Have you ever been on an Instagram spiral and found that family?

You know, the ones always in perfect harmony, where the harshest word spoken is, “Pass the salt, please.” Every night at 7:00 sharp, after a home-cooked meal where everyone miraculously loves the same dish, they settle into one of many board games that they can play for hours at a time. They’re up at 6:00 in the morning for family devotions, and they definitely subscribe to the mantra of “Laughter is the best medicine.”

I found that family online last week.
And I began to wonder if they had any problems at all.
I searched to see if they had ever experienced any difficulties other families face.

Like when dinner becomes a mini food festival because everyone wants something different? Or the endless juggling of activities that make family dinners feel like a once-a-month event? Where the 6 a.m. devotion is more like someone yelling, “Where is my uniform???” And the last board game you got your kids to play was Candy Land in 2005.

Deep down, I know there is no perfect family, but this one actually made me wonder.

Fast forward to this past weekend when I met a beautiful new friend named Hailey in Seattle. She shared with me a poignant thought from Michael J. Fox. He once remarked that if everyone sat in a circle, placed their problems in the center, and were given the chance to take back any problem, they’d most likely choose their own.

Why would anyone willingly embrace their problems when given a chance to exchange them? It took me a minute, but I had to agree with Michael J. Fox and my new friend, Hailey.

You see, choosing someone else’s problems means giving up on our own journey, personal growth, and unique stories we are meant to tell. It means forfeiting the strength we’ve cultivated from our battles and the beauty that arises from our ability to overcome. God knows every struggle we face and has allowed them to refine us. Every challenge becomes a part of our story, teaching us lessons and giving us tools to walk out the very purpose we were created for.

It’s all too easy to look at another’s life and think their grass is greener, their burden lighter. Yet, what appears light from a distance might be weighing someone else down immensely. As tempting as it is to believe that their “struggles” are more like minor inconveniences, there’s a lot we don’t see. What feels like a feather to them might feel like an anvil to us.

But here’s a revelation that changed my perspective:
We are given a measure of grace tailored only for our individual challenges.
This grace isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal; it’s custom-made and meticulously crafted for each of our unique journeys. We might long for someone else’s blessings, dreaming of their sunshine without understanding their storm. But the truth is, their package deal – of burdens and benefits alike – might be something we couldn’t bear.

So the next time you find yourself yearning for someone else’s life, remember this:
It’s not someone else’s pain that forges your purpose; it’s your own.
Swapping lives might sound tempting, but God has a plan tailored just for you.

Lean into His grace, and trust in your unique journey. Because the story being written with your life, with its highs and lows, is an irreplaceable one that is beautifully orchestrated with everything you need at the very moment you need it.