careful now

careful now

remember when you thought the last one was the last one?

“what a relief,” you told yourself

“i’ll never have to worry about falling in love again”

 

don’t let this one in so easily

remember when you thought the last one was the one

there you go again

rearranging your meaning of the one to fit the new one

again

 

you open your heart wide and you shove him inside,

before you even know if he fits

before you even know if he’s worthy of the width

before you even know if he’ll be safe in there

what if he’s too weak to survive in the dark

what if he’s too weak to survive in your heart

what if he rummages around and breaks something

 

careful now, girl

when will you learn to be as careful with yourself

as you are with everyone else?

 

you decide he’s what you want

but you wanted something different before him

is this the problem or the solution?

is he rearranging himself to fit into your heart

or are you shrinking and growing your heart to fit around him

 

if he’s worthy, it will be worth it

but if he’s not, you’ll have to fall out of and into love all over again

when will you realize falling breaks things

and falling again won’t fix them

 

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light

light

 

It’s the middle of the night

And I’m here trying to shake the darkness away

Trying to feel more or feel less –

Depending on the moment

Trying to keep my darkness at bay

 

Then, you ask me if I’ll face your darkness too.

 

You need someone to stay alive with you – just til the sun rises –

To pray you’ll see the darkness turn to day

How can I pray for you when I find it hard to pray for me?

You honor me with your trust,

But you frighten me with your pain

 

Numbness isn’t contagious but pain is.

 

I’m huddled in the corner trying to fight

Trying to fix what I feel

Counting the seconds to the end of the night

Entertaining lies I’d never believe

If the blinds were split by morning light

 

I’ve never felt so self-centered in my life.

 

You need me,

And you want me

So I reach back –

You touch my darkness with your darkness,

And I touch your darkness with my light

 

Here you are, reminding me that I am human.

 

Your darkness is deeper;

Mine is shallow

You have been ripped apart;

I rip my own heart apart

And hide the pieces so no one can help me put them back together

 

Don’t tell me this but I’m beginning to suspect some part of me likes being sad.

 

My darkness is some unrecognizable shade of gray

Sometimes I am numb,

And sometimes I feel nothing so deep I hyperventilate,

And I’m not saying those things are okay

But I still have light to spare

 

I am human and you are human and our pain is what we have in common.

 

Even in the worst times,

I have light to share

So I tuck my darkness away, and I pull out my spare bits of light

And I know this isn’t the time to ask questions

This is the time to wrap you up in the light and tuck you into safety

 

I’ll stay here until you tell me to go and even then I’ll stay a little while longer.

after midnight

anxiety is a wave – a tsunami

it’s a sneak attack

it comes when i least expect it

it comes when i most expect it, too

if only i could confine it –

one place

one time

one person

one feeling

 

but i cannot confine it

i can only fight it

 

anxiety is a sneak peak of depression

a trailer as frightening as the main event

 

depression is subtle

not a wave or tsunami –

just a little fall of rain

i don’t see it as quickly

sometimes it’s here for weeks,

settling over me like the thinnest layer of dust

barely noticeable

but impacting everything

depression is gentler –

but so much heavier

 

depression is months and months of numb

hiding behind the appearance of “okay”

it crushes everything it touches

but softly, slowly, gently –

creativity

security

compassion

connection

anything that used to be easy –

it breaks me,

gently

 

i wish i could fight it

but i find it hard to identify it

 

anxiety is flashes of orange and red in a spiral in a kaleidoscope constricting holding me down chasing me trapping me

sudden

harsh

it’s being stuck in an elevator with the walls closing in

is the elevator moving anymore?

will it ever move again?

will i be stuck here forever?

how long will forever be?

what will people say about me?

are they whispering behind my back do they know i don’t belong do they know

????

anxiety is a parking garage and i can’t find the way out how is it holding itself up it’s too heavy i’m too heavy it’s all too heavy it’s going to crush me before i find the way out i can’t breathe i can’t think with all this screaming who is screaming will you stop screaming i can’t breathe

 

depression is a shade of gray covering everything i see

all the things that should be technicolor –

gray

 

peace is knowing the moment i’m in is the right moment

the place i’m in is the right place

peace is calm is home is freedom is happiness

yellow and blue in a swirl

sunbeams reflected off the water

blinding me to the pain I could be feeling at any given moment

a kaleidoscope I have to pick up and choose to look through

a kaleidoscope moving slowly

pulling the best of me out of me

filling me with the best of me

pulling me out of myself

out of my head

until one day,

i realize that i am okay

i am going to make it

i have been happy for awhile now

 

peace is gentle, too

change, pain, and some other things 23 taught me

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

rivers in the wasteland

rivers in the wasteland

It’s been a long and hard few months.

This whole winter felt like I was paddling against the current, and also didn’t know which river I wanted to be paddling down, or if I even wanted to fight the current or just let it take me.

So that’s what I did. I let the current take me. This way, then that way. Further from who I know I am. Further from the kind of person I want to be.

Meanwhile, Jesus was rowing beside me in a little canoe, offering me a hand up.

But I decided I’d rather let the current take me.

I have my life laid out in milestones. When I get to this place, I won’t have more problems. Then I get to that place, and I realize no person or relationship or job or level of responsibility will ever make everything okay or bring me to some level of completion. Stretching myself to my breaking point isn’t somehow going to turn me into a better or stronger person. Taking care of myself is going to turn me into a stronger and healthier person. Giving myself the same level of care I give the people around me, is going to turn me into a whole person.

I woke up on Monday morning in my friend Ruth’s bed, with this overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t do it anymore. The first thought I had, even before I opened my eyes, was, “I can’t let the current take me anymore because if I don’t stop now I’m going to drown.” So I got out of bed, took a shower with boy shampoo (thanks, Paul), and did the dishes from the night before. And I talked to Jesus and told Him I’m sorry and I’m going to try harder. But rather than telling Him I’m going to be better, like I have been telling Him for awhile, I told Him “Jesus, I can’t do better. I need you to come in and purify me again.” I said, “Jesus, I’m ready to get back into the canoe with You.”

And He said to me, “Carrie, you don’t have to climb back in; let me pull you into the boat. I want you here. I’m already doing a work in you. Just because you can’t see or understand what I’m doing, doesn’t mean I’m not working.”

This scripture from Isaiah popped into my head as I was doing the dishes. And then I came to work and opened Pinterest (as you do) and it was literally the first thing at the top of the page:

“I am about to do something new. See? I have already begun. Do you not see it? I will make a pathway in the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

That’s me. I’ve been that wasteland for too long. God’s created a river, a pathway out, and I honestly think what He wants to do for me is simply show me how to find Joy in Him again.

The thing is, I haven’t been. I’ve been trying to find joy in other things for the past few months, and that’s what’s bugging me, in the back of my mind. Carrie, you were just doing this last weekend, and you think you can just leave that behind and make Jesus your focus again? Pretty sure it’s going to take a little longer than that.

I’ve always been my own worst critic. Disappointment in myself is the hardest to overcome. I’m upset with myself. Not because I did anything “that bad,” but because I know Jesus. I’ve known Him for years. I know He is the only way. Yet, I still choose to walk away. Some days I still choose to ignore Him. That’s why I’m disappointed in myself. I’m disappointed not because I did anything “that bad” but because I’ve been putting other things over Him. Satan would love to catch me up in that. In the shame. He would love to catch me up in guilt. He would love to convince me I’ve used up Jesus’s grace. He’d love to convince me I’ve used up all my chances. Satan would love if I believed him.

You know what? No. (#nottodaySatan) I’m done believing the lie that shame always takes a long time to overcome. I believe my God is active. I believe He runs on His own timeline. And when I turn to Him and tell Him I’m ready to let Him do a new thing in me, I believe He will do it.

He’s always done it before, and I believe He’ll do it again.

If you’re in the wasteland today, keep believing for Him to bring you through it. Keep asking for Him to bring you through it. And please don’t believe the lie that you are the only one struggling. If you are struggling and think you’re worse than anyone around you, reach out to someone you trust. Reach out to me if you need to, even if we don’t know each other well. You’re not the only one with “real struggles,” although sometimes when you’re surrounded by “church people” and “church talk” it can feel that way. But guess what? We all struggle. Every single one of us.

That’s why we need Jesus.

xoxo,

Carrie