Category Archives: Challenge
Content of these posts, potentionally challenging or controversial, open for “debate” ~ please keep it civil!
Inhale .. Exhale ..
Sometimes it takes me a while to “wake up” to the WHY behind my not “feeling” well. I was never good at “listening” to my body (a big reason I got so .. well .. big). This includes not paying attention to signals I’m exhausted or stressed or irritable. Or feeling “trapped” and prone to blame others for making me feel that way….
I have recently woken up to the fact I got hoodwinked, again, by my own “Old Leah” thinking .. trying to bring a lot of factors together to “make” them work to please all involved. And my “making” it work involved making a lot of “sacrifices” from my own world – time, money, energy, etc.
THANK GOD I recognized the pattern before it got TOTALLY out of control, but there are still some costs and losses as a result. (“Natural consequences.”) And as has become my trend (sheepish grin), I flooded my twitter account with a series of self-counseling, “preaching to myself” blips. In short, I was walking by sight, not by faith. I was being led by “emotion” (others’ AND my own) and ulterior motives rather unknown even to myself at first, instead of being led by the Spirit of God – our GOOD Father – who is NOT the “author of confusion” (even though I was kinda overrun by “confusion” at times, and tried to manage it and “force” the square peg into the round hole, instead of identifying that I was sent off course WAY back, and could easily have redirected back THEN and saved everyone a lot of grief, not least of all myself!).
In case you are at all wired like me, a recovering “people pleaser” at odds with her own over-inflated sense of justice (my “kind” word for my own self-righteousness), here are my tweets so YOU might be able to change course, too. I’ll copy here, and retreat to my prayer closet so I can discern the appropriate “fix” .. which is probably going to include some “repentance” on my part for having let things get this far in the first place.
Thank God he is GRACIOUS and loves to direct us for our own good. ❤
- Need 2listen better 2growing feeling of being overwhelmed..It’s OFTEN a “check in my spirit” that I’m walking by fear/obligation, not Faith!
- When u bend over backwards 2make square pegs fit round holes so others aren’t hurt or offended, that might not be love as much as cowardice.
- There’s a difference between sacrificially “giving the shirt off ur back” as Jesus commanded vs. MANIPULATING others by trying 2please them!
- If ur frustratd bcuz ur manipulation disguisd as self-sacrifice fails 2achieve desired accolades, u WILL hv dis-ease from home-grown stress!
- Here’s the point: U might not B aware ur a manipulatng ppl pleaser. LISTEN 2ur stress levels &feeling hurt when others fail 2love ur effort!
- CUT OFF ur stress &frustration UP FRONT! Be willing 2say NO sometimes, express urself &OWN ur decisions. Sometimes NO = most loving answer.
- Be led by PEACE in ur decisions. God is not the author of confusion, & ur not being more “righteous” by ever yielding 2everyone elses whims.
- There is a GRACIOUS diffrnc between loving by SERVING vs being a SLAVE – either 2others OR emotions. Dont be ur own emotional whipping post.
- When u make self-deprecating decisions 2please others (not 2SERVE others), u really can’t blame THEM when u fail 2accomplish ur own dreams.
- If ur a chronic “ppl pleaser” be prepard, it will take WORK 2examin ur motives faithfully. CHECK urself,SPEAK ur true desires,say NO if nec.
- GOOD 2deny urself insofar as ur chasing selflessness. It IS Christ-like. But that is NOT= 2being jerkd by other ppl’s ever-changing desires!
- Have u caught urself in a snowball of iffy decisions? R u bearing fruit of stress,frustration,exhaustion,anger,blameshifting? CHANGE COURSE.
- We serve a GOOD Father &his commands R NOT burdensome! If u FEEL burdened, could it be ur walking in a SELF-imposed reality, not led by HIM.
- Uve made some compromises,found ur iffy motivs,&need 2change course? PAUSE,immerse urself in PRAYER so nxt move =led by the SPIRIT,not self.
An old, school friend of mine and his wife needed prayer and encouragement, this morning, as they are in an ugly custody battle with her deceptive and abusive ex-husband regarding her kids ..
The word the Lord gave me is a word worth sharing, cuz I needed to “hear” it, too!
Before the court appointment:
… I’ll be praying that the spiritual enemies at work will be thwarted, that the judge .. be bound by law and discern the truth as well as SEE what is best for the kids ..
And I’ll pray that you and your wife are able to rest in the knowledge that regardless of what YOU cannot control, nevertheless we have a God who can “turn the heart of the king wherever He wills.” [Proverbs 21:1] I am so sorry you guys are going through this struggle! I’ll be praying for good fruit for YOU two, for your like-mindedness and unity in your marriage as you wrestle “not with flesh and blood” and for all the kiddos as no doubt they are feeling the stress of everything, as well as being pawned and yanked and manipulated .. God WILL bring healing and good from all this [Romans 8:28] …. ❤
Even the unjust judge in Jesus’ parable about praying without ceasing [Luke 18:1-8] ultimately relented because the woman persisted in her requests for justice. I will pray that THIS judge will administer GOD’S wisdom, even if not his/her own. ❤
After the court appointment, and SOME small victories in the situation as a result, she expressed weariness over the journey which caused the Spirit to prompt me to say:
I can tend to be an “all or nothing” person .. I have been really struggling lately with depression over my weight-loss journey cuz I’ve backtracked a little (lost 156 lbs, but have gained back 7 in the last couple months) .. I have had to remind myself A LOT lately that EVERY little thing is what adds up to a big difference when all is said and done. I can’t make myself go to the gym, lately .. I just don’t have the mental or physical fortitude, struggling with pain issues, etc. BUT I can walk 5 minutes every couple hours, I can cut back my intake to make up for less physical activity (and thus fewer calories to spend), etc.
I know my journey is NOTHING compared to winning a victory on behalf of your CHILDREN’S welfare .. My only word of encouragement intended is ..
EVERY little decision, EVERY little fight, EVERY little victory, EVERY little reprieve – a minute to catch your breath till the next battle .. EVERY one is worth giving thanks for. Every little thing will eventually add up .. and I’m afraid we little people don’t learn “patience” any other way than going THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death .. [Psalm 23, James 1:2-8]
It can be so tempting to just sit down and put our heads in our hands and give up, but if we don’t go through it, where do we find ourselves? In a crumpled heap, motionless IN the valley of the shadow of death? Why would we want to stay there!
We MUST get up, we MUST keep going, and thank GOD for his promise that he goes through it WITH us .. HE sees us through to the other side.
TAKE HEART, sister. You ARE fighting a good fight.
You’re imaging our Good Father by sacrificing for the sake of your beloved children. He gave all to rescue you [John 3:16, Romans 8:32], now you get to do the same for your little ones. Let this speak to your heart about how GREAT the love of OUR Good Father is for us. He will most definitely strengthen you through this! And in the end, bring both good for you, and glory for himself.
Cuz what’s on the other side of the valley?
LIFE. Real, vibrant, exhilarating LIFE in the fullness of God’s grace.
So trust our Good Shepherd to lead us beside the still waters, to restore our souls, and take us through to the other side. HE is with you, HE is FOR you, whom shall you fear?? ❤ [Romans 8:31-39]
Romans 8:31-39 (Phillips)
31-32 In face of all this, what is there left to say? If God is for us, who can be against us? He that did not hesitate to spare his own Son but gave him up for us all—can we not trust such a God to give us, with him, everything else that we can need?
33-34 Who would dare to accuse us, whom God has chosen? The judge himself has declared us free from sin. Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us!
35-36 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, pain or persecution? Can lack of clothes and food, danger to life and limb, the threat of force of arms? Indeed some of us know the truth of the ancient text: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter’.
37 No, in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through him who has proved his love for us.
38-39 I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord!
We are so blessed. ❤
My best “before and after” pics so far.
In the past two years, I have gone from 324 lbs and a size 26, down 155 lbs (100 lbs of this in a 120 day INTENSIVE window of time) to a BMI healthy weight of 169 lbs (so far) and a size 8.
I was at one point on 16 different prescriptions, including multiple inhalers, had chronic fatigue and pain issues, recurring pneumonia, sometimes serious digestive issues (I thought this was normal for everyone!), breathing and heart-racing issues, cyclical migraines, hormonal imbalances, systemic yeast infection, and bad skin issues, to say nothing of my depression and purposelessness –
I didn’t even know that my core belief was that I was not “worth” saving.
In spite of a 4 month window where I had to have spinal surgery, I have not gained back any of the 155 lbs I have so far lost, and I am HEALED of almost all my issues.
Now – NO pneumonia, NO remaining prescriptions, NO fatigue pain issues, my menstrual cycle has been 4 weeks regular for over a year (first time in my whole LIFE!) and only “normal” cramping (instead of the excessive, debilitating pain to which I had grown accustomed), and more than one medical professional has told me I have a heart “conditioned like a runner’s” .. and I have energy like never before, and clarity of thinking.
ALL because of GRACE. ALL because we have a GOOD FATHER in God who gives generously to all who ask for wisdom, without finding fault.
ALL because God gave me a vision of what he had MADE me to be. ALL because He introduced me to my best friend who “just so happened” to be a fitness/nutritionist who faithfully encouraged me for YEARS beforehand to do the HARD thing, to be prepared to “pay in pain” because I didn’t get to my state overnight, a friend who would ultimately give me the tool I needed to succeed, and teach me to use it! ALL because He led me to the godly woman who would also be my wellness coach to deal with all the mental/spiritual mess I was in that led to my morbid obesity in the first place. ALL because He wanted to SET ME FREE from my mental and physical food addictions. ALL because he wanted to strip away the WASTE I had made of my life, and make me NEW. Again. 🙂
He is GOOD.
I have made a TERRIBLE mistake.
The other night, I was up late, browsing online, and I stumbled onto a little tip from an otherwise reputable journalist concerning signing up for one of these “online survey” sites where you can get PAID to offer your OPINION. Which for someone like me – with approximately as many opinions as I take breaths in a day – this sounds like a dream come true, right?
At last, over an hour into clicking here and clicking there, I am tired and it’s well past midnight, and I realize I’ve submitted my email address to half a dozen or so sites, completely awash with the foggy delight of possibly making a few dollars out of those extra minutes I “waste” by wandering around online any given day.
And then I woke up the next morning.
In less than 24 hours I was ‘bot-blasted with hundreds of spam-like emails and over 20 phone calls to my cell phone for weight loss and educational offers – Oy! and to make matters worse, I had GUARDED against giving out my number for precisely the fear of landing in various telemarketing schemes that I would never be able to un-domino once the first piece was knocked over. And with every escalating argument with a caller, and every half dozen new email “opportunities” from which I had to “unsubsubscribe” – the cumulative effect being the loss of HOURS of my time pooper scooping – HOURS for which I received precisely ZERO redemptive dollars, by the way – I could only keep hearing in my head the mantra of “Stupid Stupid Stupid Girl!”
I had brought this mess on myself in a moment of weakness. And I couldn’t even really be justified in getting mad at these people – or the “system” I am so prone to rail against – because I had VIRTUALLY (literally) INVITED them into my world.
I allowed a tiny promise to deceive me into thinking I could “redeem” my wasted TIME, and it cost me far MORE in wasted time than I could have spent in all my online traffic in ten times as many days.
EVERY decision, whether it concerns the spending of a MINUTE or the spending of a DOLLAR, has consequences.
I am reaping what I sowed.
I must remember to view each of these things – my minutes, my dollars, my words, too – as SEEDS. If I am more intentional about what I SOW, and if I am more attentive to the GUARDING of the field in which I am planting, I can have realistic CONFIDENCE about precisely what I will harvest and that my Produce will be healthy and nourishing in due season.
What a painful little reminder. I am going to be cleaning up this mess for many days to come. Here’s hoping that is the worst of my consequences. 😉
PS – Related, here is a sermon by Pastor Chuck Stanley on Reaping and Sowing you might appreciate. ❤
I haven’t quite gotten back into the groove of blogging, as you can see – Most of my updates are in short bursts via Twitter, because it’s much like “bullet pointing” and I like the challenge of forcing my thoughts into a SUCCINCT format – being an otherwise naturally VERBOSE person … *coughcough*
So I will share a couple of my latest tweets, again, here, but with a LITTLE bit of commentary attached:
- Ur spouse is not ur be all & end all; u SHARE life, u BUILD life together. Nurture ur own gifts/interests so u HAVE something 2share!
- Better the couple who MISS each other from time2time than the couple who is bored with – or worse, loathe each other. Hv strong friendships.
- Each spouse shd hv their own friends, but they must “keep the foxes out of the vineyard.” Agree on boundaries w/others “outside” &KEEP them.
It is so tempting to view your “significant other” as the WHOLE of your existence – we want to get lost in the other person, we want to set our lives in orbit around them, and love songs since forever have praised these passions as though they are the hallmark of true love. I do actually beg to differ – in fact, I suspect the ferocity of my emotion might just mean I’m making you the object of my obsession, of my “worship,” putting you in the place of expecting you to meet all my emotional needs, etc. These expectations unchecked will DESTROY the very person meant to be Beloved!
In the blaze of any given moment, these depths of emotion can be INTOXICATING, oh I know! When you love the other person SO intensely that you want to feel every fiber of their being wrapped up in your own; like there is no way you can physically be close enough, so you press into each other, you want to spend every waking minute with each other – to the falling away of all other life responsibilities and interests and tasks, etc. May I humbly suggest – there is a point at which you can make the other person almost like your drug-of-choice; you want to feel those emotions all the time .. to the despising of all other kinds of “emotions” or life pursuits.
Sometimes distance will separate, sometimes life responsibilities will require your focus, sometimes your Beloved WILL “fail” to “meet your needs” and you will fail to meet his/hers. None of these things need derail the confidence of love’s genuineness. Recent circumstances in my world have caused me to revisit this truth – If we are each about our own “business” – if we are each being faithful with God’s calling on our lives, in any given moment, it is not inconceivable that we will have seasons where we are kept from being with each other as we would like. This need not be a death knell to the relationship – MISSING one another, LONGING for one another – it’s an opportunity to reevaluate whether our affections and expectations have gotten jostled out of balance, and to ask myself “Am I seeking more to be ‘served’ than to ‘serve’? to BE ‘loved’ more than to ‘love’?”
“But he’s not meeting my emotional needs! He doesn’t love me anymore! He doesn’t love me enough! IF he loved me, he’d … [fill in the blank] …”
Oh, sweetheart, if you feel greater NEED to be loved, that’s often when you most need to reach out and SHOW love. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Sign up to sing with the church worship team this month. Work in the nursery. Pick up a project you’ve been neglecting for the past few months. Ask your Beloved how you can encourage and help him/her, see if there is something you can do to meet HIS/HER “emotional need” and do so without the expectation of reciprocation.
And when you feel heartsick over missing him, remind yourself – It truly IS better to be missing one another, because you haven’t been able to spend the time with one another that you wish, than to otherwise resent one another for being too [emotionally] demanding, or to be bored with one another because you don’t each have your own life tasks and friendships to SHARE with one another when you come together once again.
.. and I’ll be a fly on my own wall. ❤
Loss of certainty in some dearly held convictions proved 2be traumatizing 2me, but tho much was stripped away, Christ appears more glorious!
have we made an “idol” of certainty? at what point do we move from questioning to conviction?
I was askd what convictions hv been stripped away? 1st would be the importance of “believing rightly” vs. trusting God 2grow &preserve me.
Another…my singleness-perpetuating beliefs re what biblical masculine headship should look like. NO man could’v lived up 2my expectations!
I used 2b quite apathetic about the history of certain “heretics” being burned at the stake. Now I find these “church” rulings OFFENSIVE!
Another stripped away conviction: my past love of theological argument 2get 2the “TRUTH!” & now I find such things divisive &OFTEN grievous.
Piggyback 2last – the degree 2which Christians separate from one another over fine points of disagreement now WOUNDS me.
Took me over 30 years of my Christian walk 2realize that verse “Mercy triumphs over judgment” is not just a guideline, but TRUTH 2b LIVED.
YES relationship w/God is necessarily founded on his WORD, but we don’t HEAR his voice only by academic excellence. We hear with our SPIRIT.
Christ was FULL of Grace AND Truth. I’v erred on side of Truth but now that I hv recd Grace, I hv to admit I CANT always “know.”
I once mocked so-called 7/11 songs (same 7 words 11x) – now I realize this musically gets SELF out of way &invites Gods PRESENCE in worship!
I hv “sat in the seat of scoffers” .. it’s 1 thing 2 “bark @ the dogs” .. sometimes harsh words fit. But more often, I was exalting myself.
“I believe that many professing Christians are cold and uncomfortable because they are doing nothing for their Lord; but if they actively served him, their blood would begin to circulate spiritually, and it would be well with them.”
read this quote, today: “Most of the teaching on love in the church centers on loving God or other people. Very little of it talks about loving ourselves. We have been taught how to subjugate ourselves, but not how to love ourselves without being selfish. Loving ourselves out of our soul is selfish; loving ourselves because of what God has done in our spirit is beautiful. Some of us have never learned that distinction.” ~Graham Cooke
I responded thusly: “I see what you’re trying to get at, here, but I humbly beg to differ because of these things, biblically speaking: a) Jesus did *not* command us to “love ourselves” as that was already presumed, and is more often talked about in Scripture as the root of our PROBLEM, namely that we love/seek-after ourselves too much, b) this idea of “loving” ourselves IS taught very MUCH in the modern church (it’s not a “neglected doctrine”!), though I’ll grant that no distinction is often made with regard to what you describe as “loving ourselves because of what God has done in our spirit,” BUT I daresay, c) this “distinction” – while attempting to hit on a real truth, is nevertheless a false distinction, because the truth is that when we LOVE GOD for who he is and what he has done in spite of the fact we are “unlovable” in our fallen state (while we were yet his enemies), the FRUIT of this loving God *does* produce a supernatural ability in us to NOT LOATHE ourselves, because of grace. But “not loathing” (or let’s call this “accepting” ourselves BECAUSE of the work God has done to redeem, and HE has MADE us acceptable) is NOT the same thing as “loving” ourselves, but instead we are commanded to DIE to ourselves, and I think THIS is in fact the distinction that most of the modern church is missing…..”
see the so-called “proof” text for the presumed command to “love” ourselves, but the command is NOT to love self, but to love OTHERS:
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Romans 12:3, 9-10
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Dear friends, let us love ONE ANOTHER as Christ commands and as HE enables by the power of his Holy Spirit. Let us love in the way HE has loved us, and as the FRUIT of our loving HIM first with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength!
God help us be discerning, and help us truly “die” to ourselves in keeping with the Gospel of your grace, NOT that we loathe ourselves for sin, because that also denies your GRACE, and the fact you have RESCUED us from ourselves!, but rather that we simply have our gaze so fixed on YOU! (Heb. 12:1-3) that our ability to look our ourselves too long – whether for love or hate or anything in between – would grow strangely dim in the light of your glory and grace!
Reflecting on Fear vs. Faith ~ some more recent tweets.
- There is no place in the kingdom of God for ANY fear other than the fear of the Lord. As that is the beginning of true wisdom, its fruit is “perfect love” which CASTS OUT ALL OTHER FEAR.
- Fear of God, the beginning of wisdom, is the BIRTHPLACE of Faith. But any other fear is an ENEMY of Faith, exposing IDOLS in our hearts.
- We knowingly &UNknowingly become SLAVES 2being thought well of by others & make costly sacrifices 2obtain their good opinions. #FEAROFMAN
- Scripture tells us the Righteous walk by FAITH not sight. When we “fear” the unknown, we expose a heart idol: I wish I were “god” of my own life! That is the true “original sin.”
- “Faith” is not blind bravery. Faith comes by hearing the WORD OF GOD. Do u feel afraid? anxious/worried? My rule 4myself: “Flee 2the Word!”
- [progression of YIELDING] …. I THINK I CAN! -> I thought I could -> I think I can’t -> I know I can’t! -> I think He would? -> I think He can! -> I KNOW HE WILL!
I think there is a future book in these reflections….