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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

I Deserve to Not Be Inconvenienced

I deserve to not be inconvenienced.

If you are driving too slowly, I deserve the right of way – you should pull over, or better yet, get off the road because nobody who drives too slowly should be allowed to continue to renew their license.

If you are taking too long to tell your story, whether in person or on the phone, I deserve to not only walk away from or hang up on you, but to do so without any negative feeling from you in response.

On the other hand, if you become distracted while I am telling you one of my all-important but protracted stories, I have a right to become angry and indignant and to express to you all the ways in which your lack of attention has hurt me deeply.

If your incompetence is causing me extra work, nevermind that I am in the “service” industry, I deserve to point out your failings, loudly and in front of others if possible, so as to make it clear that I have been wildly wronged and should in no way be held responsible for my own suffering productivity.

If you post something to social media with which I disagree, I deserve the top billing in the newsfeed to castigate you and express with vehemence my strict opposition, even if I’m expressing myself in the most extreme terms and verbiage which might cause me regret if I were to re-visit the topic when I might be more sober-minded.

If I suddenly feel I do not wish to keep our previously confirmed plans, I deserve – whatever my reasons – the freedom and authority to completely bail on you to do my own thing, or failing that option, to simply arrive as late as possible so I can be sure to maximize every minute of my own time with no respect to yours.

If you run a restaurant for which there are many patrons, no matter how excellent your food, I deserve to be bumped ahead of as many of the people in front of me as possible, and I deserve to be waited on by not just any waiter, but by the owner who has arrived on property just in time to receive me properly.

Similarly, if I am running late for the start of my movie, I deserve priority access to the ticket counter – so I can squeeze in ahead of the other dozen people who had the forethought to arrive on time for their shows – before the end of the previews.

If I have been forced to occupy a middle seat on our plane, I deserve your deference to trade places so that you are the uncomfortable one and not me, or else I will penalize you for the duration of our flight with squirming, bouncing, bumping, and even loud, bad-breathy conversation which will cause you to wish you had acquiesced and just given me the aisle seat in the first place.

Need I go on?

HAVE a Life so You Can SHARE Your Life

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.  ❤

~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

Like David

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE is so honest with its “heroes” ~ we see their flaws as well as their faith, as in the case of King David. David wasn’t perfect, but he was quick to repent. David didn’t run from God in his sin, he would receive and yield to the rebuke of God’s Word and turn and run TO God for grace and forgiveness. A man guilty of adultery and murder, he was also a man who loved God and knew God’s covenantal lovingkindness, who poured out his soul to God in worship, who longed to build God’s temple…and instead God told him HE would build DAVID’S “house,” promising an everlasting throne for one of his descendants (Jesus), the Anointed One of God. David was “a man after God’s own heart,” flawed yet faithful, zealous for God’s glory. THIS is a godly man.

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(We meet David in 1 Samuel 16 when he is first anointed to be king, and follow his story through the rest of this book and 2nd Samuel, and the first part of 1 Kings. David also authored the majority of the Psalms and was known as a musician before the Lord. A few key chapters to read:  1 Samuel 17 David and Goliath, 2nd Samuel 7 God’s covenant with David, 2 Sam. 9 David’s grace toward Mephibosheth, a picture of God’s grace towards us, 2 Sam. 11-12 his sin with Bathsheba, Ps. 51 David’s repentance over that sin, Acts 13:20-25 God says David is “a man after my own heart.”)

Like Ruth

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE tells Ruth’s story ~ an “outsider” to the people of God, exiled from her own “unclean” land & people by HER decision to live among the people of God & remain devoted to her widowed mother-in-law. Ruth showed FAITHFULNESS in the face of isolation & poverty because she believed the God of Israel was the one true God, & she was willing to work hard, w/o any recognition, w/o any reward, to serve where HE had placed her. God directed her every step! She ended up working for (“gleaning” in the field of) the very man (Boaz) God had chosen for her “kinsman redeemer,” & God made her beautiful to him & gave him the desire to “fight” for her, protect her, advocate for her, & “raise her up” as a jewel of God’s favor.
Not only is Boaz a picture of Christ, but Ruth in marrying him ultimately becomes part of the lineage of Jesus, the very Messiah to the people of God for whom Ruth was at first an outsider! And she is a forerunner to the Gospel being made available to ALL the nations of the world through Jesus! I *aspire* to be more like Ruth ~ a woman of character, doing whatever she could & whatever she MUST for the sake of loving God & serving those whom he had given her, ultimately trusting HIM with the outcomes of her life, w/o nursing her own “expectations” for how she might think her life should go, but fully yielding to the Lord’s hand, one step at a time. ♥ ♥ ♥
(see the book of Ruth, Leviticus 23:22, and ch. 25, Deuteronomy 25:5-10, and Matthew 1 geneology of Jesus)