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When Selflessness isn’t so Selfless

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.

*sigh*

Thank God he is GRACIOUS and loves to direct us for our own good.  ❤

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  • 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!

tearing-hair-out-2

  • 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.

Blessings!

~Leah

Transformation Tuesday

20150410_185557-1before circa 2012

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.

~Leah

My bio ~ a work in progress <3

Leah Page graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, and considers herself a forever-student at heart, especially of the Word of God. She has worked in various forms of professional Customer Service for over 16 years, from Mortgages and Banking to Automotive Plastics, and values most the opportunity to mediate and problem-solve. Leah is actively involved with the Assemblies of God Church in Baldwin, MI, and has served over the years, in varying roles, from Women’s Bible Study Leader to Choir Director to Worship Leading to teaching Sunday School to working faithfully in the Nursery. She loves being an Aunt and Sister and Daughter and Friend and Coworker, and loves to read just about anything she can put her hands on.
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Over the past two years, Leah has been on a transformative journey.  Having spent her entire adult life morbidly obese, Leah found herself chronically ill with recurring pneumonia, complications from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), chronic pain and fatigue, and eventually dependence on a cane just to walk up to her 2nd floor bedroom.  At one point, she was on 16 different prescriptions to try to manage her symptoms, and struggled with sometimes debilitating depression.  But God intervened, and caused her to see this was not HIS plan for her.  Through the constant encouragement of a dear friend who would later also take on the role of a personal trainer, Leah embraced a radical, rigorous plan that would enable her to finally lay hold of the vision of the woman GOD had made her to be.  Leah has, to date, lost 150 lbs since her starting point of 324 lbs, and has dropped from a size 26 to a size 8.  She is still a work in progress, but she has been able to wean off of ALL of her prescriptions, eats healthfully and has built regular visits to the gym into her lifestyle.  As she shed her excess weight, she found that she had to shed much more.  Her weight was not the root problem, but in fact a symptom of a greater issue, something she says only the LORD could heal.  Her testimony is ultimately one of discovering that God’s GRACE is enough.
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~ I have provided the above for a couple of upcoming speaking events to talk about my recent transformation.  I will post again once I have had opportunity to synthesize my thoughts for these meetings, and offer a summary of what I mean by God’s GRACE is enough!  Your prayers are appreciated!  ❤

Depression POINTS To Something More

@Grace2Grow: ‪#‎Depression‬ comes in MANY forms & 4varieties of reasons. For me one big issue: I perceive on an “intuitive” level &struggle 2identify ROOT.

* In fight against #Depression I PREACH 2myself: ‪#‎faith‬ = often NOT understanding. Still, God is pleasd I believ him when I dont FEEL like it.

* #Depression is very real for ALL, tho we like 2deny it. Perhaps bcuz #faith is supposed 2cureall. ‪#‎Jesus‬ IS our hope ESPEC in midst of fire.

* #Depression usually manifests when I’v tried 2TAKE OVR some aspect of my life – 2MAKE sumthin happen. ‪#‎EvidenceImNotYielding2SpiritsLeading‬.

* #Depression is not ALWAYS an indication of a lack of surrender. Sumtimes there’s grief that invades &drowns the voice of Hope. ‪#‎TheGoodFight‬

* More than ever Im persuaded that HOPE gives birth 2FAITH. So when Im battling #Depression I must actively HUNT 4voice of HOPE 2find LIFE.

* My experience = I can “feel” when weight of a #Depression (oppression) lifts. &Always this comes after I express my longing heart in prayer.

* I can KNOW I must pray & give my “groanings” 2God as an offering, BUT in midst of pain it feels like THE most impossible thing! #Depression

* It helps 2make a literal ‪#‎notetoself‬, even a tweet: God is faithful, our feelings lie, #Depression does NOT last forever, our ‪#‎HOPE‬ is sure!

Be BLESSED, Beloved ❤

~Leah

A Broken Windshield to Heal

I won’t go into too much detail here, because I don’t want to give cause for a misinterpretation of events; but this little incident was too good not to share.  Stay tuned for one tiny peek at an unplanned and unexpected but very welcome Redemptive Moment.  🙂

I WAS FIRED.

I was fired.  Yep – not from my present job, but the job I had before.  It’s been nearly 8 years since I went through very rough waters with a former employer, both sides feeling justified in a growing distrust and mutual dissatisfaction, and a painful ordeal that was only survived with some grace because of a gracious mediator who walked us through the transition that would ultimately lead to me training my own replacement.

This was a life-altering experience for me – not just because it was so devastating to not be believed, not be trusted, and feel I had NO earthly way to rectify the opinions of others, but mainly because this was a small family owned business, and these were people I had known for YEARS before working there, had gone to CHURCH with them, had what I thought was a loving relationship with them and their kids outside any workplace association.  Yet in the months when everything unraveled and in the subsequent mutual parting of ways, everything in our friendship and association also vanished.

MEMORY IS A TRICKY THING.

From what I understand – and please, I’m not a scientist, so let’s just chalk this up to being a bit of an internet and news junkie – our brains RE-remember every time we visit a “memory,” and HOW we perceive is fluid, always changing – almost as if the memories themselves are living things – and yet our CONVICTIONS about what we remember are equally as strong in the 10th telling (which for some people will be much more varied from the first telling than others) even if the content (unbeknownst to us) may differ in significant ways.

Perhaps that’s a good argument for keeping a journal – provided we can be trusted to recount events honestly to ourselves, which sometimes may be a big “if.”  🙂

As for me?  Here?  I remember more the emotions, the hurt, the suspicion, or the anger – even the fury – sometimes directed at me.  I remember returning some of the same.  Present emotions often register as shame, regret, sorrow, that wishful longing that things had been different, that I had DONE things differently.

A BROKEN WINDSHIELD TO HEAL.

By happenstance, my car recently suffered (another) windshield injury.  I looked up a repair shop online, not fully registering the location of the address, and mistakenly assessing it to be closer to my job for a quick lunch visit.  In fact, this shop was several miles away, in the neighborhood of my previous place of employment.  And I arrived to learn my windshield was non-repairable – I would have to reschedule for another visit to have the whole thing replaced.  So by happenstance *ahem* I found myself with some time to kill before going back to work, AND within just a couple blocks of this place which attaches to so many significant negative (but growth-inducing) emotions.

So I decided to drop in for a visit.

And I found that the son has since bought the business from his parents, the wife (daughter-in-law) now manages the main office and the books, and though the mom no longer works there, the dad still weaves in and around the office, cheerfully advertising, don’t you know, that the KFC founder didn’t really get his business feet under him till he was 80 years old, so there!

I found that the gal who had replaced me was years gone, and the gal I had replaced more years before was now working there again.  I found that the business had weathered the economic downturn seemingly well, and that the gracious mediator I had hoped to revisit had resigned just a few months before to pursue more missions-minded work in another city.  How fitting.  🙂

There was shock expressed over how much weight I’ve lost (they all knew me at my unhealthiest), there was curiosity about the house I’ve recently purchased, my now living near my sister so many miles away from my current job, and the nearly 8 years I’ve now been with the same employer.  We visited about changes in our church experiences, changes in our country, and in short how the years mature us .. if we let them.  🙂

There were smiles, even a few hugs, and they let me wander out back until I found the 80+ year old dad lifting his face to soak up a little sun behind the shop, enjoying a quiet smoke break, standing just exactly as I remember him .. I got to visit with him for a few minutes, and … was that “relief” spreading over his face?  To learn that I was now in such a good place, healthy and happy and well cared for …. I left well-wishes for everyone, and asked the dad to take a love greeting to his wife, my former boss, too.

Then another round of hugs and affirmations for the healing time can minister, and we all marveled once again at how .. Paths can cross and sever, but God is still God of us all, and – for those who will humbly yield to it – his grace is greater than what we allow to divide ….

I think I will never again feel as much GRATITUDE as I did that day for a badly timed rock bouncing on the freeway on my commute to work.  😉  Miracles can spring forth from the most unlikely of places, don’t you know.

And just for the record, I don’t believe in “happenstance.”  😉

Be blessed!

~Leah

After a Long Absence

This has been a very challenging year – To anyone who has dropped by and happened to miss me, thank you! and I’m back!

Two BIG changes in the past year – I lost over 130 lbs, and I bought my first house to move closer to family.

I hope to post much more in coming updates of the things the Lord has taught me in both of these journeys, and others.  Perhaps the most profound has been in the area of learning where to set and maintain proper “boundaries” in my life, as well as identifying areas where I had set up “strongholds” which ensnared me and led to my imprisonment in my own body – some of these things the Lord was already beginning to work on in me in months before, and you can probably see those themes in previous posts.  I should go back and re-read, and perhaps that will inspire additional commentary.

For now, hello.  😉  Please stay tuned.  😉

God bless!

~Leah

Rescued from Self-Loathing!

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…..”

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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:

Matthew 22:34-40

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Now when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced (muzzled) the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of their number, a lawyer, asked Him a question to test Him. Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light—which are heavy?] And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.

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another often used “proof” text is Ephesians 5:23-30 where the Apostle Paul talks about how a husband loves his wife “as his own body” ~ the “presumption” again is that we love/care for ourselves, but people take this to be further “command” to love ourselves, but in context, the command is to husbands to love their wives (someone OTHER than themselves).

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and below is the actual command from Jesus concerning dying to, or “denying” of our self ~ which is opposite of what is typically taught in most of today’s churches (and more in keeping with loving OTHERS over self):

Matthew 16:24-26

Amplified Bible (AMP)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?
see also:

Romans 12:3, 9-10

Amplified Bible (AMP)

For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.   ….   [Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good. Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another.

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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!

~Leah

Conviction? or Condemnation?

What follows below are some of my recent “tweets” ~ especially reflecting on the difference between “Godly sorrow” which leads to life, and “worldly sorrow” which leads to death.  I have found that one of the greatest confusions in my life has been to differentiate between when this feeling of “depression” is because of CONVICTION? (ie, from the Holy Spirit, because of some sin, and something of which I need to repent to be restored into right fellowship with my GOOD FATHER and others w/in the Body of Christ (my family and the Church)), or CONDEMNATION? (ie, an ATTACK from the enemy, trying to persuade me that I am worthless or so offensive to God that I couldn’t possibly be forgiven, etc.)  … Before chewing on my tweets, please read this Scripture from the Apostle Paul to the church at Corinth, following a rebuke he had given them, and in response to which they DID evidently repent and were restored both to right thinking and fellowship about and with God, and with each other and Paul as their pastor…..

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8 For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. 9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 11 For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you.  (2 Cor. 7:8-12 NKJV)

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  • What we are so quick 2call Depression may in fact be the Lord working 4our humility &sanctification! Ain’t nobody “happy” about dying 2self!
  • Do u feel trappd by ur sin? as if u cant do the right u wish u would? (Rom 7) Check ur affections &appetites; start w/where u spend ur time.
  • Circumstances of life are always testing our perseverance, our hearts/minds (increasingly more like Christ?), our walk in his peace, et al.
  • We may be 2quick 2placate or “medicate” our griefs, not realizing that mourning life’s losses INVITES God 2b our very present Comforter.
  • “Better 2go 2the house of mourning than 2the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, &the living will take it 2heart…” Ecc. 7:2
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1Leads 2Repentance & LIFE, the other 2Despairing Unfruitfulness.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1 is authored by a Loving Holy Father, the other only sees Self.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1speaks sweet HOPE &promise, the other of failure &falling away.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1clings to the WORD of God 4RESCUE, the other wallows w/o faith.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1points 2Christ who CLEANSES, the other LIES “u can’t be clean!”
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1 = confession&RESTORATION! the other = hiding &self-mutilation.
  • Conviction &Condemnation are 2very different states of sorrow 4a Christian. 1gives way 2rejoicing &FREEDOM, the other 2wailing &bondage.

Blessings!

~Leah

For Further Study….

Two Unrelated Topics??

Well, a conversation with a friend about “speaking in tongues” has naturally progressed into a discussion on biblical masculinity and femininity because of “headship” and “submission” ~ I did not predict this course! haha! (if you’re interested, check out 1 corinthians 11-14, romans 12, jude 1, 1 timothy 2-3, 1 peter 3, genesis 2-3, ephesians 4-5 ~ all of which are making appearance in this discussion. see if you can spot the connections in these two topics?)

aka #ilovethedeependofthepool ♥

Here’s a link to ALL of the above texts in one spot for your convenience 😉

Blessings!

~Leah

Like Joseph

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE paints the portrait of Joseph, in the Old Testament. We meet him as a zealous young man, the apple of his father’s eye, who is, as a teen, abused, beaten and abandoned by his brothers, sold into grueling slavery, falsely accused of rape, wrongly convicted and sentenced to years in prison ~ yet at every downward turn, Joseph rises up to moral victory, to positions of authority even within the confines of his captivity, and ultimately is used by God to save nations because he yielded his life to walking as one LED by (listening to and being quick to obey!) the Spirit of God. Joseph sees GOD as the one to whom he answers, and GOD as the one who ultimately orchestrates all events so that even evil is used to bring about His good purposes. His faith is characterized by confident expectation, and his life by sexual purity and servant leadership; and Joseph uses his position of authority in a way that is “wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove,” even forgiving his own abusers (!) and laying foundation for genuine reconciliation when he sees his brothers have truly changed. THIS is a godly man.
(read Genesis chapters 37-50, especially 39:7-10, and 50:15-21)