It frustrates me to no end to have a choice I need to make and not be able to make a decision. I have to make a choice or it drives me crazy. I'd rather make a wrong decision than no decision.
That's why being on the fence is an overwhelmingly frustrating place for me to be. It is a place of no commitment. For some, though, it is being stuck in what has become a comfortably uncomfortable rut.
It's comfortable because it's a routine that's already programmed into our brains. Our brains use millions of shortcuts we aren't even aware of. Most of us do the same thing every morning. We do it without thinking.
I get up and brush my teeth without thinking. I take my vitamins without thinking. If I didn't have them in my weekly pill box, many mornings I wouldn't remember if I had taken them or not. I'm on autopilot because a shortcut in my brain takes up less processing space.
It's just like a shortcut on our computer keyboards. We hit a key that already has that shortcut programmed in, and it performs the function right away because it's in a different place on the hard drive, a more accessible place.
This is why we reach for that bag of chips, favorite cookies or ice cream. It's our programmed response to stress. It's a habit we have. We come home after a hard day, sit down in front of the TV and snack, even though we've just eaten a full meal.
Let me be clear: We aren't making choices when we do this. We are running on shortcuts we have preprogrammed by our earlier choices. Now, they are so ingrained we think we have no choice. We are stuck.
Thank God for Free Will
I am thankful, though, that God in His wisdom provided a wonderful thing for us called free will. This is the ability all humans have to choose a different way of doing things, to break bad habits and form better ones, to get off the fence and make a determined and thoughtful decision instead of just doing what we've always done and expecting different results.
This is really the crux of the issue for food addicts, bingers, overeaters, those who purge and chronic dieters. It's what we've always done, and we just keep doing it, but nothing different ever happens.
"God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. But don't view this wonderful freedom as an opportunity to set up a base of operations in the natural realm. Freedom means that we become completely free of self-indulgence" (Gal. 5:13, TPT).
Nothing Works for Me
Many women with extreme weight issues are like I was. We think nothing will ever work for us, but we will always fork out money for the latest, greatest diet plan that promises we will lose 20 pounds a month or some other incredible goal.
These promises never work because the basic diet plan isn't our real problem. The problem is the choices we are making, the habits we can't seem to break.
When we think about seriously trying to get down to the core issue of why we can't lose weight and why we can't make good choices or change our habits, we run the other way. Part of it is because we are afraid of facing what's there.
I See You
I know you. I see you. I know the other part is, you just want to believe that lie that says 100 pounds can be gone quickly and easily. It can be gone, but I won't lie to you. It won't go without kicking and screaming!
However, it will go when you make the right choices and learn to confront and overcome the core reasons you aren't doing that.
You will have times you are frustrated and overwhelmed, but that's why you want to have a coach and group of peers like you who can support, encourage and challenge you to keep going.
Indecision Nearly Killed Me
I know all of these problems all too well because I've faced every one of them. There came a point in my life when I just gave up on all weight-loss plans and just decided to be fat. I felt it was my lot in life.
That decision of staying on the fence and doing nothing is what helped me gain up to 430 pounds. It almost killed me. For years, every moment of every day, I made bad choices by putting extra food in my mouth and damaging the body God gave me to house His very Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19).
So I made the biggest decision of my life. I decided after 50 years of living and at least 20 years of being morbidly and super morbidly obese that I would surrender this issue to God.
When we get right down to it, we know God will help us, but we just aren't sure how to access His help. Surrender is always the key, but surrender involves trust, as I talked about in this post. We want to be self-sufficient and do it our way.
In the famous words of Dr. Phil, "And how's that working for you?" Still, I get it. I've been there. It's the American Dream to do things on your own. But it's God's dream if we do things not just with Him, but in Him—through Him and by His strength.
Philippians 4:13 is a great scripture. I love this verse in the Amplified Bible because it addresses this problem head-on: "I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]"
In Christ's Sufficiency
Did you get that? I am self-sufficient, but only in Christ's sufficiency. He gives me the tools to do the right things and infuses me with strength and peace.
Our trust issues will affect whether or not we can completely surrender our food issues to God. This can happen only if you make a wholehearted commitment to seek God for your very own journey to transformation.
It's time to get off the fence. Are you ready?
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 bestseller, 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. Check out her new podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey.
This article originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.
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