Any change is a journey with ups and downs, twists and turns. It might be said that change is a journey where you never really arrive, but only get closer to God.
Because we are human and not God, change is hard, especially if we have become entrenched in some very unhealthy habits. It is, though, the easiest hard thing I’ve ever done. It is a journey that will continue to the day I die.
Herein lies the problem. As Americans, we want quick, easy change. Put in a dollar and get four quarters right now. But, just because we push the button that says change does not mean it will be instantaneous.
Say you have 200 pounds to lose. You take a stand and decide to change. You change the way you eat cutting out processed sugar and gluten and you start exercising.
The first week you lose four pounds. The next week, you lose three more. The next week, you lose two more pounds and the next one more.
You have lost 10 pounds in a month. That is five percent of your body weight. However, no one really comments on the weight loss except the few people close to you who know what you’ve been doing.
It’s an awesome weight loss, but your clothes aren’t even getting looser yet. It’s going to take consistent, persistent effort. It’s going to take a long time to get anywhere near your goal and then it will take eating healthy and exercising for the rest of your life to continue on the journey.
There has to be more motivation for change than quick, easy weight loss. A major ingredient to change has to be that you know God desires you to be healthy.
You cannot live a full and abundant life when you can’t even get up off the couch, well except to make a batch of brownies.
In this fast-paced, push and pull world, we must take a stand for life in all of it’s aspects or we will get run over by everything that leads to our death.
It’s interesting that although we say we will choose life1 when confronted with a choice that is something sweet and delectable that we know will eventually lead to the destruction of our body, in the moment we choose it.
There has to be a firm commitment and desire for change that will see you through those times when you just want to make that batch of brownies and eat the entire thing.
God, though, tell us that He has plans for our good and not for our disaster2. So if His plans are for our good, how did our bodies end up in disaster? I can tell you it wasn’t His choice. It was of our own volition.
Change, though, as we said earlier is a journey. It is not a one-time choice. It is a moment-by-moment decision about the direction you are headed. It is driven by the overriding want in your life.
For change to be a permanent fixture you have to answer the following questions: “What do I want?” “What kind of person can have what I want?”
When I answered these questions in 1994, I wanted to write books that mattered. I knew I couldn’t write that kind of book unless I was a whole, healthy, happy woman.
That meant I was going to have to make some hard choices about giving up some things and replacing them with other things.
Scripture says this renewal of your mind and the way you think is a transformation, a change. It’s a decision that means you dedicate your body to Him. You really sacrifice what you want for what is pleasing to God.3
I knew God was not pleased with the way I was abusing my body. It was entirely reasonable and rational for me to be healthy. It was an intelligent service and a definite way I could worship Him surrendering something I wanted.3
It was a spiritual journey during which my thought processes were totally revamped. I couldn’t just head in the direction I wanted to in the moment. I had to go and to do what I knew God required and expected.3
For me that meant giving up sugar and gluten. I had to lay it down never to pick it up again.
This was definitely a different journey. The idea of living a fasted lifestyle for the rest of my life was an entirely new way of thinking.3
I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt doing this would prove to myself that I was following the perfect will of God for me.3
For another person, it might be another area that God is revealing to them. For me, though, I had no doubt what He wanted.
To deny myself meant I had to give up what I craved. I couldn’t have the things the rest of the world desired, even if the rest of the world included those gathered at a church carry-in dinner. To eat things I knew were bad for me would be like forfeiting an internal part of me that wanted desperately to please God.
Change is very spiritual to me and yet it started and continues by an act of my physical body fueled by my mind, will and emotion. In other words, it involves my total being.
I can’t spiritualize myself into change, nor can I think myself into it. I must act myself into it because I know the spiritual and intellectual reasons behind it.
Starting the journey was definitely the hardest part. Once I started, though, there was no turning back.
There is such freedom in walking the journey I know God wants me to walk. If my foot strays off the path this direction or that, He points me in the right direction.5
That’s why this is the easiest hard journey I’ve ever walked. He walks beside me every step of the way. With my hand in His, how can I fail?
1 Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT
2 Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
3 Romans 12:1-2 AMP
4 Matthew 16:24-27 NIV
5 Isaiah 30:21 AMP
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.