There are three types of people when they are in the midst of struggling. The first are those who struggle in the public eye. The second are those who struggle all alone. The third are those who struggle amongst their inner circle.
The first are those who tell everyone every detail of what is going on with their life. They can appear to be dramatic. One day they are great, and the next day they are awful. So every person who can peek into their world sees their roller coaster of a life, moment by moment, from day to day.
I have witnessed some people going through trials and tough circumstances in the public eye. They have asked people to pray for life or for their loved one. I have actually heard people who knew of their circumstances pray death over their loved ones—that they would be comforted and it would go quickly. They didn’t actually listen to the heart of their loved one. They listened to their own understanding. That is a con of living in the public eye.
The pro of this is everyone knows what you are going through and they can throw resources, food, or anything else you need in your direction. They know what is going on, so if you actually lose a battle, you don’t have to explain what was happening behind the scenes that no one knew anything about. They are able to pity you or empathize with you. They are also able to pray with you and pray over you.
When I was pregnant in 2000, I had not told many people yet because my little sister had gotten pregnant at the exact same time. Because this was my second child, I really didn’t want to upstage her. I really wanted her to enjoy the attention of having a baby. So I only told a handful of people. I hadn’t made it public yet. When I miscarried at twelve weeks, right around the time when I was going to make it public, no one knew I had been pregnant. So I didn’t have a crowd of people gather around me to grieve with me; no one understood what I was going through. They couldn’t have empathy or pity, and there was no help.
Second, for the people who are struggling all alone—no one knows their circumstance. They have told no one. It’s all internal. The roller coaster is still happening, but no one has seen it. It’s not outwardly expressed. It is completely inward. No one knows about it. No one knows how you are doing. Outwardly, you look amazing.
These people are so susceptible to suicide because no one knows how they are doing. When I was a teenager going through abuse at home, I didn’t tell my mom. I didn’t tell a single friend. I was too ashamed. Every day was like a mask. There was not a single person who knew what was truly going on in my life. I am positive that the drama I had with all of my friends stemmed from drama at home with my stepdad—and they had no idea.
It’s when you are struggling all alone and there is no one to give you a hand and lift you out that your thoughts become increasingly negative to an extreme perspective, where the negativity can make you take your own life. I cannot think of a single pro to struggling all alone. I can’t think of one.
Third, those who struggle within their inner circle—these are people who aren’t really in the public eye. They don’t tell anyone and everyone. They may share it with some stranger because they may feel their story or testimony can encourage someone. But other than that, they really have a close few who they share it with.
I think I generally fall into this category. I’ve witnessed so many people struggle in the public eye. I’ve witnessed so many people die because they have struggled on their own. For me, I have people in my life who I know will stand firm and fight for me. They will speak boldly to me and speak truth into me. I have known them and respected them long enough to receive it. I know they will be a source of encouragement. I know I can reach out to them at any time, in weakness or in strength, and they will never shame me or discourage me in any way. They hold my feet steady on a rock.
I am so very grateful to those who hold up my arms like Aaron and Hur. It wasn’t a crowd holding up Moses’ arms. It was two people holding up his arms. Gossip can’t be stirred in amongst the few. Jesus didn’t have a zillion disciples. He chose twelve. He definitely spoke and taught the word to the masses, but He chose twelve who were drawn in and were close with Him all the time.
I am thankful for those of you who are in my circle. You know who you are. I love and appreciate you so much. I praise God for the depth of roots in the truth and your intimate relationship with Him that makes me want to draw close to you, too, because I recognize the Spirit in you.
If you are struggling through something, don’t be discouraged. The Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). Struggles will come. It’s not if, it’s when. So when they come, be sure you have people around you who will remind you of the overcoming promises of Jesus, people who won’t try to explain or lean on their own understanding, people who will stand firm with you in Christ. That will be their position, and they won’t change their mind. They will remind you of God’s promises of who He is.
The last thing I want to hear is someone who is unsettled or unsure of what is coming from the enemy and what is coming from God. I can tell you right now, it will make you toss to and fro and be dramatic, up and down, all over the place. Find some people to help you remain steadfast because in the shelter of the Most High God, we remain stable and fixed, under the shadow of the Almighty. Thank you, Jesus.