Last year I marked off the only two things on my bucket list. I wrote a book that I feel really matters and I became healthy after reaching the milestone of losing 250 pounds. Now my bucket list is exploding with items and it’s all God’s fault.
Nothing else was on the list because I felt nothing else could be accomplished before those two.
It was in January of 2013 that I felt God essentially tapped me on the shoulder and said, “OK, it’s time to write your book.” I had been waiting for this moment for most of my life. I had no idea the book I’d always wanted to write would be about … me!
My desire to write a book that makes a difference, stems back to watching my mother read books. As I grew up Mom had emotional difficulties which meant she had high highs and low lows.
No matter what kind of mood she was in, though, she could get lost in a book. Anything that was bothering her seemed to disappear as she devoured a book.
I wondered what it would be like to write a book like that, one that would soothe the soul or give life-changing information.
It became a desire of mine—a quest. I worked on school newspapers in junior high, high school and college. I majored in journalism and worked as for newspapers and other organizations as a writer, editor and publisher.
I learned how to write, but what to write always eluded me. As a newspaper reporter, I wrote stories about what was going on in a community. As a public relations person, I wrote stories about the organization where I was employed. As an editor I edited others’ stories. As a publisher I produced publications sharing those stories.
In 1995, a friend asked me to write a companion book to one he wrote. It was a list book of ideas and suggestions. It was an easy book to write and took very little time. It felt a little like a large article in book format.
While it was nice to be a published author, it wasn’t the book I longed to write.
I tried a time or two to write a fiction book. I’d get about halfway through and be lost about where to go from there.
This gnawing inside I knew was a desire planted by God. So I would cry out to Him to show me what book to write. There was monumental silence on the other end.
Throughout this time I battled weight issues ballooning up to 430 pounds. Of course I didn’t all of a sudden get there.
The first time I recorded a prayer to God about my weight issues was in 1977. I think I was on the way to the 250-pound mark at that time.
I asked God how to move this mountain of flesh that had become my body. In my journal, I recorded what I sensed was His answer. “Stop eating sugar. Eat more meat, fruit and vegetables. Stop eating so much bread.”
I thought there must be an easier way. And so that started a parade of diets. I would lose gain the weight back plus more. At one point I even resorted to surgical intervention only to once again gain most of the weight back.
That’s when I finally realized it. I have more than the normal weight problem here. I have an extreme issue.
Listening to a friend talk about his recovery from alcohol it hit me, could I be addicted to sugar? Is that what God was telling me more than 30 years ago?
It was a light-bulb moment. I didn’t research or investigate the possibility, I just began giving up sugar and eventually all gluten. I started regular exercise.
Diet is now a bad four-letter word to me. What I did was a complete lifestyle change. Any addict will tell you the same thing. To get free, you must give up what you are addicted to.
God heard my heart cry. He knew the book that mattered and my weight issue were related. Conquering one with His help had to be done before embarking on the other.
Now, I have 27 books on my bucket list to write. I’m working on one right now which I can’t wait to get done so I can work on the next one and the next, all of which I hope to get done this year.
Writing a book about my weight loss has definitely helped me dream again. It is as if God knew accomplishing the two original items on my bucket list would result in the exponential amount of items now on my list—more books, projects, ideas, places to visit and things to do.
It all feels surreal in a good way. I know all of this is only possible because I finally listened to what God told me to do back in 1977.
It really is true, God can do far more than I can ask, think or imagine.1 Only He can make the deepest desires of my heart come true. He knows what that is even more than I do.
1 “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 MSG
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.