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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.  ❤

*********

  • 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

… For Thou Art With Me

fear no evil

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]

~Leah

———-

The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want

the lord is my shepherd

———-

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 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.
****
~ 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

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

Reflecting on Fear vs. Faith

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….

 

Be Blessed!

~Leah

 

Like Paul

I LOVE HOW SCRIPTURE gives us background on the life of Paul, New Testament apostle of the Gospel which was to both Jews and Gentiles, making “one” of “two” and “many.” Radically transformed from murderer and religious zealot, chief of the order of Pharisees the likes of which Jesus scathingly rebuked during his earthly ministry, Paul was a highly educated man with at least a dual citizenship which God would use later in his life to spare his life more than once. Paul was knocked to the ground by a literally blinding, brilliant encounter with the Risen Jesus, a man with a scholar’s mind and, once converted, a pastor’s heart. He went from slaughtering the people of God to *shepherding* them, with boldness in confronting sin, and adamant reassurances of the promises of God. Clinging to the Word! Clothed in the righteousness of Christ! He was a man with his eyes FIXED on Jesus, and a heart and life DEVOTED to seeing people transformed by the grace of God. THIS is a godly man.
(see especially Acts ch. 9 and ch. 17 ~ if you have time, read the 2nd half of Acts as records most of Paul’s missionary journies. He also authored the majority of the books of the NT, so you could take time to read more of his instruction to the churches (called “epistles” which means “letters”) and concerning the Word of God in such books as Romans, 1st and 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1st and 2nd Timothy, and more.)

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)

Building Myself Up in the Lord!

Today has been a very TRYING day! … Calling to mind bits from Ps. 37 (NKJV mixed w/a little of The Message) to keep my mind stayed on HIM who is my Source and my Strength, and my Protection, and my BELOVED!

“…Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land and feed on HIS faithfulness!….Open up before God, keep nothing back…Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light….Quiet down before God, be prayerful before Him….Do not fret – it only causes harm….Bridle your anger…Those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth!….THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH, AND SHALL DELIGHT THEMSELVES IN THE ABUNDANCE OF PEACE!”

Ah, thank you, Lord!! ♥

“…A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked…the Lord upholds the righteous. The Lord knows the days of the upright, and their inheritance shall be forever…The wicked are moral weaklings, but the righteous are God-strong…They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of FAMINE they shall be SATISFIED!…In hard times, they’ll hold their heads high; when the shelves are bare, they’ll be FULL!…The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand!…The Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved FOREVER!….”

“The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice….[He] chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone, rolls virtue around on his tongue. His heart pumps God’s Word like blood through his veins!…None of his steps shall slide….Wait on the Lord, and keep His way….Wait passionately for God, don’t leave the path. He’ll give you your place in the sun while you watch the wicked lose it….Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for THE FUTURE OF THAT ONE IS PEACE!…The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; HE IS THEIR STRENGTH IN THE TIME OF TROUBLE. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them….And save them, because they trust in Him!…The spacious, free life is from God, it’s also protected and safe. God-strengthened, we’re delivered from evil – when we run to HIM, He saves us!”

Is My Brother Sinning? or just Foolish?

Christian Embezzlement?

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 ~

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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.

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Glory to God!  and Help us all, in JESUS’ name….

~Leah