Have you ever had the feeling that everything (okay, that’s an exaggeration) you do seems to be accompanied with a challenge? Nothing ever seems to come easy. Maybe you have looked at others and felt things come much easier for them than they do for you? If so, you are not alone. I feel that way quite often. But the truth is, when I take the time to better understand what others go through, I realize that they too have challenges – they just may be different than mine. Often times we are like ducks on a pond. On the surface we look like we are in complete control, but under the water, our feet are churning away.

I find this especially tough in a couple areas of my life. First, is in parenting. I can’t think of many things harder than watching your kids fail. Over the years I would tell my kids that if they are not failing on a regular basis, then they should pick something harder. The struggle is watching them go through it. When they were first learning to walk, they would fall over and over. Yes, there were times when I would go over and pick them up, but they grew the fastest when I let them figure it out on their own; and just served as an encouragement.

Now fast forward 17 years when my son is applying for colleges. I see the stress he is going through, but there is little I can do – other than encourage. Over the years he has worked extremely hard in school and done everything he can to put himself into a position to get into the colleges of his choice. Unfortunately, not every college is offering him a spot at their school. It’s difficult watching him face these rejections. However, we have been praying for him, and asking God to provide clarity for him. Unfortunately, even though God does provide the very clarity we asked for, it still stings.

The other area we are often ducks on the pond is with our finances. I was reading an article the other day that talked about how even the wealthiest people believed they would be happier if they could just obtain a little bit more. Often, we look at others, and seemingly they have it all. They don’t have to fight for anything. They have “more than enough” money, and if only we had their problem. The issue with this is that once again, things are not always as they appear. Sure, maybe God blessed others with much wealth, but with that great wealth comes great responsibility. After all, is that money being used to have a great impact on God’s kingdom? And on the other side of the spectrum, there are people with little to nothing who go to bed at night not knowing where their next meal will come from. The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from money. Happiness comes from within. You can be poor and happy, and you can be wealthy and unhappy.

Everyone has struggles to overcome; and if we focus our attention on others, and judge them from what we see above water is fruitless and a complete waste of time. God allows us to struggle so that we may grow most – in our own journey. Yes, there does seem to be especially difficult times when God seems to really need us to grow. It’s then that we need to turn to Him and trust.

“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalm 27:1

Mark Etting

Author Mark Etting

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