It's Not Just You

Over the past few days I’ve had several conversations with different people centering around how difficult things are for them.  “That’s how my life is,” said one friend.  “My life is just crazy right now,” said another.  “Why is my life so hard?” asked a third.
In each conversation, I’ve said almost the same thing.   It’s something I’m convinced of.  It’s not just you.  Life is hard.  Everyone’s life.
Whether it’s that you’ve lost your job, or your kid has cancer, or your house burned down, or you’ve lost a loved one very suddenly, or you have more month than you have money, or you’re flunking out of school, or you are lonely, or you are simply exhausted and overwhelmed by responsibilities–whatever your struggle is, it’s hard.  We all have struggles.  If there is someone you know who you think has it easy, rest assured that you just don’t know what their struggle is.
One of our clients, who has dealt with issues surrounding drugs, and child custody, and prison, and now a terminal illness in his family, said, “I know they always say that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle but He must think my shoulders are awfully strong.”  I read an excellent reflection on that sentiment last week, but what I told him was that I don’t believe God sends us these trials.  I know it’s a source of comfort to many to believe that whatever they’ve suffered is part of God’s plan, but I don’t.  God helps us deal with them, absolutely, helps us find blessings in them, uses them to help us grow–but the trials themselves?  They are the product of the fallen world in which we live.
The world is fallen, and life is hard, but we need to remember it is also beautiful and good.  Believing the lie that we are the only ones having this hard life fills us with resentment and blinds us to the good and beauty all around us.
On Sunday Father Jerry talked about the sycamore tree in the Gospel, and how it’s a beautiful tree, but very messy.  “Like life,” he said.
Let’s learn a lesson from the messy sycamore tree, described thus in Wikipedia:  “An American sycamore tree can often be easily distinguished from other trees by its mottled exfoliating bark which flakes off in great irregular masses, leaving the surface mottled, and greenish-white, gray and brown. The bark of all trees has to yield to a growing trunk by stretching, splitting, or infilling; the sycamore shows the process more openly than many other trees. The explanation is found in the rigid texture of the bark tissue which lacks the elasticity of the bark of some other trees, so it is incapable of stretching to accommodate the growth of the wood underneath, so the tree sloughs it off.”
ALL of us are having hard times.  Some trials are just more visible than others.
I’m linking this up with #WorthRevisit.  For more recycled posts and a chance to meet some new bloggers, please click the picture!

32 thoughts on “It's Not Just You

  1. Ellen Roddy

    Thank goodness, you don’t believe that God sends us the trials or tests but He will provide a way through them if they do come. My husband has always said that this earth is a school with many lessons.

  2. Yes! So many people say these trials are from God and while God somewhat allows them to occur, they aren’t His doing they are the result of a fallen world: they are the scourge of sin. Blame it on Adam and Eve, not God! Haha

  3. Eileen xo

    This is so true! It is really helping me today! My sons best friend was sadly killed 2 days ago – he was hit by a car – We are grieving and this truly helped me – thank you for the beautiful post

  4. When I’m having a ‘woe is me’ moment it always helps when I remember that the problems I’m having are not new to the world. Someone else before me had the same problems, someone right now is having the same problem, and long after I am gone, someone else will have the same problem. We just have to weather the storm and let God be our guide.

  5. I believe God also sends us the message we need to hear if you are paying attention. Today has been a rough day and I was going to post a pouty FB post, but saw your post on SITS Girls instead. Thanks I needed that. I think I will just go to bed. As Scarlett says, tomorrow is another day.

  6. This is just what I needed tonight. After an emotional and trying day yesterday, I definitely felt like I was the only one dealing with child issues. Certainly, I know this isn’t the case but when you’re in the throws, it definitely feels like it! Appreciate the support!

  7. Leslie, I think this is so true- we just don’t know what baggage others carry. I think of blogging friends in the past week or two who have shared very personal struggles. I had no idea. We all have struggles- thanks for reminding us.

    1. This is something I’ve also learned through blogging, where so often people are putting there best face to the world and then when you find out what is really going on in their lives the disconnect is amazing.

  8. Leslie, I just want you to know I love reading your posts; you’re an amazing writer. I agree life is like a sycamore tree, it can be messy but at times beautiful. The one thing I have learned throughout my life that everyone has a story. Some struggles are harder than others, but everyone has something they struggled with in their lives at one point.

  9. I think we are all guilty of comparing too much – this person is doing so much better, the other has it all – but we just don’t know! Comparing makes us think we are having it tough. Just the other day my friend dropped me off at a really nice house and we both admired it and my friend commented that he would give anything for that instead of the small flat he had. I responded that what’s important is that he has a beautiful and happy family – who cares about the flat?

  10. Pingback: The Hardest Part of Being a Woman: There’s Not One Answer | Life in Every Limb

  11. If people learned to manipulate their own neurochemistry, life would not be so hard. It’s all about lowering Cortisol (toxic stress hormone) and raising the four happy brain chemicals (Dopamine, Oxytocin, Seratonin and Endorphin).

  12. pwcamy

    I love how you say that God doesn’t give us these trials! I love how you follow that statement up with “God helps us deal with them, absolutely, helps us find blessings in them, uses them to help us grow–but the trials themselves? They are the product of the fallen world in which we live.” I will remember that the next time I hear that phrase! Thank you!!!

  13. I love the thought of the Sycamore tree – such a beautiful reminder that nature definitely mimics even our everyday lives.
    And, reminding ourselves that life is difficult for everyone, it just might look different to others, is always a sage reminder!

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