This reveals whether you're living by your own smarts and strength or depending on God.
This reveals whether you're living by your own smarts and strength or depending on God. (Taylor Boggs)

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I am a refiner. That means I always know what I don't want much more than what I do want. However, it is paramount for me to know what I want. Otherwise, how will I know when I have achieved it? How can I get others to come along with me if I have no idea what I want? It's only in the refiner's fire that we find out.


Refining is a great strength. It means I can tell the pitfalls of a situation whether it is establishing a new business, starting a coaching group, writing a new book, creating a new course, quitting a business and starting another, working on my personal and family goals or deciding what to fix for supper.

My refiner's mind first lists why I shouldn't do something before it lists why I should. Recently I was on a business call when I got what could be a phenomenal suggestion for changing the way I do my business. I hadn't worked with this person before, so I was a bit guarded.

She said, "What do you think of that idea?" Immediately I went into refiner's mode, telling her why it wouldn't work. I knew what I was doing and tried to stop myself, but it came out of years of living in mentality of believing nothing like that will work for me.


I brought up all the negatives. Those come more readily to me than the positives. I usually talk myself out of any new and different idea even if, as she pointed out to me, it might be way more beneficial to those I work with than the way I am currently doing things.

After the call, I asked God, "Why do I always think of the negatives first?"

He said, "Because you are afraid of failure."

"God, why am I afraid of failure?" I asked.

He didn't hesitate to answer. "Because you are a perfectionist. You like everything refined. You walk through life as a refiner making sure everything works. Many times, this means you don't really by faith, but by logic and reason."

"I really don't like being a refiner. I just don't know any other way but to refine things."

"Don't be so hard on yourself. You've had a lifetime of believing you can't. I will show you what you can do with Me. Look at all the options, but don't leave Me out of the equation. Walk by faith, not by sight" (see 2 Cor. 5:7).

Ultimate Refiner

I realized in that moment that God is the ultimate refiner, who refines me with fire.

"But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, and they will present to the Lord offerings in righteousness" (Mal. 3:2-3). 

God is a refiner in the best sense of the word, though. He refines for the end purpose of making me better by burning away the dross or the things that are worthless junk in my life. At the end of His refining fire, I should shine like polished silver.

I Want to Be Refined

Then it hit me. That's what I want. I want to be refined. I want nothing in me that is not of Him.

I want to fulfill the call He has placed on my life to write books, coach others to freedom from whatever binds them and share that message with all who will listen. That's my call. That's His mandate to me.

Everything in my life must fit within the perimeters of that calling. It doesn't matter how much money I make. It does matter how many lives I genuinely impact with that message. To do that will take money and resources.

I know part of that money must come from those in the coaching programs. They have to invest in order to be motivated to make this lifestyle change. The level at which they invest will determine the level of their commitment to this journey.

The goal is to get people to committed to the journey long enough to understand what their real motivation should be for losing weight, gaining freedom from sugar addiction or receiving deep emotional and spiritual healing. When that moment of clarity comes, everything changes. Then it just becomes a matter of coaching them in how to maintain their freedom.

Bring People With Me

Now that I know what I want, I can bring people alongside me who have that same desire, who want to see people set free from addictions, especially food addictions. I can build a team to help me spread that message far and wide.

God is showing me how to bring that team together. Soon I will announce a Coach the Coaches program to train others to be coaches and join me in spreading this message.

I will continue doing what God has called me to do being careful to guard my time and energy level. I am only human. I cannot do it all myself. That's a good thing being a refiner has taught me.

I may change the way I coach. I may change how I write. I may change why and to whom I speak. However, I will not change who God called me to be—an author, coach and speaker. I will guard that calling with everything that is in me. I will stay in God's refining fire to make sure I do that.

Coach the Coaches

Those who are even remotely interested in the Coach the Coaches course, comment below. I need coaches I train to assist me in my calling. Eventually, I need coaches ready to go out on their own and coach others.

Those interested in losing weight and learning more about our Christian weight-loss coaching program, go here.

This battle cry of freedom must sound throughout the world. "For freedom Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Gal. 5:1).

This is the year of the breakthrough. God is moving quickly in all areas of Christian ministry. Don't hesitate to respond to His call.

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 and Sweet Freedom. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Connect with her there or on her Facebook page or Twitter.

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