Before I lost weight, I thought there were two kinds of people in the world—normal- to small-sized people and people who were overweight and beyond. At 430 pounds, I was definitely in that second group.
The Rest of Your Life
I also saw that most of the diet and weight loss industry folks were in the first group trying to sell the second group of products designed to curb their appetites. Their rhetoric seemed to indicate they believed all people in group 2 had no self-control.
When I finally started to lose weight, I learned that it wasn't about the right diet, exercise, self-control, mindset or even motivation, although all of those things play integral roles in losing weight and keeping it off. I wasn't lazy or unmotivated.
What I was lacking was inner strength. I'm talking about more than a dream or a plan. I'm talking about being 100% confident that I can conquer anything life throws at me, that I won't quit, that I have the strength for the journey, for the journey that lasts not just a month or two, but for the rest of my life. That felt overwhelming and made me feel small and useless, but it was the thing I hadn't latched onto, and it was what I needed to be successful.
Created With A Weakness
The key for me came when I finally understood that God didn't create me to be in the lesser group. He created me with a weakness. He did it on purpose so I would figure out that I need Him more than I need anything else.
Every person is human and has a weakness, and every person needs God because of that weakness. Others may have addictions to work, exercise, drugs, spending, power, fame, sex, alcohol or doing as little as possible. Mine happens to be foods made with sugar and flour, good old-fashioned comfort foods. I am weak around them.
There is no way that, on my own, I can muster up enough strength to conquer my food addiction. At one time, everything I ate either contained sugar or flour. Even meats were breaded and fried. Vegetables were slathered in rich casseroles with sauces containing flour and cheese or pasta. Fruit was buried in cobblers and pies.
You Got It!
So how did I lose the weight? Where did I find inner strength. I had it all along, and you probably do too. I just had to rediscover it. When I was 7, I accepted Christ as my Savior. The moment I did, the Spirit of Christ, who is the Holy Spirit, came to live in me.
We Have a Choice
This is such good news because these verses are saying even though we all have a fleshly or physical weakness when Christ comes into our lives, He gives us another choice. He deposits the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have the choice to live by the Spirit's inner strength and power or to continue down the path of least resistance, which is to do whatever we want, whenever we want. He always gives us a choice.
The exciting thing is my weakness serves a purpose. It can feed His strength! When just need to admit I'm weak and I need Him. The problem is, we hate to admit we're weak. We want to be strong women. We want to conquer the world and we can, but only when we allow God's strength to be our source.
Weak Become Strong
God said to Paul, "My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9, MSG). And there it is. When we submit our weakness to Him, His strength morphs into a power that is beyond what we can imagine.
When Paul understood this, he said, "So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, in human strength, then I am strong, truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God's strength," (2 Cor. 12:10, AMP).
For me, going on a forever lifestyle change plan was not a matter of mustering up inner strength; it was simply a choice to submit totally and completely to the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.
I moved over and let Him do the driving. Now, 250 pounds later, the journey is much sweeter.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of five books and two study guides, including her latest, Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy, and her No. 1 best-seller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. She is also a blogger, spiritual weight loss coach (check out her coaching group, Overcomers Academy) and speaker at TeresaShieldsParker.com.
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