking help or support. He said to let that be a moment between you and someone else to pray and fellowship and just be honest, open and real. It’s okay to portray that you aren’t perfect and that you indeed struggle. This is how we grow as a body of Christ and help others. Needless to say, that Sunday morning I opened up a lot to friendly strangers. So back to that moment in college when my friend was basically telling me I’ve never struggled in my life, I wish I had opened up and let them in and told them exactly what I was going through that day, and maybe we could have prayed or uplifted each other and been better in Christ because of it.”Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).
I make plans, lot’s of plans. Like in the beginning of this year I made new year resolutions about me finding my dream dog, getting a big job and moving. None of these things look like they’re going to happen anytime soon. Instead, I found out I have this no good chronic illness, my apartment doesn’t allow big dogs and searching for a new job has been put up on the shelf for the summer while I’m trying to recuperate in this new found, no good illness. The main thing really is this sudden illness I’m dealing with. I’m very up and down lately.
My life isn’t picture perfect. Sometimes, I’m not okay. I’ve doubted lots of things in my life. I’ve doubted how in the world I’m going to get through this masters program while going through this on and off pain, but I’m still writing my essays on time (by God’s grace). Most people would say living off of GP loans to pay your rent and bills is an awful way to live, but I know God will provide me a ‘big girl’ job when it comes my time and honestly, I’m just grateful I live on my own (by God’s grace). I’m grateful for the time I had with the kids I worked with this past school year, even if I wanted to work with them again, but I couldn’t because it was getting rough on my body. You see, on the outside my life looks pretty darn good, I’d say.
But on the inside when I’m getting ready for bed, I say a silent prayer to my Lord to keep me in His arms always and never let me forget that I can come to Him just the way I am, broken hearted and all, and He will be there to wipe away my sorrow and make me anew again. It’s okay that none of my new year resolutions are happening yet, God’s always cooking up something better.
Though I haven’t had it perfect in my life and the way I thought it’d be, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite the things I see as curve balls, I am a blessed woman– so blessed. I’m keeping my eyes on Christ the whole way through, regardless if I’m struggling or not. For now, I will still write my long essays, look at the mountains through my open window, listen to the kids laughing in front of my building right now, drink my coffee in the early mornings, take my medicines and vitamins, go for long jogs by the mountainside, pay my bills on time and continue to pray to my heavenly, precious Father. There is an old saying that says, the smile on my face doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate what I have and what God has blessed me with. I will continue to count my blessings in life.
My prayer is that if you’re broken hearted about something, don’t keep it in. Though it took me awhile, I’ve learned that it’s okay to let people know your pain and struggles. I pray your pain goes away, whatever that may be. God has never left you.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).