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.
or a Foolish approach to a (nevertheless) Genuine desire to serve Christ?
I have learned of a family (2 parents, 4 children all under age of 10) “raising support” for a so-called 6-week missions trip to Africa to the tune of $30,000…a trip during which they MIGHT be helping this ministry to do some construction, and they MIGHT be teaching vacation Bible school to some local children, that is IF they are allowed in, and if not, well – this ministry would just enjoy the family’s company as they visit, so would you please make your checks payable to Family-Dad/Husband by such and such date….
WHAT?? I do not see anything of the Spirit of God in this! – NO calling, NO clear direction, NO confidence that the Lord has prepared the way for the declaration of his word, NO “transparency” as far as the ethics of raising that kind of sum, NOT EVEN a way to have spiritual oversight for the trip? such as would be required to raise money through AT LEAST a sending church?, and an up-front resignation to the fact this may just be a 6-week vacation, basically, for their family of six, and so, would y’all be so kind as to fund it for them?? I will be so bold as to cry: Fraud and veritable Embezzlement in the name of Christ!! (My boldness comes, too, in part for knowing some of the family dynamic, here….)
I find this intolerable!! (and an OFFENSE to my heart, for Christ’s sake!)
So, I hope I have advised my friend wisely – I have directed him to follow the pattern set forth in Matthew 18:15-20 – Approach your “brother” whom you believe to be in sin, openly (humbly) asking questions so you are able to DISCERN if this is just foolishness or willful selfishness; offer either confrontation of sin, or wisdom to correct the folly, and if your “brother” remains unteachable and unsubmissive to the Spirit of Christ, involve a mediator – In this case, I suggested my friend seek the input, then, of your family’s elder in your church, perhaps ask some more questions to gain additional discernment, and approach your “brother” again with the elder present. If your “brother” still remains unteachable and unsubmissive to the Spirit of Christ, be prepared, because this may need to be brought publicly before the whole church – especially if your “brother” has sent this “support” letter to other members w/o the Leadership’s knowledge/approval/support, and is therefore potentially sinning against (stealing from!) the whole Body.
Oh, God help us, we are ALL of us foolish at times. Sure enough! And I hope, by GRACE, that if I were so publicly zealous in my folly (before God, I am sure I have been, at times!) that I would be approached lovingly and carefully by a brother/sister in Christ to at least seek out my motivation, discern my heart, and offer counsel if not correction. And if I were so “foolish” to SIN blatantly in this way, I would hope for Christ’s sake! that someone would intervene that I might not bring such shame to the cause of Christ.
But still? And failing all other intervention? I pray that God, by his GRACE, would nevertheless cover ALL of our own foolishness and sinfulness with the blood of Christ and STILL bring about some good for his Glory, that we might nevertheless say with the Apostle Paul – imprisoned and bad-mouthed by other “preachers” of the Gospel, and exactly in a situation when we might expect him to “defend” himself and rebuke the nay-sayers/abusers – in Philippians 1:12-21 ~
They Can’t Imprison the Message
12-14 I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
15-17 It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.
18-21 So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.
Glory to God! and Help us all, in JESUS’ name….
some recent reflections:
@Grace2Grow: The real maturing of the Christian doesn’t occur in seminaries as if by mere intellectual education ~ it occurs by living w/in the community of a flawed but redeemed church Body, loving &patiently forbearing, &laying down ur life for another.
@Grace2Grow: GOSPEL life isn’t mere rigorous doctrinal study; rather, it’s COMMUNION w/God, worshipping in Spirit &Truth, necessarily communing w/others who r also united w/God by his Spirit, together growing 2loathe what God loathes, love what he loves, & live as he lives.
@Grace2Grow: We hv 2long cultivated a sloppy acceptance of “truth” as that which is handed to us as tasty, sugary morsels prepared by others. We cannot now expect to have the necessary capacity to examine and test and discern having so long left these thoughtful disciplines to atrophy. And how can we then complain if we discover we have been deceived?
@Grace2Grow: GOSPEL life isn’t merely loving one another as Christ has loved us, though that might arguably be the fullest expression of it. The TRUTH that undergirds it is the very GOSPEL work of Jesus, itself. Had he not pursued us when we were yet his enemies, &died as a ransom 4our souls 2reconcile us 2God, &were we 2remain ignorant of &cut off from this ROOT, there could be no FRUITFUL Love.
…One of the books I am currently reading is E.Metaxas’s biography of BONHOEFFER. It is … touching me DEEPLY. I’ve always admired Bonhoeffer from afar, but now find him as admirable a man as I have never known, and one whose story is very fit for our own time. The above reflections spring from some of the real-life lessons he learned and would teach on. This book captures well these themes, and works them out in a way that I feel is having a very formative effect on the trajectory of my own life. If you can manage the time, I highly recommend the read ~ you may find it easier to tackle in “audiobook” format. 😉
Continuation of thoughts from previous post:
….It is a battle no one but God knows you’re fighting. And possibly no other human will ever value, because they view you as foolish….You’re the butt of nearly every joke!
Yet it’s one battle more intimately tied to your walk w/God than perhaps any other, because our “sexuality” is a proclamation of the very nature of God himself….
So you keep turning away from TV, billboards, conversations, checkout lanes, commercials, books, movies, even friends….maybe even family. Without any “praise,” but the Proverbs 31 woman (as an example to me) does GOOD to her husband and not harm, ALL the days of her life. Even before she has met him.
And if she never meets him? She has honored God with her body; and tended the garden of her heart and mind….
I remind myself it is not a Lonely thing if the garden is the Lord’s.
It is so tempting to despair of sexual purity in this culture of pornographic, animalistic reductionism which gives sex value only as it pertains to parts and bits and physical pleasure divorced from any genuine Love or self-sacrifice.
Masculinity and femininity are reduced to lines and curves and textures, to heat and wetness and odor….These things pervade even the most innocuous aspects of our “Entertainment” so anyone striving for purity is nevertheless infected. And any sense of the Sacred feels completely lost.
How do we get back from the place where sex is our god? How do we rescue our marriages? How can anyone compete with the allure of self-exaltation and no consequences….how can purity ever be seen as beautiful again? how can the tainted ever be made pure again?
Our best wine has been mingled with blood.
God, please save us from ourselves!
I was scoffed at, recently, by a guy friend after I noticed a porn DVD sitting out on his DVD player. He made no move to cover it so I wouldn’t have to look at it; he laughed at me for believing there might be men who really would strive to live pure lives. He asked what I was gonna do when I find my boyfriend’s or husband’s stash, as if it was a given.
…I grew up the daughter of a godly man who wasn’t perfect, sure, but in this area, he went out of his way to avoid even underwear commercials on TV and the magazine row of grocery checkout aisles. Pre internet, pre VCR or DVD players in our home….yes, I believe it’s possible.
Rare, but possible!!
My friend? Says I’ll be proved wrong; that it’s normal behavior….for him and the men in his life, I don’t doubt it. I don’t doubt it for most of the women in his world for that matter….and I admire (!) men and women who aspire to purity in our sex-crazed culture. Not easy at all! But here was this DVD, covered w/headless young girls’ bodies….Thank God my friend is not a dad! How can a man not ruin his pure love for his own children if he’s filling his mind’s eye with other men’s children to fulfill his sexual fantasies?
Is my friend right? There is no such thing as victory in this area of ubiquitous temptation? How to guard against it? Moreover, how does a person exercise grace and forgiveness toward their spouse (maybe even the spouse they don’t yet know) while still encouraging them to strive for “holiness” – which, btw, is NOT the same thing as pruddishness, rather is “setting apart” intimacy for the context for which it was made, between only a husband and wife….
Mark Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” series is helpful in exploring this further, as well as his “Peasant Princess” series from a few years ago…..why rant on FB (and now on this blog) in the middle of the night about all this? I’m … disillusioned and saddened and tempted and horrified and … maybe just a little bit afraid my friend is right to scoff at my naivety. So, I choose to
cling to grace, instead. ….
After all, there was a Joseph recorded in Genesis (see Ch.39, and esp. v. 9) who ran from blatant temptation, seeing it for what it was, a sin against God. Not just his own body, or the woman attempting to seduce him, and not just her husband! but God.
Would that I would be so aware of and quick to flee my temptations for Christ’s sake!!