What's God's grace got to do with weight loss anyway?
Maybe you've said or thought something similar to this. "God, I know You gave me a brain to figure this whole issue out. I'm trying, but You can step in anytime now and relieve me from trying and failing."
I was there for at least 30 years. I knew what to do, but try as I might, I couldn't seem to sustain weight loss. I'd lose100 pounds and then celebrate with some sugary dessert. Then, I'd go back to eating like I had before and put it all the weight back on plus more.
I saw a diet as a way to get the weight off and then go back to how I'd always eaten before. It never occurred to me to that I didn't need a diet. I needed a lifestyle change.
All throughout the time I was dieting, I would be asking God for help to make the weight loss stick. But I never asked Him what to do. I knew I needed to lose weight, and a diet seemed to be the way to do it.
That struggle ended when I finally came face to face with the fact that what I had been doing was more than just sneaking an extra cookie. I was throwing garbage in my body, which is the very home of God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). I had to repent for something I'd knowingly been doing all my life.
It wasn't easy, because my true repentance had to be for years of putting sugar and high-carbohydrate-content foods as things I treasured more than God. In order to do that, I had to be sick-to-my-stomach sorry.
To repent means to turn around and go the other way, so no longer could I keep doing what I had always done and say I was sorry.
I was always sorry the scale showed I'd gained weight, but I was never sorry I ate that piece or two or three of Mamaw's oatmeal cake.
To repent, I had to mourn for what I had done to the point that I was willing to do anything God showed me in order to become whole, happy and healthy body, soul and spirit.
I had to accept and own my particular issue with food. Only then could I begin to accept God's forgiveness for the gravity of my actions and surrender my issue to Him.
That's when He revealed to me that even though sugar was all right for some to eat, it wasn't OK for me. I had allowed sugar to master me, and He did not want me "to be mastered by anything" (1 Cor. 6:12b, NIV) other than Him.
Before that time, I had laid on the altar my inability to lose weight. I hadn't given up the specific issue that was holding me back from losing weight.
Finally, I laid sugar, desserts, breads, pastas and starchy foods on the altar. Only then was I ready for God's grace-strength to help me.
When I mourned what I had done to my body, the home of the Holy Spirit, when I felt it in the pit of my stomach, when I cried real tears of repentance, God knew I meant it when I said I was sorry.
When the truth hit me like a ton of bricks that I had to give up sugar in order to lose weight and keep it off, I was ready to do whatever it would take to get free.
I was at the end of my resources. I had tried every magic fix available and nothing worked. I was ready for God to show me how to do this and then follow what He showed me.
My heartfelt prayer was "God, I can't do this. I'm weak around sugar. I need your strength to help me do this."
In that moment, God spoke to me through His Word. "My grace is enough. It's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9, MSG).
I didn't know how I'd give up sugar. I knew I couldn't do it in my own strength. I had to trust God completely to lead me.
From that moment on, I felt God's grace-wind at my back propelling me forward. He brought people into my life to teach me how to change my ingrained habits, how to discover the underlying emotional reasons of why I ate when I wasn't hungry, to understand that my issue wasn't just food and my physical body, but with my mind, will, emotions and spirit as well.
In the past, I was running the weight loss show. That's why it never worked, because I didn't understand my blind spots. When I gave up being the boss and let God show me what to do, His grace empowered me to do what I thought I couldn't only one second before.
After losing 250 pounds, I know I am powered by God's grace. More than that, I know that weight loss or whatever issue you have has everything to do with God's grace, which is perfected in my weakness.
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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