People Pleasing

We have officially entered the Carroll busy season as we juggle lots of responsibilities and ministry projects. This time each year sparks memories of the ”old Leah”. Old Leah thrived on busy, desiring to fill every free minute with something productive. New Leah has to channel all that energy into motherhood and keeping children alive.

Speaking of those sweet boys…we had a scary moment this week at an appointment. Malachi’s new wheelchair doesn’t ride the same way as his old one, with the center of gravity feeling a little off. It also doesn’t absorb shock as well as we go over rough terrains, something Jake and I have been concerned about.

On Wednesday the boys both had appointments with their GI doctor so I had Malachi loaded up in his wheelchair and Levi in the foot box on the front of the chair; Levi has always been in this spot since he was a baby and we have never had issues. As the elevator doors opened I started to wheel out of the elevator and the chair tires got caught on the gap between the elevator and the 2nd floor and abruptly flipped the chair straight forward, dumping BOTH boys out on the floor. I lost my ever-loving mind, screaming as I scooped Malachi off the floor. It went so fast I had to replay the scene in my mind trying to sort out exactly what had happened.

Levi had a big red mark on the middle of his forehead for a few minutes but seemed totally fine. He looked at Malachi and smiled saying ”Look mom, me and Malachi are on the floor.” Completely unfazed by how Malachi got there. Bless his little 4 year old mind. I watched him closely for signs of a concussion but he seemed to be in the clear.

Malachi ended up on his side on the floor, and thankfully I did get to see part of the fall. When the chair flipped forward Malachi’s upper body followed but landed on Levi’s back before they ended up on the floor. Essentially he ”rode” Levi to the ground and then rolled off, which likely saved him from serious injury. He was still very upset and rattled, which I totally understand. When I got him calmed down I went through each body part, checking for injury and asking him what hurt. He didn’t communicate anything was hurting and he acted normal the rest of the evening.

I, however, was mortified and very upset. At first I was angry at the wheelchair (somewhat justified), then at the elevator (maybe a bit justified), and finally at the doctors office (completely unjustified, which I recognized pretty quickly and toned back). In all reality, the situation was easily preventable by me. I should have strapped him into the chair, something we have never done since he is immobile. And Levi won’t be sitting on the front foot-box again when on uneven surfaces, although I truly feel like it helps weigh down the chair’s center of gravity. I think it was just a freak accident and that the two floors were a tad uneven, leading to a ledge for the chair to try to go over and a gap for the front wheels to drop into.

I watched Malachi like a hawk, literally checking him every hour for his breathing and going through every body part to make sure there wasn’t pain. He ran a brain fever for about 7 hours that evening which had me concerned. For those of you that don’t know, Malachi randomly runs fevers without sickness. They manifest differently, with his arms and legs losing their warmth and his back getting blazing hot. We are told the part of the brain which manages his temperature regulation is damaged, so these mysterious fevers pop up and disappear just a few hours later.

But by morning Malachi was completely back to normal and acting fine. Yesterday his seizures ramped up with him having over a dozen in 12 hours. In the back of my mind I couldn’t help but wonder if it was related to his fall, but today he is back to his normal, perky self after a good night’s rest. I think our seizure issues were due to a lack of sleep the night before, which leads to my next story.

But to wrap up this story really quickly…

I called the wheelchair company (in our world they are DMEs, or Durable Medical Equipment Providers) and explained that we needed to talk to a technician about a way to make the chair safer, making it more stable and absorbing the shock of terrain or ledges better. They told me that they couldn’t send a technician without a doctors prescription for changes to be made on the chair. I explained that we JUST received this chair in December and assumed if things weren’t right on it and it was a safety issue that they would help make it right for Malachi. She reiterated that they couldn’t even schedule that appointment without a doctors note. I was floored by this and so disappointed that my son’s safety in his wheelchair wasn’t a priority. It took us 6 months to get the chair to begin with, so there is no telling how long the process for the repairs could take. It was such a reminder to me that so many things in the special needs world are driven by dollar signs instead of having the child’s best interest as the driving force behind decisions.

So on to the Friday night sleeping story. Saturday morning was the official game kickoff for our new soccer ministry. We launched practices with the kids on Tuesday evening, cycling 100 kids through practices in under three hours. My brain was fried by Tuesday evening, but my heart was full knowing we had been able to talk about Jesus with that many children in our community.

Malachi has been staying up until 3am and sleeping until 10-11. I told both boys that they needed to go to bed early Friday night and they needed to get up early in order to go to soccer. Malachi truly made a concerted effort to fall asleep early but his body wouldn’t let him, waking him up several times before finally committing to sleep at his normal 3am. But sweet Malachi was so excited about ”coaching” Levi’s soccer team that he woke himself up at 6:30 to make sure he didn’t miss the game. He was so excited as I got him out of bed, knowing that he didn’t sleep through it. These glimpses of his sheer excitement for something are so precious to me.

We geared him up in his coach shirt and headed over to kick off the 4/5 year old age group, which is essentially like trying to herd cats. But it was highly entertaining and truly so much fun. I was a bit too distracted to get pictures of the boys but will try to snap a few this weekend.

Levi has been growing so much lately and eating everything he can get ahold of. We spent so many years trying to get him to eat real food and now he eats so much! What a blessing.

Tonight we all gathered in the living room to watch the Super Bowl. If you don’t know, Jake and I are from the Cincinnati area so he was very invested in the outcome of this game. His anxiousness kicked into gear Saturday evening and by the time kick off happened he was a mess, pacing the house and shouting with excitement each time the Bengals had a success.

The dogs assumed he was angry when they sensed all of his bottled up emotions and hid in the bedroom. Malachi giggled uncontrollably at his dad, and Levi joined into the excitement, cheering like his daddy but clueless as to what was going on. He kept asking if they were ”beating the bad guys”.

Over the last few weeks I have been spiritually sharpened in so many wonderful ways. Sometimes that sharpening brings pain, as I have callouses of sin that I try to ignore that God desires to cut off.

One of those callouses is my people pleasing nature. Can any of you relate to that?

Lately I find myself filtering my decisions through the question of ”What will _____ think?” To the point where it has become a sin.

Yes, people pleasing can be as well intentioned as possible but still cross the line into the sin category. In my effort to ”golden rule” everyone I found myself bypassing the things God was calling me very directly to do.

In Galatians 1 Paul reminds us: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

In context, this verse was a chastisement towards the Galatians for how quickly they were accepting a skewed gospel they were being presented with that was contrary to true gospel of Christ. He was clearly frustrated with them and calling them out. I can imagine he ruffled lots of feathers with this bold call out but Paul remembered the assignment was to be a servant of Christ.

Christianity can seem so complicated…in some verses you read about treating others are better than yourself. Then you read about loving your brother and laying down your life for a friend. We read about the Good Samaritan, putting the needs of a complete stranger above his own.

We are called time and time again to be selfless, deny our wants and desires and living to bring others to Christ.

But we have to remember that all of those efforts are supposed to be done with the heart of Christ, as we channel Him working THROUGH us. These actions towards others are a byproduct of Christ working through us as His willing instruments. Yes these moments can be manufactured by us…but they can also be completely void of God. And can even become distractions as they steal our focus away from the works that God has prepared for us to do.

As we have been embarking on new ministries I have caught myself worrying more with the details and pleasing others than simply walking in obedience and letting God work those things out.

We can strip the faith from our “step out in faith” moments pretty quickly if we aren’t careful.

This week God has been refining me in some big ways to remind me that His opinion is the only one that truly matters. If I would spend the time I give to people pleasing and exchange it for prayer time with God my faith would blossom so much more.

All of this to say, if you are a people pleaser like me, maybe you too are in a situation where you have allowed the voice of people to drown out the voice of God. People pleasing is more rewarding in the moment, but God calls us to a life of perservering towards a goal we won’t ever grasp on this side of heaven. I am going to end with a chunk of scripture that I feel led to share with you tonight from Philippians.

Philippians 3:7-14

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Thank you for taking the time to check in on our family, and please continue to pray for health and a hedge of protection from all medical emergencies!

Much love,

Leah

2 thoughts on “People Pleasing

  1. I recently heard a Bible teacher remark…”When God calls you, do you let it go to voicemail ?” That has really stuck with me. Sometimes we busy ourselves with things that are ‘needed’ by someone, or a group, and then the busyness of the moment can overshadow the voice of God, perhaps wanting us to do something else at that moment. Blessings !~!

    Like

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