“Everything comes easily for you.”

I sat in stunned silence, not knowing how to respond. “Are you kidding me?” was my first thought.

Maybe I should start closer to the beginning of the story. I came to Minnesota for college not knowing anyone in the whole state, or even the surrounding states, for that matter. I prayed about where I should attend, and felt strongly that it should be North Central University in Minneapolis. I was already a very driven person, trying to do my best at whatever I set my hand to do. I earned good grades in high school, but also worked late into the nights studying (and that was after working a part-time job and participating in many extracurricular activities). If I didn’t have a good enough grade for my liking in a class, I found all the extra credit homework I could do to make it better. It was hard work, but it was important to me.

And then came college.

I did not anticipate the difference between high school and university-level work. I was still very studious, but took way too many credits to be able to study effectively for each class. The work itself was much more difficult than high school. And I was learning how to live and interact with peers, which was so fun. But I worked diligently to maintain discipline and order in my schedule. I was completely exhausted.

I spoke on the phone with my far-away family about once a week or so, and not wanting my mom to worry, I only shared the good news and victories in my adventures. And then I discovered that my idea had been flawed from the beginning.

“Everything comes easily for you,” one of my siblings said to me when I was home for a short visit. I was flabbergasted. My family didn’t know about the long nights of studying in the library and then the hallway, so I wouldn’t bother my roommates. They didn’t know about the heavy class-load and the difficulty I had adjusting to college-level testing. There were no extra credit projects to help me in college. They didn’t know about my struggle and my angst over not doing as well as I thought I should. They didn’t know because I never told them.

It was my own fault that my family had a skewed idea of my life. By trying to protect them from worry, I failed to let them see the balance of pain in my struggles. They couldn’t offer encouragement or understanding because I never told them I was having a hard time.

I determined right then to change and to be completely honest with my family. I needed their support, and I had learned my lesson in only sharing one side of the story.

When I am tempted to keep my current issues to myself in front of those closest to me, I remind myself of this experience. Relationships suffer without honesty. Misunderstandings and even jealousy can sprout and grow when we refuse to share a balance of our whole selves.

Tabby Finton

Author Tabby Finton

Tabby is a life-long lover of God, and she is passionate about His purposes. She has served alongside her husband in pastoral ministry for twenty-five years. A credentialed minister, she loves to speak, write, and encourage. She is mom to three sons and wife to Steve, Lead Pastor at Abundant Life Church in Blaine.

More posts by Tabby Finton

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Kendra Roehl says:

    I love this post Tabby! What you wrote is so true. We often keep things to ourselves instead of allowing others to know what’s really going on and in turn miss out on the support of those around us. A very common experience for us as women. Thank you for the encouraging word today!

  • S.J.M. says:

    I can totally relate.

    We all keep our inner struggles to ourselves because we feel we do not want to disturb or be a burden to our family with what we are dealing with…..scholastically or personally. We know we can unburden ourselves with our Heavenly Father, but we also need to realize that we cannot leave our earthly family “out of the loop”.

    There are many things in my life that I have dealt with on my own…still do because my spouse has a habit of making sure everything is set just so in his world.

    I am currently dealing with a situation where he is irate because a very close friend has helped me out so I can go see my birth father. His health is very delicate right now. He is what would be termed long-term terminal. I do not know how long he has to live. I am scheduled to leave in a week. My spouse wants me to only be there for a week….I would not be this restrictive were it either of his parents.

  • Kathy Banta says:

    I wish every freshman college student could read this several times. When we can be open we give ourselves freedom to be who we are and others the freedom to be who they are comfortably.

  • Jodi says:

    Great article Tabby!

Leave a Reply