You know that old saying…”You can’t judge a book by it’s cover?” I would always roll my eyes when a teacher would throw that out there. I did not fully appreciate that saying, until I was an adult and found myself repeating it. Actually, I was living it, not just repeating it.
On the outside, so much seems wonderful. A happy marriage, a fun career and a cute little home. But the cover of our lives, often pales in comparison to the chapters inside. If my life was a novel, it would be a page turner for sure. Good times, thankfully outweigh the bad, but not because life was easy. Life is never easy. I heard someone say the other day,
“If you can say, you have never struggled in your life, or you have never had a difficult season; it isn’t because those seasons didn’t exist, it’s because you haven’t claimed your testimony yet.”
Think about that for a second. How many times have we heard ourselves saying, “oh if I only had her life” or “gosh, that celebrity has it so good and easy.” What is crazy, is that so often the one you are envying, would trade lives with you in a heartbeat.
Maybe it seemed as though your friend grew up with luxuries and never having wanted for anything…but they saw your life and wished their parent was present and engaged.
Maybe it seemed like your neighbor had the most loving dad and you wished your father would take you to lunch or shopping. But behind closed doors, your friend’s father was overcompensating, for her mother, that suffered with depression and addiction.
Or the pregnant couple at church, that appeared as though they lived that perfect life…You know; a cat, dog, 2.2 kids, surrounded by a white picket fence. But in reality, they were drowning in debt, from having to walk through fertility treatments, all because their insurance did not cover their multiple IVF cycles.
We could go on and on.
I am so thankful that we have different friends for different seasons of life. Think about the chapters in your life. We have our high school friends, our college crew, our church family, our work buddies, our lifers (those are the ones that have stuck by your side in the good, bad and downright ugly. I hope you can name a few lifer’s, in your circle).
What is important to remember, is that, your “college crew,” can not walk in to your life, 10 years after graduation, and possibly know how your life has evolved. But you can reminisce about the all-nighters you pulled, the tailgating parties and the late night trips to Taco Bell… That, they’ll totally get.
Your “work buddies” will not understand the struggles you have shared with your “church family.” The tender wounds and how you are healing from a childhood trauma. But, they will certainly relate to your overbearing boss, that demands too much overtime.
Then you have “the lifers”…That is a circle of relationships that you consider to have no beginning and no end. They have just always been there. Momma Mart and I, are in that category. Sure, I remember we met in 8th grade…but I can not pinpoint the moment we met. But I think back over the last 24 (whoa!) years and I can not think of anything we have not walked through together. Every tough time, ugly moment, painful situation, and joyful victory…she was there. Sure, I lived 13 years before I met her, but that was like a blink of an eye, compared to what we have survived together…were we really THIRTEEN when we met?? Sheesh! Well…we have aged well, if I do say so myself!
So back to the point…embrace who is in THIS chapter of your life. Love those that were in the last chapter, but do not expect them to relate or understand this chapter. You can laugh and celebrate memories you created together…but they can not be expected to understand a chapter they have not been a part of.
But those that are here, right now, in this rainy, muddy, kinda messy chapter…Treasure them. Thank them. Value them. This chapter is not pretty. But when we look back and are living our next chapter…You will realize, you have to have read the whole book to appreciate it.
You can not judge a life, by the chapter you just walked in on…
That is just like…
“Judging a book by it’s cover…”