Any time we try to make any type of positive change that leads to our destiny, we will encounter barriers. Change, however, is the first step to move toward all that God has for our lives.
Barriers make change, even if we say we really want it, incredibly difficult. And so we turn and walk away because it’s just too hard. We decide we’ll just stay where we are. Destiny might be too difficult anyway. This is true on any weight-loss or health journey. The barriers seem so astronomically high, we cannot get around, under, over or through them. Problem is, if we are really interested in entering into all that God wants for us, we have to find away to remove the walls.
There are many such barriers. For me, the most overwhelming were cultural, psychological and genetic.
Barrier #1: Cultural
My cultural barrier included comfort food, the food I was raised eating. It was environmental, in that my grandma’s wonderful country cooking was what I lived for. It comforted me in every way possible. It soothed any pain and helped celebrate any occasion.
Barrier #2: Psychological
The psychological barrier began to be established early in my life, especially in regard to men who were less than gentlemanly with me. These were not blood relatives but included a close friend of the family, a couple of neighborhood boys and an insane teenage boy. The emotional barriers that caused were huge as I tried to make sure there were no encounters with these men and boys ever again.
Barrier #3: Genetic
The genetic barrier seemed to be the most unfixable of them all. My genetic makeup is inherent in me. My father’s family had an overabundance of alcoholism and my mother’s an overabundance of obesity and diabetes. In addition, there is heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and breast cancer.
I firmly believe that barriers are put in place by the evil one to keep us from fulfilling our destiny. Though they seem impossible to overcome, I serve a God of the impossible.
Barriers seem impossibly high because they are built on lies. Lies always exaggerate any situation.
Let’s take number one. We feel we can’t give up comfort food because it is the way we have approached our traditions. In many ways, it seems dishonoring to our ancestors to not cook the sugary bread family recipes any more.
Giving it up is easy, once you realize it’s more important for you to live and be healthy than continue a tradition that is killing you.
Barrier number two is difficult until we realize protection is one of the roles of our heavenly Father. Realizing all the ways He does protect us and keep us helps us cut this lie off at the root.
Barrier number three seems like the truth and, therefore, is a huge one. It helps to recognize that God made us and can give us strategies to overcome and heal diseases. Not only that, but He wants us saved, healed and delivered in order to be active in His kingdom. If we do the things we know to do to take care of our bodies, many genetic predispositions can be overcome.
I cooperate with God to eat right, drink water, get enough sleep, stop working such long hours and make time to play, relax and exercise.
The fact that I have a weakness regarding processed sugar and flour feels like a major handicap. I could complain and scream about it, or I could do what I know God has told me to do, which is to give it up.
Paul had a similar situation with a weakness in his life. He said:
“So I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
"‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
"'My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’
“Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness.
“Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become” (2 Cor. 12:7-10, MSG).
The biggest barrier we have to overcome is not admitting our weakness, though it is in laying it down on the altar in total surrender. When we hold on to it, we only continue in self-effort, which always leads to failure. Only when I admit my weakness can I accept His strength to help me change my situation.
We must realize that God has the power to break down every cultural, genetic and psychological barrier we have in our way. Doing things His way, we can change the trajectory of our lives to come in line with the destiny He has designed for each one of us.
God wants to break down all the barriers. However, He won’t start the process until you admit your weakness, lay it down, turn around and begin walking toward health and wholeness.
Only then we will see the barriers crash to the ground. Just on the other side lies our destiny.
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 TeresaShieldsParker.com.
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