Be careful with me, ’cause I’d like to stay that way

I think I’m harder than I used to be. But when I get my feelings hurt, I realize how sensitive I really am. Sometimes I use the sassyness to keep people at arm’s length. I think I’m more sweet than sassy, though. (But I’m not sure.)

I sometimes talk too much and repeat things that aren’t amusing just to fill silences. But I think a comfortable silence is one of the most valuable things two people can share. When I feel vulnerable, I want my closest friends around, even if we don’t do anything.

I’m a daddy’s girl. I used to regularly hurt my mom’s feelings (when I was little) by pushing her away and crying, “I don’t want you, I want GEE!” I hurt my dad’s feelings when I stopped calling him Gee and started calling him Daddy.

I feel guilty when people buy me presents that I don’t like. I cry when I get angry, or sad, or frustrated, or stressed out. Sometimes I think I should leave my stressful profession for a desk job that I wouldn’t take home with me.

I worry too much and pray too little. I’m slow to trust people, but once I do, I’m fiercely loyal. I’m also a little self-centered.

I think driving with the windows down in the rain is a good idea. It’s even better if you can smell the lightning. I’m not athletic and I hate sweating, but I like to play outside sometimes anyway.

I’m not afraid to run through leaves like a child, and sometimes I get so excited about a conversation that I talk with my mouth full. I’m kind of a nerd, and I don’t really have a problem with it.

I’m messy — not in keeping house, but in my faith and in who I am. The older I get, the more I realize how imperfect I am. But that leaves me appreciating grace even more.


Filed under Autobiography

2 Responses to Be careful with me, ’cause I’d like to stay that way

  1. Hi Carla,

    This is Rick, the guy who apologized to you a while back for being selfish about writing to your blog site. I came across this post and wanted to offer a kind response. My website is included in this reply. I started a Web photo album earlier this year, with plans to add more recent pictures from a home church men’s retreat and peer counseling in Vacation Bible School. If the website link doesn’t work in the “Website” text box, here it is: I wanted to be a friend and share a picture with you so that at least I wouldn’t have been a total stranger in pastime and present time writing to you. I think being a stranger is easy in the age of blogs and websites, and I thought it kind to make myself relatable in Web communication.

    I’m also including a web link to a conference that you might find helpful to your own life-story: The conference is called “Learning To Love Your Story,” from Mars Hill Graduate School. The conference speaker, Dr. Dan Allender, is a great speaker and counselor. He’s scheduled in September in Texas, if the web link is still current. The conference is in Texas, but I appreciate that you’re the traveling type, so I included the link anyway.

    I sympathize with your self-esteem struggles. The Conference helped me about reconciling of my self-esteem and life-story with the Lord, and magnifying of my life-story with the Lord. I worry a lot of times about my self-esteem, my male identity. A First Epistle of Peter study, and the Conference and the aforementioned retreat, helped me open up about that. I Peter helped me ask, “What does it mean to be a man reconciling with the Lord?” The canonical book would also lead you to the question: “What does it mean for you to be a woman reconciling with the Lord?”

    I Peter says that wives should submit to their husbands so that if their husbands are disobedient to the Word, they may be won over without a word by their wives’ behavior. Their adornment must not be merely external, the braiding of hair or the putting on of dresses, but should be of the hidden heart, of a quiet and gentle spirit. In the same way, husbands should care for their wives, as caring for the weaker vessel, the being of a woman, regarding her as an equal partner in the testament so that their prayers might not be hindered.

    I think that men struggle with male handsomeness, and women struggle with female prettiness. Essentially, the struggle is an “equal opportunity” problem; there’s plenty of idolatry to go around. I worry a lot about what women think about me. “Does she think I’m too dumb?” “Does she think I’m fat?” “Does she think I’m ugly?” I get very ashamed of my male image, and I keep my life-story apart from God in the process. And it won’t do to just say a quick fixer-upper pep talk, “Oh, just snap out of it!” A deeper relationship is the need. It’s found not just in the “come to Jesus” talk that is so popular in the visible church, but in magnifying of my life-story with the Lord, the desire of the true confessing church. Reconciling of my manhood with the Lord involves confessing of my feelings and crying and learning about redeemed image with the Lord. It involves opening of my ashamed feelings with God the Father, based on His sacrifice of God the Son, and His seal of redeemed image in God the Spirit. And as I reconcile my male identity with the Lord, the Lord’s promise is that I will develop a love of peer counseling, the drawing of my peers’ life-stories, men and women alike, to the Lord. I want the Lord God to see me nervous and afraid and tearful and exalting of Him, and I want to express that to my peers in counseling unto their hearts. What is Christian peer counseling? It is learning to speak for others in agreement with the Lord’s speaking for our sins.

    I think the same holds true for you, Carla. I think there are great things in store for your life-story. Seeking of Communion with your Heavenly Father involves opening up of your feelings with Him, not being afraid to magnify Him and satisfy yourself in your relationship with Him. The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism sums it up neatly. “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” God glorifies Himself in His being by relating His Personhood, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with you, achieving this through your personal enjoyment in learning of the Gospel. You will glorify and enjoy God and be satisfied forever through your learning of the Gospel. And I think, based on I Peter and Dr. Allender’s conference, you will find your life-story attractive to others. The Lord’s promise in your learning of I Peter is that you will let others learn from your life-story. Your continuous drawing of your womanhood near to the Shepherd, in all your self-esteem struggles and shame, will attract hearts to the Shepherd. And you will share your life-story with other life-stories, even with a Christian soul-mate.

    Communing with God about personal shame was Dr. Allender’s major emphasis in the conference. Abuse was a particular theme, something the church doesn’t like talking about. Dr. Allender drew from the combined words “fornication” and “adultery” in the Gospel of Matthew to say that abuse is basically desire gone mad. It isn’t always something obvious and physical; it is basically manipulation in all kinds of ways in relationships, through mind games, flirtings, gossip, etc. We abuse our peers; our peers abuse us. Communing with God involves opening up about our shame with abuse. And we can draw from our experiences for peer counseling.

    This was something I drew from for peer counseling in Vacation Bible School, hence my mention of it earlier. Children bring all sorts of baggage into Vacation Bible School. I wanted to apply a meditation on John 4:30-35 in my peer counseling with the School church curriculum onto the children. John 4:30-35 quotes Jesus’ saying to the disciples, “Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and look upon the fields, that they are white for harvest.” As I lift up my life-story with the Lord, I will let peers see me in all my anxieties and forgetfulness and sloppiness, and draw peers to the Lord. My small group of children got to see me leave book materials behind in classrooms and mislead them to different church building sections and all sorts of riff-raff. And as I shared John 4:30-35 with them, in practice and in a literal moment of sharing, they wanted to learn what I had learned. I shared my tattered home study Bible, all stringy and taped up in its leather, with them. And their eyes got as big as saucers, seeing a personal treasure of mine, and they were saying, “Wow, I want to read what he read!” And I think all this was a good influence on their life-stories. They will learn to open up their baggage, fears and sloppiness and all, to the Lord. And I think this is a good neighborly example to share with you, Carla. When I tell you my sloppy ways in communion with the triune Shepherd, this will lead you to opening up your sloppy ways with the triune Shepherd, as it were. And your opening up about abuse with the Lord will lead your peers, including your soul-mate, to their own opening up about abuse with the Lord.

    I’m glad I came across your post, Carla. I think there are great things about your life-story for you to explore in covenant relationship with the Lord God. Go patiently with it; I promise you that you won’t regret it. I’ll cite a favorite hymn, “From the Depths of Woe I Raise to Thee,” about coming to understanding of Bible lessons over time: “I wait for it with patience.” And this will lead to a great life-story that will attract others to the Lord God, and to you. I’m also glad that I’ve come to this point of sharing my life-story with a distant peer I respect. I confess that I abuse peers, too, pursuing desire gone mad. I’ll say again that I’m sorry to you about abusing your time with the past blog writings, and even this present writing, whereever secret blind spot idols lurk in my heart. You don’t have to write back to this soliloquoy. (If you want to, I would suggest e-mail, simply in terms of respecting your desire for privacy, personal e-mail in contrast to a more public blog. Although, what is really private on the Internet these days? But I digress.) I hope this blog post and reply will be something for you to draw from for good things in the future. And I hope this finds you well.

    From a friend and brother in Christ,
    Alexandria Presbyterian Church

  2. I miss you! I’m super glad you’re my friend. I told a teammate of mine about you and how you helped to turn me onto Nickel Creek and I miss you here in Jordan. I can’t wait to talk to you when I get back! Email me and tell me about your life because I can check email out here. Love ya!

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