I would like to share with you a wise old saying that my dad frequently says:
“Solo el cocinero sabe lo que hay en la olla.” Translation: “Only the cook knows what’s in the pot.”
So much truth!
In this digital age it’s so easy to share our lives away with one click. A ‘like’ is golden and the perfect filter masks reality. This makes it so easy for anyone to share their good times on social media. Those times when everyone always looks so hunky-dory in their photo albums and videos, with their big ol’ happy family, full of great times and fun activities. But who’s to say what the life of that family is really like behind closed doors? Who’s to say what hard times they might be facing? Who’s to say that everything is okay? And who’s to say that that smiling individual surrounded by loved ones isn’t suffering internally?
It’s so easy to assume that everyone else has a better life than you when you start comparing your life to what you assume is the perfect life of another. It’s so easy to judge what you don’t understand, when in reality you don’t know the struggle that might be building up behind the walls of that family or individual that are being broken down… Where are you when they close the door, lock up their homes, shut the curtains and go to bed? Do you feel the tension released once strained smiles turn into flying fists and insulting shouts? Do you see the hidden tears of the one who cries them self to sleep? Honestly, sometimes I ask myself, “If walls, pillows and blankets could talk, what untold stories could they reveal?”
It’s taken me a while to learn this, and to understand the sin of coveting. I’ve had to ask God for forgiveness many times when I see people who look so happy that I desire a relationship, family, friends (or insert whatever else) like theirs, and then I’m so surprised to I find out that it all fell apart a short time later.
I’ve been there, I get it. I do it too. We only want people to see as much as we let them; but not everything that glitters is gold.
Only God knows the struggle each of us fights every day. Everyone’s fight is different, and everyone is vulnerable to some extent. Some are better at hiding their pain than others, but we’re all fighting something.
There are those who fight all their life, get tired of the fight and quit. There are others who are surrounded, trying to seek help to no avail but choose to keep going no matter how tired they feel. They’re the ones who are changed by the fight. They might choose to use the fight as leverage to push through the opposition the best way they know how but in the end become hardened. And there are the other fighters who end up taking sides with the opposition, becoming the very thing they were fighting against. Then there are those who fight with Jesus on their side.
My God, I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve been beat up, slung down, sucker punched, broken and bruised again and again. I went through depression, self hate, I attempted to self-harm a few times and even contemplated suicide. I was always the one that my friends went to for advice, but I never had anyone to really pour out my heart to. I would bottle it all up inside because I felt that no one cared or that I would only burden those I love. I felt that no one would really understand. So those times, at night when I was blanketed by the darkness of my room, I let it all out. There were so many times that I literally kicked and screamed into my pillow and would pass out from the pain in my heart. Sleep was my best friend, and the morning would be a sour welcome.
You’d probably be surprised to know that all this continued even after I came to know Jesus.
I’ve found that in the midst of my fight I felt like I would never get to the other side. I thought of myself to be the weakest, most pathetic excuse for a human being. No one was there to love me the way I needed, to hear me out, or comfort me. I really do know what it means to “feel” lonely.
It wasn’t until I started to find refuge in the Word of God that I felt like someone really understood me for the first time. David’s prayer in Psalms 25 couldn’t have expressed my feelings better when he cried out to God saying,
“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.”
Then the Lord would surprise me when he’d reply to my mourning with something like this:
“He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him, as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Psalm 103:9-14).
I’d find pure tenderness in the words of Jesus inviting me to come closer to him with promises of relief saying,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I found strength to soar above it all with wings like eagles in Isaiah 40:31. As I began to trust God more and more, his grace through Jesus Christ became my backbone (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). I gained confidence in knowing that nothing could tear me away from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39), and I learned that though the blood of Jesus is priceless, he liberally poured it all out for my sake (1 Peter 1:18-20, Romans 5:6-8).
Now I’m confident that I’m not alone when I cry- because I still do- cry that is. But I cry in the presence of God. When no one else is around to love on me, I pour out my heart to him. I feel when his presence begins to manifest itself within the privacy of my bedroom, into the warmest embrace I could ever receive from anyone. When I talk to God, I tell him everything! Just like I would tell anyone of my girl friends; He hears me. I know he does because “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live (Psalm 116:1-2)…
My friends, it truly hurts me to see when others are suffering. It hurts me to see when people post happy pictures, but the next minute they’re statuses are contradicting. It hurts me to look into the eyes of someone who is silently miserable but they’re trying to hold it together with their own feeble human strength. If it hurts me, imagine how Jesus must feel when he sees it.. Because of that, I no longer covet what other people have, neither do I judge based on their successes or failures, because only the cook knows what’s in the pot…
I want anyone to know, that if they are reading this that there is SomeOne who loves you far more than you could ever humanly comprehend. There is hope in Jesus for whatever it is that you may be going through. He will bring you through the tough times, because he is faithful even when we stubbornly try to take care of things on our own. Don’t push him away, give him a chance. Let his grace flow through your life. If you do know him, remember to praise him when things are good! And when you see others who are low, instead of pointing fingers, lift them up because you were once in the same position or may find yourself there along the way too.