Change from the Inside Out

This weekend, I got to watch a bit of the TLC show “Skin Tight” .. all I can say is I am SUPER thankful that my weightloss journey was done in such a way as my body rebounded WAY better than is usually expected for someone who has lost 160 lbs as I did!! I do have some extra skin, but I can healthfully “live” with my minor issues, especially by comparison to so many others who struggle SO much.

I REALLY identify with the (difficult!) journeys and (often painful!) stories of the folks I have watched so far ..

It seems like you’re just changing one thing – your personal “Fitness.” But you don’t realize till you’re in the thick of the journey (or in my case, almost at the END of it), that it’s a path to being FIT to your WHOLE “real” self (as God MADE you to be) .. NOT just your “body.”

You HAVE to change your mind, your emotions, your commitments, your relationships, your spiritual walk, EVERYTHING. Not just what you put (or don’t put) in your mouth.

And there is a lot of “damage” that can happen to a person that LEADS them to their body being “un-fit” .. Most often, the body being “un-fit” is just a SYMPTOM of the core issues. You MUST “change” from the INSIDE out. <3 If you’re struggling with “un-fitness” with yourself, PRAYERFULLY consider what new “seed” you need to “sow” in your life so the ROOTS will be different, and let the “fruits” take care of themselves. ;)

 

Blessings <3

~Leah

 

 

PS ~ It’s a BLESSING!

PS – Here’s a great follow-up to my below “consideration” ..

Hint – Proverbs 31 is not so much a “guide” as it is a PROPHETIC BLESSING!  So I fully intend to PRAY and SPEAK this over my own life ..

 

of course I can

http://charliegrenade.org/how-we-christians-have-misunderstood-the-proverbs-31-woman/

Be blessed!

~Leah

 

A Virtuous Wife

This afternoon, I attended a lunch-hour webinar at work about Managing Inventory – detailing best practices and how to quantify “carrying cost” and the impact on an organization, as well as many other very helpful topics.

 

I could not help but think of the “Proverbs 31 Woman” and consider ways these “best practices” would also help me better “get my own house in order”!

 

Consider .. and by that I mean, REALLY read SLOWLY and thoughtfully through these verses ..

 

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10
Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.

11
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.

12
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

13
She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.

14
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.

15
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.

16
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.

17
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.

18
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.

19
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.

20
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.

21
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.

22
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

24
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.

25
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.

26
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

27
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

28
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:

29
“Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”

30
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

31
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

 

 

 

good wives guide

Grandpa’s Wisdom

PEACE, BE STILL!
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I have one of those brains that just does not like to sit still. You may think I’m being “quiet” but I have a million things churning all the time – and I am not super great at discerning when my “cup” is about to get too full. No surprise to most of my friends/family/coworkers. ;)
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I also have one of those “consciences” that mistakenly believes at its core that “rest” is a WASTE OF TIME. (LIE!) .. so I go go go till I get sick and my body forces me to stop. And rest. And I feel guilty. Every time. *sigh* (It seems, I am my father’s daughter. <3 )
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KEEP IT SIMPLE
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So, the “voices” that resonate most meaningfully to me are the calm, measured, reasonably assured, occasionally zealous, highly informed (even intellectual) yet Keep-It-Simple and otherwise “matter-of-fact” types who may not even know they’re speaking “peace” in my “chaos.”
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To all my beloved friends who are these voices in my life, THANK YOU. <3
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A FIT WORD APTLY SPOKEN
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As a random aside, my Sister stands out as a prime example of this in my world. I can fluster her with 2 hours of enthusiastic fervor, during which she patiently listens and ponders and never judges (or at least never says so), and after which she’ll usually calmly tilt her head to one side, offer a single meaningful sentence or question (yes, she’s really been listening), and seemingly without even trying, in one minute she’s unraveled all my musings and ramblings and repackaged my considerations into a nice, neat little bite-size morsel. We rarely disagree, but even when we do, she has consistently offered wisdom and discernment and grace in return for what amounts to an awful lot of zeal and fist-shaking and MAYBE a spec of truth buried inside a tangle of chaotic over-thinking on my part. *sigh* She faithfully speaks PEACE into my storms. <3
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WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH?!
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But this forces me to raise another question .. at what point is it REALLY “over-thinking”? To this girl (*points at SELF*) who seems to unshakably(arrogantly?) believe MOST people suffer from UNDER-thinking, I don’t always know the point at which resolution could/should be reached, and I invariably think and analyze and “agitate” myself into a very gnarly yarny ball of knots (waaaaay) too much of the time. Sooooo, *sheepish glance* .. I don’t really RECOGNIZE the “over-thinking/analyzing” until AFTER the fact. (Is this post a prime example?)
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YOUR GRANDPA HAD IT RIGHT :)
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MERCIFULLY, I had a conversation with a Dear Someone recently – who genuinely loves me and has a vested interest in not only seeing me “relieved” from my self-imposed mental anguish, but also in helping me overcome this proclivity for his OWN peace of mind ;) .. this may or may not also be the same Dear Someone who has been known to say “Too many words, honey, what’s your REAL question?” ;) – who suggested I employ his Grandpa’s two main pieces of advice as “guardrails.”
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1) If you think you want it today? Sleep on it, and see if you still want it tomorrow. If you think you want it tomorrow? Wait a week, and you’ll know if you REALLY want it.
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2) If you can’t make a decision from every which angle, your indecision IS your decision. It’s a no.
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These are very similar to standards I have employed in my own life already, especially the second which for me was somewhat born out of the understanding that “God is not the author of confusion.” (So if I’m operating “in confusion” about a thing, I’m not being LED (see Romans 8), or I don’t have enough “light” of direction as yet. So the answer is “no.” At least for now.)
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DO. OR DO NOT. THERE IS NO TRY.
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What I SAW in this reiterated two pieces of Grandpa’s wisdom was also a significant CLUE to helping me BREAK the cycle of over-thinking. Both of these principles are necessarily attached to (surprise surprise) taking an ACTION step of some kind. What do I need to DO? Where do I need to GO? Should I or should I not “buy” this thing? etc.
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I may not technically KNOW when I’m “over-thinking” a thing, but I generally “know” when I am feeling overwhelmed, or when my “cup” has been filled to overflowing.
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(And sadly, it’s NOT “enough” to simply say to myself, “Be still and know that [HE is] God.” Because the REASON I’m over-thinking is very often attached to some big “ultimate question” kind of issue or “cosmic ideal” for which I am striving .. And let’s not here get into the discussion about my needing to “know that I know that I know” so I can “control” every outcome .. which is NOT “walking by faith” .. *humbling* .. cuz that is a topic for a whole ‘nother post, and attaches very beautifully to some revelations that occurred in my weightloss journey that also served to expose some of my own inner “heart idols”.)
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Rules of thumb:
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1) If I’m “over-talking” I’m probably “over-thinking” (Is this post a prime example?)
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2) If I’m “over-stressed” I’m probably not “owning my own decisions” and letting others/circumstances/”fear of man” toss me to-and-fro.
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3) To INTERRUPT the “over-thinking” I need to ASK myself an ACTION question.
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“Ok, Leah, but what can you DO about this? What do you NEED to DO about this?”
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If there is no “DO,” I suspect that might be a VERY good indication that there is no “NEED” to know ..
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LET. IT. REST. *sigh*
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Peace be still
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THERE is my “be still and know that [HE is] God” moment.
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It’s true, I have too long valued the “knowing” over the “doing.” And learning to flip-flop this reality in practice WAS all the difference between STAYING morbidly obese and finally losing 160 lbs. Learning to flip-flop this reality in practice was ALL the difference between living all “in my head” and taking risks in real life relationships.
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Soooo .. my “head” now needs to catch up with my “doing,” cuz *apparently* .. I’ve at least in part already been “doing” what I “know” ;)
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Ruby red slippers, there’s no place like home, anybody?
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Live in your own life, Dorothy. <3
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Note. To. Self.
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[with apologies for “spacing” issues that I do not know how to fix, in this post. :) ]
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Part(s) of the Whole Story

Everyone catches themselves, from time to time, saying something like “Part of me wants this, but part of me wants that.” It’s part (no pun intended) of the human experience that we feel “disconnected” or “absent-minded” or “not quite ourselves.”

But me WANTS it!

A major life shift – such as losing 160 lbs, as I did in the past couple years – can really exaggerate some of these “feelings” too.  For example, the “old” me or “fat” me sometimes makes “demands” that I do this or that, demands that the “new” me CANNOT tolerate. No, I do NOT “neeeeeeed” that piece of pizza!  I NEED this glass of water, and to wait 15 minutes!  Try again.  ;)

It seems to me that biblical revelation offers the best understanding for some of these distinctions and battles in our inner world .. Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, for example (Matthew 22:37) – the Word of God discerning BETWEEN the thoughts and intents of our heart, for example (see Hebrews 4:12) – the command to be transformed by the renewing of our MIND (see Romans 12), or the Proverb (23:7) that teaches us that as a man THINKS in his HEART, so IS he ..

Eternity placed in our Hearts

We are complex creatures because we were made in the image of God; eternity was “placed in our hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We have rationality and emotion, we have a heart “interface” with the spiritual – the capacity to connect and fellowship with God (a capacity which, if abused, can even fellowship with “unholy” spirits, or substitute “mob mentality” for true “worship”!). The Bible gets very specific, too, about the “old” self vs. the “new” self, or the “spiritual” self vs. the “fleshly” self. (consider Ephesians 4:17-23 or Colossians 3:1-11)

And if we are in Christ, we are given spiritual authority to RULE over our OWN FLESH .. to “master” ourselves by the power of his Holy Spirit. Just SPEAKING to ourselves can utterly change us – change our mind or emotion or the direction of our behavior (consider the power of the tongue! see James 3) ..

It puts the onus on each of us, then, to do our “due diligence” to examine our own hearts, to see ourselves as we really are and to evaluate our condition in relationship to the person GOD made and intends us to be/become (hmmm, conformed to the likeness of Christ?! (see Romans 8)), recognizing that in a very real way he sees us already as a finished work (the battle to be patient with myself in this process is a VERY real one!).

Come Let Us Reason Together

What’s your real point, Leah?  ;)

Let’s not settle for our self-deceptions. Let’s not settle for our unforgiveness and the “part” of us that just can’t “let go” of this or that offense – real or imagined (I have far too many of these *sigh*). Let’s not listen to our bodies in the sense that we let our limited desires and emotions “tell” us what we want, let’s “master” ourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let’s TELL ourselves the TRUTH, even when it hurts. Let’s not get “lost” inside ourselves, or HIDE ourselves away (I was guilty of this far too long!). Let’s “die” to ourselves, in the biblical sense; let’s “parent” the parts that need “parenting” and let’s stop “refusing to be comforted” when God himself seeks to comfort us. Let’s make sure we are yielded to our Maker in EVERY “part” .. heart, soul, mind, strength, body, spirit, emotion, memory .. Let HIM write our narrative.  Let’s SEEK truth and wisdom in our innermost parts, and not fail to apply it day by day.

Let’s BE [spiritually] hungry, “eat the meat, spit out the bones,” and NOURISH ourselves on the word of God.

Note. To. Self.  <3

~Leah

 

Featured pic source HERE.

fractured_portrait_by_kamink-d5j47sl

Emotional Muscle Memory

Other people’s stories – be they real or fiction or fantasy – are a KEY to unlocking something in ourselves.

Stories give us depth perception, and allow us to “feel” our own lives in ways that we sometimes can’t access in the everyday.

I haven’t read a fictional story in a long while, and this past holiday just finished listening to an audio book while working on various projects around my house – and the book itself isn’t the point behind my reflection, but it was a story based on real historical events, mirrored stories of real suffering ..

.. and it allowed me to access (and release) some emotion that I wasn’t unlocking in the course of my busyness, and helped me remember that much of what I consider “struggle” in MY world is infinitesimally SMALL compared to the “struggles” others face, and this was a valuable insight ..

Just because I took to heart someone else’s story.

So .. my “note to self” this morning ..

Don’t neglect taking other people’s stories to heart.

Not in an “all about me” way – It isn’t self-indulgent to nurture empathy and perspective and to build a kind of “emotional muscle memory” to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn!  (Read Romans 12 (NKJV) if you have a moment, today. <3 )

We DO all need “connection” and growth, and “depth perception” is critical for these things to flow naturally out of us.  It’s almost as if that’s the way we’re made!  On purpose!  ;)

Be blessed!

~Leah

 

free-clip-art-children-reading-books-RcG7nMecL

Burning Man

A FIRE is a beautiful thing – powerful, warms the cold, cooks the food, drives the machines, seals wounds, eliminates waste, provides LIGHT, signifies passion, and ignites OTHER fires and multiplies the blessing ..

But a FIRE – to be all of these things – must be properly contained, fanned, fed, and directed. In a home, it must be contained in the hearth, or it can burn the house down. In a campsite, it must be nestled partially in the ground and surrounded by stone, or it can rage out of control..

When that FIRE is burning in the HEART of a man, when he possesses a natural ZEAL and passion and power, it takes WISDOM to know how to come AROUND the flame, to set the boundaries so he can BURN and be made MORE powerful and effective, it takes GRACE to FEED his spirit with fuel and oxygen, and PATIENCE to walk with him so he will channel his energy to accomplish his PURPOSE, the very thing for which he was made ..

It takes LOVE to know when to cover him so he calms down, to discern when to rearrange the logs so fresh wind can enter his dying places, or how and when to throw kerosene on the green, wet wood so it will burn hot enough to burn off the water that’s suffocating his flame ..

It takes a FATHER to be the stone that holds him together.

It takes a MOTHER to be his calm and his fan.

It takes a WIFE to take up where father and mother left off, to be the fiery man’s wisdom, to receive him, to be empowered and warmed, nourished and driven, sealed and illuminated and impassioned by him, to be his steam engine, to incubate his flame, to burn as his torch and walk on Purpose WITH him.

It takes his CHILDREN to multiply the flame and take his passion and light to the ends of the earth.

ALL of this is GRACE.

ALL of this is a gift from the very God who MADE him to burn!

And whatever of these graces he lacks, God HIMSELF will raise up the provision for the fiery heart that is ultimately yielded to Him.

God patiently waits in the raging, He gently covers and directs, He vigorously applies the ax and adds more wood at just the proper time, He cleans and repairs the flue to evacuate the choking smoke so the fire will breathe, He lays the gunpowder trail as a fuse to send him out for His purposes, He sends him to the pit to eliminate the waste and clear the land, He lifts him up on the rocky shore to signal the ships to the danger, He locks him up in the engine room to power the mighty locomotive, He fights consuming fire with his fire, He arranges the coals tight and close to keep him smoldering until he’s ready again to break forth, He LOVINGLY DISCERNS and directs the heart of the man ..

And He REJOICES over the man He has made!

d9e5eab747e392122ce41b1682dab4c8

“Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:16b-17

HE is our Heaven!

(original post on BlogSpot)

17 November, 2011

Perfect Grace!

God’s perfect holiness requires our perfect holiness, OR his perfect (eternal!) judgment on us for LACK of it.

But thanks be to God that his perfect LOVE provided a perfect substitute – Jesus! – so that he would pour out his perfect judgment & wrath on the only one who really WAS (& is & is to come) perfectly holy, so that he could pour out his grace & mercy on all of US who would find our lives hidden IN that perfect substitute – Jesus! – & WHY would God do this? Not just so we’d be LIKE him! But so that we could be WITH him! FOREVER!

This isn’t fundamentally a “perfecting” story – though we are, in Christ, perfected.

This isn’t ultimately a “we WIN!” story – though, in Christ, we do!

It’s not a “look at us, we’re so great!” story – though Christ is the lifter of our heads, and he will exalt us at the proper time! – or, as some of us tend to think, a “woe is me, if only I could be perfect without Jesus’ sacrifice!” story – though our hearts ought to break with what breaks the heart of God.

This is not a “religious” story, or even primarily a “rescue” story – though we are, in Christ, really rescued!

No!  This is, first of all!, a LOVE story!

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Our holiness is not the END – it’s the MEANS! That we might receive and ENJOY, NOT our own perfection!, but GOD HIMSELF!
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If we do not have Jesus’ perfection – which he FREELY gives to all who would believe on his name! – If Jesus is not our ark of safety, and we do not stand before God clothed in HIS righteousness, we cannot survive the eternal INFERNO of God’s GLORY. But he does not give us Jesus’ righteousness so we will merely survive; he gives us the nature and heart of Jesus so we could be one with HIM!

HE is our heaven!

Glory to God for his perfect grace!
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When hunting for a fitting pic for this post, I found THIS blog entry, also worth the read!!
presence of God
In Your Presence, oh God!

BRAVING Trust Connections ~ Brené Brown

I recently watched an online talk with Brené Brown regarding building TRUST.
For my own sake (and by extension, yours), I am copying my notes from the brief but densely packed 25 minute presentation, here [with apologies for hard-to-read formatting – I don’t know how to get wordpress to “fix” the spacing issues on this one]:
BRAVING
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GREAT example:  her daughter’s teacher using a “marble jar” to represent good decisions/bad decisions – increasing this number to the point of a cumulative celebration when the jar is full.  Q:  Do you have any “marble jar” friends?  (Trust BUILT over time through a series of trust MOMENTS.)
a good df of “trust” – choosing to make something [that’s] important to you VULNERABLE to the actions of someone else.  [distrust – what I have shared with you – which is important to me! – is not SAFE with you.]
BRAVING acronym (“braving” connection with someone):
B = Boundaries – I trust you if you are clear about your boundaries and hold them, and you’re clear about my boundaries, and you respect them.
R = Reliability – You do what you say you’re going to do – and not just “once” – over and over and over again.  [Seizing opportunity to show care – By contrast, moments we choose to ignore/avoid can be interpreted as “betrayal.”]
A = Accountability – I can only trust you IF, when you make a mistake, you’re willing to own it, apologize for it, and make amends.  And when I make a mistake, I am allowed to own it, apologize, and make amends.
V = [the] Vault – What I share with you, you will HOLD in CONFIDENCE.  What you share with me, I will hold in confidence.  Here’s where we lose trust with people:  Gossip – you have just shared with me something that was not yours to share!  We “gossip” as a way to hotwire connection with each other – but our closeness is built on talking bad about other people – “common enemy” intimacy – it’s counterfeit trust!  That’s not real!  Respect MY story, that it’s MY story.
I = Integrity – 1) Choosing courage over comfort, 2) Choosing what’s right over what’s fast/fun/easy, 3) Practicing your values, not just professing your values.
N = Non-judgment – I can fall apart and be in struggle and ask for help without being judged by you; and you can fall apart and be in struggle and ask for help without being judged by me.  If you cannot ask for help, and you cannot reciprocate that, that is not a trusting relationship.  And you cannot “not judge” others for asking for help if you’re judging yourself for asking for help.  “Helping” but with judgment is NOT trust.  You’re just getting “value” from being the helper in the relationship, and that’s counterfeit!
G = Generosity [cf: 1 Cor 13 love always believes the best] – Real trust presumes the most GENEROUS thing about my words/intentions/behaviors and then checks it with me.  So if I screw up, say something, forget something – make a generous assumption.
This is the anatomy of trust, and it’s complex.
“I don’t trust you!”  What do you mean you don’t trust me?  [defensive]
Be willing to say – here’s what’s not working .. we have a [boundaries/reliability/vault…] issue.
CRITICAL:  This “braving” acronym works with self-trust, too.  (Did I honor my own boundaries?  Am I reliable?  Can I hold myself accountable?  Did I give MYSELF the benefit of the doubt?)
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves but SAY ‘I love you.'” M. Angelou
The thing to examine first is your own marble jar – how do you treat yourself?  You can’t GIVE to someone else something you don’t believe you, yourself, are “worthy” of receiving.
~Brené Brown

Movie Review: Bridge of Spies

This is on my definite “must see” list….

The Scene

bridgeofspies

Tom Hanks is at his most Toms Hanks-ish in the new Cold War drama “Bridge of Spies.”

As James Donovan, an American insurance lawyer given the unenviable task of defending a Russian spy at the height of the Cold War, Hanks doesn’t adopt an accent or wear a disguise. He portrays Donovan with the deadpan humor and quiet nobility he’s synonymous with, and it could be argued that he’s basically just playing the “Tom Hanks role” in his latest collaboration with Steven Spielberg.

That’s not a criticism. There are few actors whose mere presence can serve as a shorthand for goodness and integrity. And who better to anchor a movie about decency than the actor who’s been called America’s Dad?

Like he did with “Lincoln,” Spielberg uses American history to dwell on national values and humanity. Working from a script by Joel and Ethan Coen, he uses a true story about spies, government duplicity…

View original post 1,284 more words

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