The Vehicle That Will Launch You to Total Transformation

Teresa Shields Parker (Teresa Shields Parker Facebook page)

Our goal in all that we do should be total transformation — spirit, soul and body. The vehicle to get us there is habit change but the enemy loves to try and throw obstacles in our way.

One of the biggest obstacles I have faced recently is random health issues that have seemed to come out of nowhere, especially the last two years. For various periods of time, I have had to stop my water exercise because of surgeries, falls and knee issues.

I hate it when I cannot exercise in the water because it has become a habit and without it, I feel lost. It's been at least 12 years since I began doing it consistently. It really has shown me that my habits and my desires have changed. Even though I haven't been able to do as much exercise, I still am not eating sugar or flour, praise God.

Habits Define Our Lives

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It has made me understand better how habits really do define our lives and how they don't go away when we have them firmly ingrained in us. With God's help, I have developed many good habits that are firmly ingrained in me. These have taken me years to develop and not go back to the old habits of eating everything in sight when something difficult happens in your life.

One thing that helps us stay steady on the journey is to know why we are doing this in the first place. I saw what I was doing as standing in the way of the destiny God had waiting for me. It was like He was on one side of the curtain of my life, ready to draw it back and show me to the world, but I was cowering in a closet somewhere. I didn't want the world to see the fat blob I had become.

After He revealed to me that I was a sugar addict and I surrendered that to Him, I pleaded with Him to show me how to change. I had tried every diet in the book and nothing worked. Habit change and the journey to transformation is what He revealed to me.

New Concept

It was an entirely new concept to me that I needed to change my habits for the rest of my life. It made so much sense but it had just never registered that I had bad habits. I thought it was just the way I was created. I was created with this insatiable desire for high-carb, high-sugar content foods.

God helped me understand that this was not how I was created. It was a learned behavior that had started because of many strongholds that had developed in my childhood. The devil was trying to steal my destiny by tempting me with sugary foods and I was falling for it, hook, line and sinker.

When I began this healthy living journey, I felt like my bad habits were so deeply ingrained I could never change them. I began to understand that many of the reasons I was eating comfort food was to try to dispel my feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. This was due in part to my drive to overachieve. I had to work on lowering stress in my life, but everyday life is stressful no matter what we do. This has especially been true these last two years.

What We Can Control

We can't control everything that happened to us but we can change how we respond to it. We can change our habits. For years I felt like the only way to respond to my angst was to eat. All I was doing was burying my emotions under mounds and mounds of food, but I didn't know what else to do. So, I kept eating.

Planning what to do when you are stressed, other than eating, are some of the greatest habits we need to start. Spending intentional, no-agenda time with God by setting aside time to quiet myself in His presence was one of those.

Another way to approach habit change is to ask yourself, "What do I want to say yes to? What will I have to say no to in order to say yes to what I want?"

Be Determined

We have to be determined to not allow our negative emotions and bad habits to rule supreme. We have to allow Jesus to help us change our habits.

First Peter 4:1-2 (MSG) tells us, "Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like Him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want."

The Passion Translation, verse 2, reads, "So live the rest of your earthly life no longer concerned with human desires but consumed with what brings pleasure to God."

I feel like I'm finally getting there and I so want that for you too. Even the things I want, I'm learning to filter through what God wants for me and my family.

I am asking myself is this what I want, desire or crave? If so, then it likely falls in the category of not what God wants.

If you need help to change your habits, join us in Overcomers Academy here.

Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight-loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don't miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN. This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com.

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