Whatever we are struggling with, whether it be depression, frustration, overwhelming circumstances, stress, anger, loneliness, shame, regret, low self-esteem or difficult relationships, God wants us to run to Him instead of a substance to numb or temporarily cover our pain. He wants us to be overcomers because He has a destiny calling on our lives.
For me, any of those stress-filled issues sent me running toward unhealthy, sugar-laden foods. The high sugar-content of those foods would make me feel good for a short time, and then I'd need more to get the same feeling. If that sounds like drug addiction, it is. We just refrain from calling it that because it's a legal drug that makes everything we buy taste better. We don't take into consideration the toll it is taking on our health.
How Destinies Are Destroyed
It is slowly but surely killing us and destroying our destinies in the process. Obesity contributes to many diseases, from heart disease to many forms of cancer. Some even say it's the root of Alzheimer's and other dementia-like diseases. I'm not a scientist, so I don't know the definite causes of the rampant rise in all these diseases. However, the rise in sugar consumption has skyrocketed in conjunction with the rise of disease.
Christians feed right into this because it seems like the "sanctified" sin. It's the one pastors don't preach against. Just a word search in the Scripture for the words gluttony or glutton will reveal how strongly God feels about us running to food to solve our problems. The Bible has much to say about food addiction; gluttony is the biblical term used to describe this.
I meet folks every day who have destiny calls on their lives—they are pastors, singers, speakers, chaplains, not-for-profit directors and church leaders. They are using food as a way of escape from the demanding lifestyle ministry takes on them. This adds pounds to their bodies and eventually they feed right into the evil one's hands. When they, or we, give into the devil's temptations, we are no longer resisting him. We have joined him.
"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]" (John 10:10, AMP).
Set Free to Stay Free
My heart goes out to those, especially ministry leaders, caught in this bondage because I was where they are now. I weighed 430 pounds and could barely walk. God showed me how to get free and warned me to never go back to where I was.
"At last we have freedom, for Christ has set us free! We must always cherish this truth and firmly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past" (Gal. 5:1 TPT).
After losing 250 pounds, my life has changed, along with my eating and exercise habits. Now that I'm healthier, I want to remain healthy to fulfill the destiny God has given me.
It was a tad bit scary when God called me write a book. I'd always wanted to write a book, but I never could because of lack of stamina, energy and focus. After losing the weight, He told me I was ready. He revealed to me my life message and asked me to write a book about my journey. So I did. That book is Sweet Grace. I've now written six books and two study guides. Right now, I'm working on a seventh book.
Destinies May Feel Scary
Then God did a truly scary thing. He called me to coach. I never wanted to coach. I wanted to stay safe and secure on the back cover of my books. Instead, He asked me to step up to help people do what I had done. I felt a little like Moses being called to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. While walking on foot through a desert, eating only manna, was a really good healthy lifestyle change and a great exercise plan, they grumbled and complained a lot.
Before I started coaching, I had nightmares of what might happen when those I coached didn't follow my suggestions and challenges. God showed me, though, that I can't control what others do or don't do. I can just share from my experience—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Eventually, I said yes to His call, but only if He would be the coach, and I'd simply be the voice.
Now I coach because God wants me to spread the message that He is the overcomer who can help His children lose whatever is necessary. He does this in order to help us get healthy and stay healthy because He has great plans for us.
God Does Have A Plan
God has a plan for us. He loves us and so wants us to succeed. "We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!" (Eph. 2:10, TPT).
In order for me to step into my destiny, I first had to take care of my weight issue. I didn't realize it was related to my destiny, but it was all about that. God had a call on my life, and I had to get healthy to step into that calling.
God has a good plan for you, as well. It's a plan to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11). You may not know what it is yet, but He wants you healthy to complete it. It was worth it for me to sacrifice sugar to step into my destiny. It has been the sweetest decision I ever made.
I have many resources to help you on your journey. The latest one I've put together is a free course called Eating Stress. The last lesson in that series is about stepping into destiny. Get the course here.
For more on God's plan for your life, listen to this episode of Sweet Grace for Your Journey on the Charisma Podcast Network: Stepping Into Destiny.
This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com.
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.
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