Sunday, January 31, 2010

From pleasing them to pleasing Him

I am a people pleaser. I want people to like me. I don't want people to be angry with me. I have always been this way since I can remember and it is one of the things I like least about myself. I have spent many nights tossing and turning as I play a conversation over and over again in my head, analyzing the things that were said and wondering if I said it wrong and if I will ever get it right. It is one of the major sources of stress in my life. As long as I am confessing one of my dirty little secrets, I might as well just go ahead and say that I do this with even the most positive and healthy of my relationships. Even the friendships that have never had a misstep or ill word bring with them a lot of anxiety and speculation over my words and actions and how my friend perceives me.Ridiculous isn't it? As I write this blog even I can see how illogical that thought process is.
Being a people pleaser sucks.
One of the encouraging and wonderful things that God is teaching to me in my current bible study is that all the time and energy that I put into pleasing other people needs to be redirected at pleasing Him. All this time I have been longing for people to like me and God LOVES me. He loves me extravagantly. He loves me unconditionally and so completely that he sent Jesus to die so that I could have a relationship with Him. He loves me regardless of the stupid things I might say and regardless of how many times I am so busy in my day that I forget to acknowledge His friendship. He is simply the best friend I could ever have and He loves me for exactly who I am... after all, He created me.
God, I thank you for creating me exactly as I am. May my heart seek to please you and know you above all others.

Eternal Friendship

It has been three weeks since I posted about my struggles with the ebb and flow of a friendship that is very near and dear to my heart. It is one of the longest standing friendships in my life and although I was able to pour some of my thoughts and feelings out into that post, my friend has not been far from my thoughts. I think of her everyday, and I wonder what I did or didn't do that caused a crack between us, and I wonder even further still how that crack turned into a chasm. I have a lot of one sided conversations in my head.... and occasionally I have a breathe of relief. The relief comes simply from the thought that perhaps all the volleying between the highs and the lows is done for a bit and I can rest.
In this time of reflection and angst and absence there is one thing that emerges as a simple and bright truth. God is using this time to reacquaint me with parts of Him. God is able to take the absence of my friendship and redirect my heart to Him.
God uses LOSS in our life to transform us.
You would think I know this lesson by now and would learn to embrace loss. But for all that I have learned of the ways that God works, loss is simply too painful of a thing for me to seek it out.... However, I am grateful to God that he uses those times in my life that empty me and leave me hollow to fill me back up with something new and glorious and just a little bit different than what was there before.
God, I praise you for transforming my heart again and again. I thank you for the eternal friendship you offer me, always.

Fill it up and Pour it Out

Spirit what do you say?

I have been in the desert many times in my life, spiritually speaking. It is an easy place to wander upon and all it takes is a few small misguided steps(or unguided I should say) to lead me on a wandering trail that leads into the heart of a dry and dusty place. One would think that I have been there enough times to recognize where I was going or where I was when I got there... but just the same... each time I wander far enough away from God to recognize the barren land I am headed for, I am surprised.

In my current bible study I am learning a little bit about the spirit, the Holy Spirit that lives in me and the fruits that my spirit can produce. The study suggests that when my spirit is dry and parched, then it will verbally manifest itself in ugly ways- gossip, complaining, cussing, and hateful words. As I look back on moments in my life when I have fallen into all the above, I am embarrassed to realize that not only was I lacking in my faithfulness and attention to God, but by my words, my dry and rusty spirit was evident to everyone else as well.
A spirit that is hungry for time with God but is neglected also has symptoms, just like an empty stomach rumbling for food. When our spirit is hungry and we choose not to feed it the Bread of Life, it will begin to manifest physical symptoms such as lustful thoughts,envy, anger, resentment, selfish ambitions, irritability, impure thoughts, etc. On the contrary to a parched and dry spirit, a spirit that has been recently satisfied by God will praise God, sing His word, and will offer words to sustain the weary.
I think the later sounds the best of all three don't you?
I dont want to wonder in the parched and dry desert. I want to drink the water of Life.
I pray that as I continue to seek Him, I make quality time to spend with God so that He can fill my spirit and satisfy me like nothing else in this life can.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Today was the day my fourth child was due. I have spent several of my days this month volleying between two thoughts: wondering what that little miracle of life would have looked like and what it would have felt like to hold her in my arms the day she was born, and wondering what it will be like when I get to meet her, hand in hand with her sister Faith, in Heaven. As much as my heart hurts for her, I have to thank God that I am so incredibly blessed with a wonderful family here on earth and in Heaven too. I look forward to the day that I will get to know my heavenly children.

Arin Avery Carlson- due January 18 2010, miscarried May 2009

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Seasons Do Change

Last spring I wrote a blogpost about a friend that was going through some changes in her life. At the time I had the strongest feeling in my gut that those changes would cause her to move far away. It was a hard season to bear becuase we had grown incredibly close once again after a hard winter in our friendship and I didn't have that many close friends. I had grown acustom to the season that we were in which was a fragrant summer of blooming friendship.I had grown dependent on her once again. It turned out that she didnt have to move becuase she found a new job in the same town. This change filled my lungs with a big sigh of relief.
Fast forward six months and I realize what my heart was telling me back then. Those feelings that I was getting deep in my bones had nothing to do with my friend moving and had everything to do with our friendship entering a period of dormancy, winter. I dont know what caused the seasons to shift so swiftly from a never ending summer to the a bitter winter.... but there the seasons lie. Rather than resisting the change in the climate and the absence of the beauty of our friendship... I have decided to buckle down for the winter and embrace this season in our friendship for what it is- a dormant season.

Friday, January 08, 2010

All the worlds A Stage

I went to dinner with a dear friend tonight in which each second was filled with words and deep conversation. One sentence toppling over another- no moments to get a word in edgewise- you just had to make your edgewise. Our conversation fell to blogging and she explained to me once again the wonderful title that she has for her blog.
She explained that so often we live our life as if we are on stage.... that everything is in show or ends up being a show for everyone or someone...... and that the intent behind the name was to let the reader know that her blog was not going to be a show and that she would not be writing what people want to read or just what she thinks will paint a pretty picture of her life but what she really feels in her heart.
This conversation reminded me of my readers and my blog and the disclaimer that I should share.
I dont write my blog to paint a pretty picture of my life. Although I do have quite a love affair with words and may write something for the beauty and the flow of the sentence, I most certainly never want to write something that will lead the reader to believe I am living a fairy tale life. The truth is that I absolutely am not. And I am not living my life in a modern day tragedy either. My life is simply my life and I write my blog as little glimpses of that life- of my thoughts, my feelings, my reflections, my dreams, etc. I write what I write the way I write becuase I want to tell the story right.... that is correct I mean.
So as you read through my blog, think of it more of an intimate poetry reading from the poet rather than a show on the stage..