Before I began my weight-loss journey, I wrote a dream list called, "Why I Want to Lose Weight." These included things I couldn't do at the time but wanted desperately to be able to do. They seemed like far-fetched dreams.
Something happened when I wrote down my dreams and then spoke them out loud. What I spoke I began to believe could happen. Eventually, I began to see happen and then, one day I realized, I've lost over 260 pounds with God's grace strengthening me.
Why I Want to Lose Weight
I'm a list-maker, and as any good list-maker knows, the best thing about making lists is being able to check things off when they are completed. I'm happy to say I checked off every one of my 101 things. Here are 10 of them.
- Fit in a booth at a restaurant
- Buckle the seatbelt
- Fit in chairs with arms on them
- Exercise without getting tired
- Fit in size medium
- Love my husband with no holds barred
- Speak kindly about myself
- Accept compliments
- Feel my waist
- Love all out
Recently, I did something I thought I'd never do. I started a new list: "Things I Want to Do When I Get Skinny." Getting skinny has never ever been on my mind until God recently showed me how the antithesis of my dream list can be as important as the dream list itself because it can lead to an entirely new dream.
Why Don't You Want To Lose Weight?
It was while I was reading my first dream list that I sensed God say, "That's great. Now, tell me, why don't you want to lose weight?"
I said, "But I have lost weight."
He said, "Not all I've shown you that you will."
I had to agree that He has been talking to me about the 30 more pounds that need to disappear. So I began the list of "Why I Don't Want to Lose Weigh." I began by recalling how I felt prior to going on the extreme weight-loss journey. As I listed those feelings, I mentally checked off the ones that don't matter to me anymore and aren't an issue. That was every single one except the last one.
- It's too hard
- I don't want to give up my favorite foods
- I won't have the resolve to stay with it in social situations
- I'll just lose weight and then gain it back again like I've always done
- I don't want to yo-yo back and forth in my weight
- I just like food too much
- I need my comforts to stay sane
- I need to assuage bad emotions with food because I don't know how else to do it
- It takes too much time to cook healthy
- I don't want to be skinny; I just want to be normal
Why Don't You Want to Be Skinny?
With the last statement, I had my own attention and God's. He said, "Wait. Why don't you want to be skinny? What will happen when you consider yourself skinny?"
I asked God to show me when I first decided I didn't want to be skinny. A situation from high school immediately came into my mind.
One of my beautiful, very thin, Christian friends had gotten pregnant before her senior year in high school. She and her boyfriend were going to elope right after graduation. Her parents didn't approve of him and at the time didn't know she was pregnant. She wasn't planning on telling them because she was sure she would be disowned.
Becoming a Christian Woman
Somehow their plans fell through, because she never returned to class after spring break. The young man went through graduation and was awarded a full-ride football scholarship to his dream university.
Even though she wasn't there, I still felt my friend's devastation, embarrassment and bewilderment. It made me want to never be skinny and beautiful like she was. I saw how she could have avoided this fiasco if she'd just followed the Christian rules we were both taught. It made me mad and sad at the same time.
It also made me feel if I was skinny, pretty and looked good I would wind up not being a good Christian, even if I had a heart for God. At that moment I convinced myself it was in my best interests to be overweight.
For a lot of my growing-up years, my parents were trying to protect me from being wayward. They did a good job of it, but some of it came from instilling fear of what it would mean if I did something that would ban me from wearing the label "good Christian woman," whatever that means.
Wall of Fear
Many times on our journeys, we hit a wall and just can't seem to go forward. Instead of examining the barrier, we run and hide behind it. In this instance, I hit a wall of fear that I would become promiscuous if I lost weight. It was a very unrealistic wall, seeing as how I have passed that problem, being a virgin when I married over 40 years ago and always being faithful to my husband.
Still, the wall was there and had to come down. So God and I worked to remove it. As it came down, I saw Father God standing with His arms open wide. I must admit, though, I didn't run to Him. I walked, ever so slowly.
He simply said, "Welcome to the rest of your life, my beautiful daughter." Then, I cried and ran into His embrace of grace.
When God helps me remove major barriers like this, it reinforces several truths. First, in order for me to know the truth, I have to experience it. Jesus said, "You will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you" (John 8:32b, MSG). This is a deeper knowing of how His truth is meant to be lived out in our lives.
It also reminds me that fear does not come from God. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline, abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control" (2 Tim. 1:7, AMP). There is such depth in this passage. Suffice it to say, on the other side of the things we fear is the good God stuff.
Why I Want to Be Skinny
Now I am working on my new list: "Why I Want to Be Skinny." I might share it one day, but the thought of being skinnier is no longer a scary proposition to me.
With that fear removed, I am beginning to own the fact that this is something I really do want. It's when we own it that we stop acting against it and work with God to make it happen. Not only that, but I now know it's something God wants for me.
In the end, what He wants is all that matters.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of seven books, all available on Amazon. Her latest book, Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God, is available now, and Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the No. 1 Christian weight-loss memoir. She is also a writing and weight-loss coach, blogger, speaker, wife and mother. Visit her online at TeresaShieldsParker.com to find her books, coaching programs and free gifts.
This article originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.
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