I’ve heard these excuses from many people who honestly feel this way. I can relate because I was there once. They say, “I can’t change. I can’t lose weight. I’ve tried and failed too many times. I’m so lost, I just don’t know what works any more.” The truth is if I can change with God’s help, you can change. And I’ve certainly changed since losing 250 pounds.
Transformation means a drastic change in physical appearance. I know many besides me who have had such a transformation! In my book, Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation, I tell 17 stories of those individuals like Sundi Jo Graham who has lost 145 pounds, Anastasia Maness who has lost over 50 pounds and had her seventh child, Lindsey Summers who has lost over 100 pounds and is getting married soon, Rhonda Burrows who has lost 60 pounds, Mark Shields who has lost over 100 pounds, Judy English who lost 30 pounds 30 years ago and so many others. All of them would tell you they didn’t think they could change, but every one of them did.
The truth is we can change because God designed us to change. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Cor. 5:17 NLT.
In a different translation, it says, “We don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!” 2 Cor. 5:16-17 MSG.
At its core, the gospel is all about change. If we never changed, we would never be of any Kingdom value. God wired us for change. He wired us to become new, completely new in every area—body, soul and spirit.
What God tells us in 2 Cor. 5:17 is change happens on the inside. He reiterates that in Romans 12:1-2 MSG. “Here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
There at least three major principles here to help us with whatever aspect of our lives we want to change whether it is trying to get out of debt, working on a difficult relationship, discovering a career direction or overcoming a problem with alcohol, drugs, food, pornography, gambling or any other addiction. For you it might be just wanting to get a better job, or pay off debts. The bottom line is you want something to change.
What Needs to Change?
What if I told you no matter what needs to change we all have to begin at the same place. What does Paul say in Romans 12:1—take everything about your life and give it to God. Then thank Him for what He has done in your life.
Look at what he mentions there. He talks about ordinary, everyday things. What is ordinary about our lives? Sometimes the ordinary is what we feel like needs to change. Then he specifies what those things are: sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life. Do we get proper rest? Are we worried and constantly stressed? Are we working too hard or are we not working at all? Do we want a different job? What kind of life are we leading? What do we do with our time? And yes, he also mentioned eating. This is a big thing that many of us want to change.
We are to surrender ourselves to God to be His scared living sacrifices. When we do that we submit ourselves to change because God wants us to be constantly learning, “growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into our daily lives” as it says in Matthew 5:48 AMP.
God is into change for both you and me. Part of that is definitely the daily habit of what we eat, when we eat, how much and how often we eat.
Fix Your Attention On God
“Fix your attention on God and we will be changed from the inside out.” This is the punch in the gut scripture. I dare say we all have something we want to have changed. But I get it, if you want to lose weight, it may seem ridiculous to think you have to first start working on changing on the inside.
We are one person in three parts. We are a body, we are a soul and we have a spirit. If one part of us is wildly out of whack, like I was when I weighed 430 pounds, we just want to focus on that to the exclusion of everything else. Surely this is the problem. If I get this body thing right, if I can just find the right diet then everything else in my life will work perfectly.
Here’s the truth behaviors happen first in the mind. We have a thought. That thought may be I’m tired, frustrated, lonely, sad, stressed, angry, overwhelmed. That triggers an emotional reaction based on what we’ve done in the past which results in our behavior. If God has been talking to us about taking care of our bodies better, we may have a spiritual reaction to the thought, but our emotions and our will override it and we end up going with the habit loop we’ve been in for years.
The truth is this is not a body reaction as much as it is a soul and spirit reaction that we have programmed our bodies to respond to. We can clearly see the soul which is our mind, will and emotions are involved and our spirit or our concept of God is also involved. The spiritual part of it may be that we don’t think God can help us in our moment of despair as much as food can. While it’s not a conscious thought, it is proven by our behaviors. Because if God wants us healthy and has been talking to us about this, why don’t we follow Him.
It’s a conundrum for sure. I had to dig deep to find the emotional roots associated with this belief and renounce the lies I was believing about God, such as He can’t comfort me like food does and other related mistruths. Note, these aren’t what we know in our knowledge base. But they are a part of our emotional memory and belief system that affects how we relate to God. In my case, that was I ignored Him when he prompted me about healthy living issues.
I’d come back with I can’t change and God would agree. He’d say, “You can’t in your humanity.” This verse has the answer. “When I am weak in my human strength, then I am strong, truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s Strength,” 2 Cor 12:10 AMP.
This only happens when I begin to fix my attention on God instead of food.
Know and Do What God Wants
It’s difficult in the moment to quickly recognize what the right choice is and enact that immeidatley. However if we have made decisions ahead of time, if we have faced our demons head on and replaced our negative thoughts with positive ones, our bad habits with good ones and have already thought through our temptations and how to handle them, we are prepared like a soldier to fight this battle God’s way.
That’s why the last part of that verse says if we have done all of things things then God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. When we have well-formed maturity making good choices comes as naturally as what we do everyday without even thinking.
In order to change we first have to want change more than we want our favorite foods. Our big want has to be more than the momentary temptation, which will always be before us, if we continue to give in to us.
It’s a choice. God always gives us a choice. But the more we choose the right way, the more we choose God’s way the more the change we are practicing will become habitual.
Success Path to Transformation
From my experience of losing over 250 pounds I’ve found there is a success path to transformation. I’d love to continue to talk with you about this so for the first time ever, I’m offering a Free Live Online Workshop. I’d love for you to attend. It will be Monday, June 18 at 8 pm CT. The link to join the workshop online will be sent to you when you sign up here: https://TeresaShieldsParker.com/Free-Workshop.
Please bring your questions. I love to answer your questions. I will be live so see if you can stump me! No one has yet. This is my first Free Live Online Workshop. It’s history-making so please join me. Oh and if you join me and stay for the entire workshop, there will be a bonus for you at the end. I’m not telling what it is, but it will be great.
I don’t want you to miss this workshop so don’t leave without signing up HERE. It is totally free and everyone who stays to the end, gets something free. Psst: I didn’t say that on the Facebook Live! We just decided that today!
I’ll be live again on Friday, June 8 at 9 pm on my Facebook page. Meantime, here’s the link for the Facebook Live I did on this topic recently.