20342388_mThere used to be a room in her house which was extremely comfortable and cozy. All the chairs were soft recliners and couches she could sink into. The carpet was thick and soft. It just begged to be walked across bare-footed.

In this room, she had everything she wanted within arm’s reach—her favorite snacks and foods and cold beverages. More than that when she was in this room, she could eat whatever she wanted and it not affect her health, at least that’s what she thought.

She could lounge around in her most comfortable clothes and just relax watching movies on the big screen television that covered the wall.

Granted some were reruns, but they were her favorite reruns and they eased any anxiety or stress she had.

She could invite friends and family into this room if she wanted, but only when she wanted company. The door had no handle on the outside and was invisible to anyone walking by.

She had to open the door for anyone to come inside. She had never done this. She had never wanted to share her room with anyone else.

One day someone knocked on the door. Since this rarely happened, she asked, “Who is it.?”

The man said, “This is the opportunity of a lifetime.” Then he proceeded to define for her the dream he had in mind for her. She knew it well. It had resided in her heart since before she could remember.

His last statement was, “In order to take advantage of this opportunity, you must open the door and never return to the room you are in. I will return for your answer.”

She wondered how this man knew to knock on the door that no one could see from the outside—a puzzlement for sure.

She loved her room. She had never thought of leaving.  Her room was perfectly set up for everything she wanted in the moment. Of course, she knew she was not living her true dream.

Which brought her to the most difficult of her ponderings. To take advantage of the offer, to live her dream, she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, she would have to change.

Any kind of change is difficult, but faced with changing her entire lifestyle, the one she had built a lifetime creating, distressed her greatly.

It would mean thinking about everything she did, what she ate, what she drank, how she moved, how she managed her time, how she connected with people, how she connected with God.

Ah, God. He was One she had not invited to her room for a long time. She just assumed He was fine staying away.

She was ashamed of what she had let her life become. She was like a big soft mattress that just laid around and existed. Nothing moved her. Nothing.

Why would God want to visit her anyway?  Letting Him in would rock her boat too much and if it rocked, she would surely drown.

Besides, even though the handle was on her side of the door, she could not open it if she tried. One day she had attempted to but the force keeping it shut was way too strong, which was just fine with her. In the end, she decided the room was where she belonged.

In her room, she had everything she needed. She was fine.

And yet “fine” is a relative term. “How are you? I am fine,” but everyone knew she was lying. She was not fine. She was slowly dying.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue1 and the power of the thought, which leads to action or no action. Her thoughts were leading her increasingly towards a slow and comfortable death. 

“If I’ve got to die some day anyway, why not go fat and happy?” she told herself. Trouble is she wasn’t happy. She knew there were gifts placed inside by ….. by God, whom she had left out of most decisions of major importance—decisions that were affecting her life. Decisions like what she ate. How she moved. Who she interacted with.

Could this opportunity be connected with how comfortable she had become?

She looked at the door. What would it take to simply open the door? What was the force that held it closed so firmly?

She had not spoken in this room, because her thoughts resided here. Spoken words were not necessary. Maybe, though, that’s just what she needed now.

“God, if you’re there, tell me what the force is that holds this door closed.”

He did not speak verbally, but in her heart she instantly knew. It coursed through her body like a million daggers. It is FEAR.

Could she succeed outside what she had always known? Could she lay down the thoughts and actions that were slowly killing her?

Could she move outside her comfort zone? Could she do it if on the other side of the door of fear, was life and reality and dreams fulfilled. Could she?

This feeling of despair engulfed her. Moving outside all that was familiar and comfortable, her own thoughts and creations, felt impossible.

It felt as if changing her lifestyle would be changing her identity. Yet who was she really? Was she what she did? Was she all the hats she wore? Was she the things she craved, cooked and ate?

“Or maybe it’s just as simple as being me,” she said to herself. “Yet who am I really? Will I even like the real me?”

And there in was the fear. When she thought about stepping outside the room, she felt naked, exposed, vulnerable. To go for her dreams felt way too scary.

She might fail. She might fall flat on her face like she always had any time she had tried to be different.

“And yet I am dying here,” she said out loud.

The knock on the door was soft, but she knew it was Him.

“I am here,” she said.

“Are you ready to open the door,” He asked.

She tried to turn the handle, but it would not budge. “I am trying, but the force preventing it from opening is too strong. I cannot do it!” She sank to the floor and sobbed.

“Do you want Me to come in?” His voice was soft and soothing. 

“Yes.”

And instantly He was there with her, in her room, the room where no one had ever been. The room she was afraid to open to anyone.

She looked into His eyes and without speaking told Him she was sorry for all the times she’d failed Him.

Instantly, she knew all was forgiven.

“Are you ready to go?” He asked.

“How do I get out of this room?” She stood staring at the door.

“I am the door,” He said and stepped in front of the door of fear. “I am the door. All you need to do is enter through Me and you will have abundant life2 beyond what you can imagine.”

By faith, she walked up to Him, through grace and out into the world.

On the other side were all of the changes she knew would be there and though she felt some anxious thoughts for a moment, she continued walking.

In a moment He was by her side.

“I’m so glad You are here. I was afraid I had to do this alone.”

“If there’s one thing you should remember and never forget, I am with you always.I will be Your guide through this life if you will let Me, if you will listen to Me and follow My voice.”

“How will I know it’s you?” she asked.

“You will know. You are in my fold now. Those in My flock recognize My voice and follow it.5

“You will not always see Me, but I am always here. Call to Me and I will answer and tell you remarkable secrets you do not know.6

“And I will guide you and be the voice saying, ‘Wait. This is the path over here. Walk here if you wander off and head the wrong way.”7

“And what if I get afraid again?” Her voice was soft and low.

“Then you come to Me again and ask forgiveness. You need not fear anything you’ve done or will do. My grace covers it all.Perfect love expels ALL fear. If you are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, which shows you have not experienced My perfect love.9 

“You need not fear because you have experienced Me. I’ve prepared the way for you. All you need to do is walk in it. Move forward. Listen to My voice. I am with you.”

Walking forward she saw the beauty around her, the laughter from children, the blue sky, the trees, the clouds, the flowers. Most of all she saw opportunities to live and have purpose.

Her heart filled with gratitude for the One who took time to come to her, reach out to her and invite her to take that first risky step of faith.

Her life was whole. There were no more rooms of comfort behind locked doors of fear.

She had begun to live. She would never be the same again.

What’s in your room of comfort that keeps you locked in?

1 Proverbs 18:21 ESV

2 John 10:9-10 ESV

3 Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

4 Matthew 28:20 ESV

5 John 10:27 ESV

6 Jeremiah 33:3 NLT

Isaiah 30:21 NLT

8 Ephesians 1:7-8

9 1 John 4:18 ESV

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Sweet Change is Teresa Shields Parker’s new group on living healthy through a total renovation of body, soul and spirit. Teresa chronicles her journey in the memoir, Sweet Grace, and the practical application workbook, Sweet Grace Study Guide. Her book Sweet Change tells true stories of Transformation. Get a free chapter of either book at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.

On Being Real
Learning To Change
Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 260 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. She has two more books, "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help" and "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" in addition to "Sweet Grace" and "Sweet Freedom Study Guides". Her fourth book "Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God" will be available in summer 2017. All books are on Amazon. Her Coaching Programs can be found under the Weight Loss or writing tabs at TeresaShieldsParker.com. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking Tab.

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