Starting Again

Carla1 Comment

Hello there! I do realize it has been awhile since I last shared. My hope for this space is to share what I sense God’s speaking to me, stories from life here in Thailand, and about the process of becoming a momma. That’s right! Keegan and I are 4 & ½ months pregnant!

 
Here I am. Plopped down at my lovely desk to write something other than a research paper, a discussion post, or a to-do list. The room around me is transforming from an office to a nursery. Snuggled in my lap is little Sunday Waffles. She is our beloved, small, and oh-so-fluffy Thai dog. Terror consumed me in the form of dog-ownership-commitment-fear when she came into my life over three years ago. That fear is long gone. Today I just thank God for her companionship. She has truly been a sweet balm in the midst of life’s inevitable highs and lows.

 
Writing today feels intimidating. This is probably because of what God has placed on my heart. He has spoken to me recently about how my people-pleasing tendencies are not rooted in peace but actually rooted in manipulation. Sharing this is hard, because I do not enjoy pulling the curtain aside to let others see the mess happening behind. But that mess is me. I know that we are all works in progress. Having an, “I-have-everything-together-mask,” is not really working for me. That mask is both exhausting and isolating.

 
Continuing on with the people pleasing now. People pleasing is a form of manipulation. Does this sound extreme? It did to me at first. But, when a person molds him or herself into whatever another person may (or may not) prefer, this also denies them the opportunity to know the real you. When I really desire approval from another person, I automatically adjust myself and my preferences. At times I am not even conscious of doing this. I mean, being liked feels great, and everyone likes being liked. However, there is something I desire more than being liked. I want to become more the woman God planned for me be. And folks, God has been so faithful! Looking back over the last six years, I can see God has grown me a lot, and redeemed so much in my life. God’s continually and relentless support and love stun me (check out my worship art below). The people pleasing realization has charged me to try be more authentic.

 

What does ‘being more authentic’ look like? Well, for me it feels more like a discovery process. This is disappointing to me because I was really hoping for a list of items I could check off. Checking boxes gives me a huge sense of accomplishment and control (people pleasing is about control too…). As this process unfolds, I am simply trying to take safe risks related to being known. I am also keenly aware that this journey without God would yield a very self-centered version of Carla. Have you struggled with people pleasing? How do you catch yourself? How did you bring God in the middle of your journey? I’d love to hear from you. I am praying for you today.

 

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