I quit everything. Nothing I was doing was what I really wanted to do, and it was killing me. I had to focus on loving and taking care of myself, or I wouldn't be around to do anything anymore.
I had started gaining weight again after having the monster fix of gastric bypass surgery. Most everyone who has the surgery loses weight at first. With less weight and more energy, I began my normal trend of doing everything anyone asked me to do.
No Time for Help
I sat on any board of directors of any organization who asked. I wrote articles for organizations, published their newsletters, helped promote events, led small groups, led various training events, helped with seminars, built a website, started blogging, served on church committees, ran a business and managed a family, which included doing laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying and fixing meals.
Nothing I was doing was bad. Everything I had my hand in was good, and I liked helping others. I just didn't have enough hands to do it all. When that happens to me, I turn to food to stave off the overwhelming burdens I feel.
About a year after surgery, I discovered I could eat sugar and other foods I couldn't before. Surgery did not fix the core reasons why I ate in the first place. I began eating all my old comfort foods again. Before I knew it, I was once again in the morbid obesity category.
"Enough is enough," I said. "I'm doing something about this."
Working on Me
I had to understand what my issues were such as, why do I keep running back to certain foods whenever I can? I needed help, but I had no time for help. Understanding that monumental truth helped me revise my to do list.
One at a time, I let go of the priorities everyone else had for me. I quit everything.
Then, I started working on me. I began going to a weight loss group. I started seeing a holistic doctor who helped me start various vitamins, minerals and natural hormone supplements. I saw an allergist and a chiropractor who both believe in wellness therapy. I got a trainer, and began seeing a physical therapist.
I exercised at least six days a week for an hour. I stopped eating sugar and flour and started eating protein, vegetables and fruits. I took life purpose coaching training, which also helped me understand myself more.
Most importantly, I allowed God to teach me what my core issues were, and how to walk through forgiving others, renouncing lies and hearing God's truth for my life. I allowed God to transform every part of me—body, soul and spirit.
I also evaluated the things I had been doing. Was there anything I had been doing which tugged at a deep part of me? Something I truly missed? What was the cry of my heart, the thing that made me tick?
Write the Vision
Among the entire list of things, the one I loved the most was blogging and writing. Years ago, I chose a life verse. This needs to be one that shouts at me every time I see it in Scripture or think about it.
Mine is: "Write the vision. Make it plain so those that read it may run with it" (Hab. 2:2). There it is. That's who I am. Everything else pales in comparison to that. If I have to choose one life action, that would be it.
It's not just about writing. It's about writing the things which matter in a way that will help people incorporate the truths into their lives. In order to do that, I have to be connected to the One who makes my one thing matter.
Vibrating With Life
Trusting God with my entire heart means not leaning on what I think, rationalize or understand, but surrendering completely to Him. When I do that, He will show me the next step.
God says surrendering to Him brings results that align with my ultimate goal of being whole, healthy and happy, living a life full to overflowing with His purposes.
That's what began to happen when I quit everything and concentrated on only doing what fit into His purpose for me.
I decided to love myself in the same way God loves me. I decided to listen to that still, small voice inside, and be the best me possible. I decided to run with the thing that makes me light up inside. In the process, I lost weight, but gained so much more.
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, life group leader, speaker and author of Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help, 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. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.
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