I Hope You’re as Happy as You’re Pretending

Last week I was at a meeting where we started by “checking in.” When it was my turn, I forced myself to be real and share a few things that I’ve been struggling with. When it became the next person’s turn, she acknowledged that she shared some of my struggles, but then proceeded to declare that she was happy despite these struggles, because she prays and thanks God and praises God, and concluded that God fulfills all your needs.

I initially felt pissed- which for me is code for being hurt. I was hurt, I felt completely invalidated. Afterward, when I had time to think it over and calm down, I was no longer angry and much less hurt. But I was still frustrated, because I feel like so often no one wants to admit that life is hard. We want to say “I’ve given it to God” or “I’m just thankful for what I do have.” Well, these things are true. But I still struggle. I’ll repeat that- I struggle.

I’m a Christian. I believe that God loves me. I believe God will never leave me. I believe God is bigger than all my struggles. But just because I know all this does not mean that I am always happy.

I’m understanding more and more that the reason I was such a cold person for most of my life was not because I was so insensitive but because I am in fact, so sensitive. I feel hurt when I’m invalidated. I feel hurt when friends don’t respond to my emails. I feel hurt when friends or family members don’t call. I feel hurt when I see someone else hurting. I feel hurt when people value me more for my looks than who I am on the inside. I feel hurt when I am used.

What I’m learning is that all those years when I was so unemotional, it was because I was hiding my heart. I was hiding my heart, because it hurt to much to let it show.

Now I’m trying to be more vulnerable, more authentic, more real. And it hurts. And I struggle. And very, very often I feel lonely or misunderstood. I feel sad a lot, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t trust God. I know I’m blessed. I know that I have much to be thankful for, and God knows that I am. I do spend time praising God and thanking him and basking in the glory of the knowledge that I am fully loved and fully known by my God. But again, I still struggle. The phrase “life is hard” seems like a sick euphemism to me. To me life feels excruciating sometimes.

I keep thinking that everyone else has figured something out that I haven’t, but I read somewhere that most people are not as happy as they seem to be (experience as a counselor has not proven otherwise). Why is that? Does it make it worse to acknowledge our pain? I don’t think so. I think it makes us human, and I think it lets other people know that they can be human too.

So I’ll continue to be vulnerable, and I’ll continue to hurt, and I’ll continue to struggle. At least I’m being real; at least I’m being me…


7 thoughts on “I Hope You’re as Happy as You’re Pretending

  1. Hey Kris,

    I agree so much with what you said that I can’t help but reply to chime in. It reminds me of the song, “All of You is more than enough for all of me; for every thirst and every need. You satisfy me with your love and all I have in You is more than enough.” It reminds me of that song cause I often refuse to sing it. I believe that those words are true. In my mind. But in my heart I often feel like I need something I’m not getting; I’m not satisfied with God’s love, not because I don’t want to be- I DO! But maybe I don’t get something or I’m holding something back or whatever- fill in the blank. Whatever the situation, I feel more honest standing silently than singing about every thirst being quenched. I hope that one day I’ll have matured in my faith to a point that this song will be true to me, but for now it’s not.
    Tangent. I miss you. And for the record, I have never valued you more for how you look than for who you are. In fact, if you didn’t care about how you looked, I would probably have had more closet space… 🙂

    1. Thanks for your honesty, Leslie. I appreciate your authenticity in not singing a song you don’t really feel. I don’t know that it’s a maturity thing so much as the fact that your reality may look different than someone else’s right now, I mean, maybe God does not fulfill all our needs at certain times because he wants us to rely on him. maybe those who think God is enough haven’t actually experienced what it’s like to only have God, but have had “enough” of other necessities in life to not need to solely rely on God to fill all their needs…more on this in a future post:)

  2. seriously. just filled up this longass response and it got lost b/c I didn’t fill up the “email” thing. shoot. all that wisdom, warmth, and words of affirmation (not to mention vulnerability-) all gone. all gone.

    anyway, for myself, it’s often hard to actually know what i’m feeling. How can I not know what I’M feeling? Wellllllllllllllllllll, not too surprisingly, it happens a lot. but listening to struggles of friends and having friends that actually hear and listen to my struggles- HUGE.

    so keep being you- (b/c your one of the few who actually ask, listen, and respond- why wouldn’t you want to be you, when you get to do that w/ me? ;D)

    ok, this time i’m copying this before submitting it… and maybe you should’ve have been more considerate about closet space rs. seriously..

    1. you’re so right that listening to struggles of friends is huge. it’s like there’s some huge hope piece in knowing that others are there struggling with or before you. I was recently listening to a Killers song (I Can’t Stay) that had lyrics “and there are twisted days that I take comfort ’cause I’m not the only one, no I’m not the only one.” I think that expresses it well.

  3. this rings so true in so many ways. sometimes i wonder if being “unemotional” or “cold” was really so bad. if i covered it up with a bit of well-timed sarcasm, no one seemed to notice or call me out. how do we find a balance? do well? is there? if it’s balanced, is it really authenticity?

    anyway. if i were in your spot in that meeting i probably would have ended up slapping (at least verbally) that lady after you. and then either started crying or making her cry in an attempt to show that struggling hurts, even when God loves you. ok maybe not, but that is what i would have fantasized doing while thinking about it on my drive home.

    1. I know what you mean. I so often find myself thinking, “wait a minute, why am I doing all this hard, ’emotional’ work? wasn’t it a lot easier to just be cold and detached all the time?” The right answer seems to be no, it wasn’t easier…but I’m still working on it, because sometimes it’s so tempting…

  4. Bravo! I love your courage in being real, and staying away from pretense. It threatens other people when you are real, because they are so throughly convinced that their pretense is real that they fear your openness will shatter their crystal world.

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