I'm Not Alone

By Cheryl Smith

Photo by Pexel

Sometimes I get jealous of women who seem to have it all, or who have more than me...in terms of money, relationships, popularity, or success. And my jealousy hurts no one but myself...and sometimes my relationship with them.
I have to remind myself of what I’ve discovered. What I’ve discovered is that as I get to know some of these women and talk to them, or listen to them when they need me to, they admit problems and issues in their lives. Real problems. Severe issues. Heavy burdens. And all at once I feel relieved from my jealousy, but mostly I’m so thankful and humbled that they felt they could share with me. Then I delight in praying for them and just being there for them.
Many times I can identify with them because I’ve dealt with similar issues. Sometimes their issues are far more severe than anything I’ve been through. And here I was thinking they were all put together and had it all… which proves we never know. That’s the main lesson I’ve learned. The secondary lesson is that we should take time to get to know--to listen--to others’ stories and burdens. And maybe, we should admit our own burdens to others we trust too.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, NIV).
I admit, I don’t let very many people know my issues, hurts, and burdens. I can easily put on a happy face, act like everything is great, and even fool my husband and everyone I encounter. Many people have told me I’m “happy go lucky.” Oh I’m strong. I know that. I take action to try to keep myself happy and busy. I aim to keep a positive outlook on everything. I try to compartmentalize areas in my life or not dwell on the hurt so this is possible.
What others don’t know is that I hurt and struggle silently, in the depths, on almost a daily basis. I’ve been holding the same hurts and struggles for years, and they’ve never been resolved. Not because I don’t try. Believe me, I try. I’ve prayed. I’ve given it over to the Lord. I’ve cried. I’ve lost sleep. I’ve journaled. I’ve reached out. I’ve served others. I’ve sought advice, counsel and therapy. I’ve done all I know to do, but my secret struggles remain, although I wish from the depths of my heart they would be resolved. In fact, much of my burden is the fact I am powerless to resolve it and the issues it carries.
I’m learning there are not solutions or answers for everything, although people try very hard to supply that. Sometimes, the answers are in the waiting. Sometimes, life lessons are learned through the hurts we bear--lessons that would not be learned if it were not for those burdens.
Sometimes, the answers are played out without our realizing it. Then one day, resolution comes. But it didn’t come overnight. It didn’t come with a shout or blaze of glory. No, it came steadily, silently, through the living of life….the day by day, ebb and flow, ups and downs of life. It came through tears, laughter, relationships. It came through lonely nights. It came through all the prayers and seeking. It came through learning more about ourselves. And others. And God.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV).
It encourages me to remember that. But what’s more encouraging is that I’m not alone in my burdens. For all these years I thought I was alone. I thought no one else carried my burden or anything like it. No one else I met seemed to have the same issue. I didn’t admit it to many people, but when I did admit it, no one resonated or identified with me. No one seemed to fully understand or helped me. Maybe they didn’t know what to say which just added to my sorrow. So I continued to take my burden to the Lord, but then I discovered this:
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19, NIV).
Wow! Daily? The God of creation, my savior, DAILY BEARS MY BURDENS. My unique, lonely burden that I thought no one else carried. That no one else helped. Yet the strongest, most infinite, all-knowing, creative being in the universe bears my burden with me. He sympathizes and empathizes with me. He carries me, although at times it doesn’t feel like it. He understands.
And all those nights I cried, He sorrowed with me. All those nights I prayed, He was there. He gets it. But for whatever reason, He hasn’t resolved it yet. That’s where my trust comes in.
And I trust Him. I will wait. Because he’s carrying me through this; even if it takes until I go to heaven to be with Him. Just knowing He bears my burdens with me is amazing, comforting--and it’s enough.