Do you ever feel like everyone expects you to hold it together and be perfect? That you aren’t allowed to have off days, and if you do, you have to hide that fact that you just want to fall apart. I certainly have, and the thing is this isn’t a new feeling. This is something that I’ve felt for nearly my whole life.
Hold it together even when you had a fight with a family member before stepping out the front door or leaving the car.
Hold it together when your best friend decides that she’s angry with you.
Hold it together when you have a bad day at school.
Hold it together at practice because you’re the coach’s daughter.
Hold it together at youth group because your parents are still together and your life can’t be that bad.
Hold it together because you have to be the anchor for your friends as they are struggling.
Hold it together because it’s just your dad who’s being deployed, not your husband like your mom.
Hold it together because you have to be perfect.
But the thing is, some days you want to cry, some days you want to scream, and some days you want someone to be there for you.
Instead, you suck it up even when you feel completely helpless.
You smile and say that you are fine.
You bury yourself into schoolwork or your job, trying to ignore the need to cry, scream, or break down.
You cry behind close doors where no one can see you or in the dark as you go to sleep.
You do all these things because people look at you and just see the “perfect” life you have. They see the private college you go to. They see the amazing family you have that loves and supports you. They see how smart you are and how well you do at school. They see your faith in God’s plan.
What they don’t see is how lonely that Christian private college can be. They don’t see the extended family that doesn’t always support you. They don’t see the late nights spent studying so that you can get those good grades. They don’t see the nights and days you spend struggling with God and coming to terms when He tells you no. They don’t always see the messy because you try so hard to hide it because they expect you to be perfect.
Now, I would never trade being there for my friends. I am so incredibly blessed to have some seriously amazing friends who I know will always be there for me. But sometimes, as you are walking through something with them, you feel so helpless because hundreds and thousands of miles are separating you from them and words just sound so hollow, but you have to hold it together because they need you to be their rescue line.
I am not perfect, and I never will be. I have struggles the same way that you do, and just because the outside looks perfect doesn’t mean the inside is. And sometimes that smile is forced and the whispered “I’m fine” doesn’t mean that. And at some point the perfect façade will be cracked and some of my messy will come through. When that happens just remember that the cover of a book can be deceiving and that human life is messy even with Jesus on my side.