change, pain, and some other things 23 taught me

I used to believe that no one every really changed.

I guess I didn’t understand Jesus then. I didn’t understand the way He can come into a life, overhaul it, start at the roots, and heal every single broken part.

He changes everything.

Last night someone called out positive change in me, and it felt good because I knew it was true. I knew he was right-that I have grown in my leadership skills and in the way I lead myself. It felt weird and strange to accept the compliment and basically say, “Thank you. I know. Thank you for seeing it too.”

God has overhauled me this year. Year 23. (Year 24 actually, but I was 23 so it just makes more sense to call it year 23.) I was numb for part of it. I chased things at 22 that would make me numb, and it worked. It worked for a long time. I didn’t even realize numbness was what I was chasing. I thought I was just having fun.

For the LONGEST time I didn’t realize I was numb.

Then one day I thought about how long it had been since I had cried. I thought about how long it had been since I experienced life in a visceral way. Since I’d experienced strong emotions of any kind. I was talking about feelings and I was feeling for other people and being kind and being empathetic. But I forgot to feel for me.

I began to retrace my steps. I began searching for the source of the shutdown.

God met me when I started asking Him to. He revealed to me that one of my biggest issues is running from my feelings. (I’m basically Chandler Bing except not as funny, k?) I’d rather make a joke than face my pain, and I’m perfectly comfortable doing that.

I took the enneagram, and I found that I was a type 7. Social. Life of the party. Go, go, go! Runs from pain by finding the silver lining. Struggles with anxiety and depression. Prone to burn out. Overstimulated. Scattered.

I was blown away. Because I thought happy-go-lucky people like me couldn’t also have that flip side. I didn’t think people would believe or understand the pain I felt because it didn’t make sense with my personality. For the first time, I realized I could be both. Heavy and light. Darkness and bright. For years I’d run away from being labeled an extrovert because I wanted to be viewed as someone who has depth, and isn’t a moody introvert deeper than a flashy extrovert? (And okay, I FOR SURE have my moody introverted times, too.)

The enneagram was important. It revealed so much to me and led me to a deeper awareness of who God made me to be, and why He made me this way. It pointed out my weak spots and my strong spots. I flipping love the enneagram. I wasn’t even going to get into it in this post, but I can’t talk about the last year without talking about the enneagram.

I’ve been getting more and more in touch with my emotions. I’ve been writing poetry for the first time in a long time, and it’s been really fun. I’ve been reading Psalms and sending them up to God in my prayers.

I’m still not the kind of person who will cry at the drop of a hat, but I’m becoming the kind of person who allows herself to feel. And it’s good. And I’m excited. Pain is hard and stretching, but it’s part of what makes us human. It’s part of what connects us and makes us authentic.

So if you need me to come cry with you, hit me up. Even if the tears don’t come for me, I’ll hand you tissues and I won’t run away.

The picture above is authentic Carrie. She is happy and free a lot of the time. She will try any food, any adventure, anything that promises an adrenaline rush, and she will be the first to say yes. She’s usually smiling and laughing because it comes naturally to her. But she’s also learning to be still, to not need to be stimulated ALL THE TIME, to dig deeper, to face things instead of hide them away, and she’s learning who she is and how to share that.

Okay, she’s going to stop talking in the third person now.

 

Xoxo,

Carrie Sue

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