“Whatever makes you uncomfortable is the biggest opportunity for growth.”
“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.” -Henry Cloud
Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself, “I’m not the same person.” A lot of people view may view change in a negative light or a bad thing. Who doesn’t want to be known for being the girl/guy next door? The one who has always stayed the same. Who lived to make people comfortable? All the people-pleasers say haaay!
If you relate to that, you are not alone. A large part of my life even into adulthood I felt voiceless. I would bend to the needs all around me even if my spirit was disrupted. I was a YES girl. Because that is just what good girls do, right? Say yes, smile, show up and repeat. I lived for people to be pleased with me and avoided conflict at all costs. I know what it means to be taken advantage of from your resources, time, and advice. Disclaimer: This is not the SAME as being sacrificial and giving to others out of a servant spirit. But that’s another conversation.
While I am not perfect and I am still growing, I knew something had to give when I would find myself being stretched so thin that it began to show up in my body. When I would show up for people but find myself crying in the car after certain events or the tears that would flow when I went to bed at night. I knew I had to spend time looking within. And it’s been uncomfortable. It’s been uncomfortable saying no to things I would always say yes to in the past. It’s been uncomfortable not always being on the go and giving space for rest and margin. It’s been uncomfortable not showing up in the way that I used to. When you are a people pleaser on auto-pilot, sometimes you don’t even know why you do what you do. YOU JUST DO.
These past 3 years have been some of the GREATEST years of my life. It has been a lot of work. It’s been quieter, and I’ve scaled back in so many ways, but the clarity I feel is priceless. What I felt was stolen for a large part of my adulthood, the pandemic redeemed. I’m so grateful for the love of God and all that He has revealed to me. I’ve become a better person, flaws and all. Insecurities and all.
For the person who needs a pick me up or encouragement on your journey of freedom these tips are for you.
“The biggest embrace of love you’ll ever make is to embrace yourself completely.
1. Embrace a new way
Every new level or change requires a new way of navigating through life. Think about a child when they were a newborn and finally took their first steps. Their parents had to move things out of the way. They had to embrace a change in their child’s development. Clearing things out of the way so that child could move freely (and not mess errrythang up LOL). To embrace something is to welcome it with open arms. The best way to navigate change is to embrace this season in your life. Allowing yourself to lean into those big changes or small changes. A scripture that I love comes from 2 Corinthians 3:18, “We all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory.” It reminds us that we will continue changing until our last breath. We don’t have to fear change, but we can lean into what God is doing in and through us.
2. Embrace discomfort
A new way of being can be hard to navigate. Especially when people are used to you being a certain way. For most of my life (which is a long time eeeek), I’ve never had great boundaries. I would answer calls at any time of the day. I was dependable hear me? There was a season of my life when I had back-to-back meetups with people, with no room for margin in my life. When you have always been a certain way, the new you can impact those that you love too. Discomfort and feeling uneasy doesn’t necessarily mean a negative change has occurred. Often it reflects the growth and positive change happening within. A new person is emerging.
3. Embrace grace
Giving others grace can be easier than giving it to ourselves. We are more understanding of when someone has a bad day, doesn’t meet our expectations and the list goes on. It’s harder to give ourselves the same. When I was younger, I believed I had enough time to do everything at the same dang time. I am sure I operated over capacity more than I’d like to admit. I’ve had to remind myself that with new responsibilities comes a new way of moving. My capacity in college and my early 20s is not the same. Because of those changes, I tend to give myself a hard time. Can anyone relate?
There is a podcast from Chrystal Evans Hurst with Marshawn Evans Hurst and episode #393 talks about Releasing Your Shadow. She encourages the listener to embrace grace and allow certain things to be. Here is a snippet/summary:
“I relax a lot more and give myself the grace not to fill up the space.” (Her thoughts on being a Mom).
“I don’t have to fill up every space (of time) and not everything requires my 100 percent, so I just relax.”
I encourage you to listen to the whole podcast because their conversation blew me away. What I took away from their discussion was the power of grace in ourselves which can be hard for people-pleasers. People might be upset with you because of your changes and that is okay. In the words of Marshawn, “I may not be able to respond to 3000 texts and I will drop the ball.” And that is okay too.
4. Embrace His revelation
With how loud social media can be at times, it’s easy to assume every revelation is meant for the masses. Or that every revelation needs to be announced. Some things are okay to sit with. That is what happened for me. God revealed something to me that was so divine that I have been sitting on it. I was thinking through things that made my spirit unsettled or caused anxiety and what was revealed to my heart was around my birth story. Due to the hardship my mother faced around my birth, I brought a sense of comfort to her (this is not a bad thing btw). Because of my wiring from the womb, I’ve carried that my whole life – the desire to be a sense of comfort to others. Feeling responsible for people’s emotions and feelings. Extremely in tune with how people are feeling. This has definitely let to personal burnout and overextending. In summary, I’ve been operating out of a trauma response. No article revealed this to me, it was the holy spirit which is amazing. I was able to look through articles that confirmed what He put on my heart.
Here is a good example from Healthline that explain it a bit more:
“You struggle to feel ‘seen’ by others. If you’re a fawn type, you’re likely very focused on showing up in a way that makes those around you feel comfortable, and in more toxic relationships, to avoid conflict. But the downside to this is that you’re not necessarily being your most authentic self. The more you fawn and appease others, the more likely you are to feel unknown to others, even in your close relationships.”
The power of that revelation reminded me to NOT treat people as projects and secondly, God is the greatest Comfort I can offer others. Instead of offering more of me, when my capacity is at max, I can give them to the One who can soothe all things. That broke something in me in the BEST way. I share that with you as a reminder that there are certain things God will reveal to you on your journey that is specific to where you are. Embrace those revelations and where He is leading you to.
5. Embrace your support group and friendships
Personal growth comes with reimagining your friendships and connections. Every friendship has its season and reason. There are old friends, lifelong friends, and connections that might be a part of your life for a specific season. Sometimes, we can get petty if the season changes. I’ve learned the power of releasing people and vice versa. There are also core friends who get more of you than others and I’ve had to really take time to define that. I love meeting new people and making new friends, but I used to get those wires crossed back in my day. Anytime someone wanted to grab coffee, I said yes in a heartbeat.
Now? Not so much. I’m intentional about the time I give away and if I am showing up to meet someone I try to give them my undivided attention. Intentionality and time are some of the most important things. I’ve had resentment in the past when I would show up for others, and know more about them than they knew about me, which goes back to point four (above).
This led me to pray about my connections and allow God to open those doors. I can say with certainty, I am FULLY seen by my core frannnzzz, and I’m so thankful. If you are feeling a bit off about friendships I encourage you to pray about it. Certain friendships come back around and sometimes they don’t. Things that help me are asking myself, how do I feel when I am around certain people? Here are some good questions to think about (You can also flip these questions to see how people feel about you).
Can I be myself?
Do I have to walk on eggshells around this person/group?
Am I acting like a different version of myself with this person/group?
Do I feel supported?
Is this a person I can trust?
6. Embrace who you are becoming
“Let go. I let my voice be heard, then listen for the echo
My own reverb is playing
‘Cause I’m a movement
There’s dissonance, sometimes I make mistakes
Oh, I’m human after all, I’m not your expectations”-Alessia Cara
“It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.” -Michelle Obama
I believe that will be working on things for the rest of our lives, but it’s also okay to chill. To be okay with who you are becoming. To stay in the grey. I love personal development and growth, however, some of the best things in my life have come from not doing a thing. Some of the greatest revelations I’ve experienced have been through resting. When we change things about ourselves or become a different person to be impressive, we miss out on simply embracing how God made us. In between all of the counseling, self-assessments, and new things, remember the beauty of you.
What do you do when you’ve changed for your personal growth? Embrace it.
All my love,