My friend Devin Warrington writes these words:
From the surface of the water, a duck looks like it has its act together. It seems to calmly drift across the water. But underneath, the duck is paddling frantically trying to keep moving, especially if moving against the current. If a duck were to look around at the other ducks it might be surprised or even disheartened. The duck might assume that while it’s working like crazy, all the other ducks are serenely gliding along. That duck might start to think it’s doing something wrong. Or the duck might think that the other ducks know something that it doesn’t. The duck may even start to believe it isn’t very good at being a duck. It’s not easy being a duck, but it is easy to get discouraged if one duck compares itself to all the other ducks around. Especially if the only thing visible is above the water. This is the duck effect.
Family, I want to make a few points about this metaphor of our lives. Just because people seem like they have it all together doesn’t mean they do. Some people do some of the time, but I pretty well guarantee no one does all of the time, and most of us have only brief periods of calm. Keeping this in mind is important for a number of reasons:
- We shouldn’t feel such pressure to pretend like everything is fine. Our lives are messy. It’s ok to need someone to cry with, vent to, or pray with. It’s ok to be struggling with sin and need support.
- We should reach out to encourage and support others even if it seems like they’re gliding along just fine. Build relationships that go deeper than small talk so that we’re able to better see what’s going on beneath the surface of each other’s lives.
- When someone else reacts in an uncharitable way toward us, maybe with a short temper, we should realize we have no idea what’s going on in their life right now. Perhaps their reaction wasn’t personal, but rather a reflection of the struggles they are going through. Consider giving them the benefit of the doubt.
- Realize that it can be hard for others to see when you’re struggling or that you feel like you’re about to drown. Ask for support rather than being surprised that no one is noticing that you’re nearly exhausted and about to get swept away by the current.
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep,” Romans 12:15
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude,” 1 Peter 3:8