Yesterday, I worked about six hours straight on my next book. Somewhere during that time frame, I wrote the word "discovery." It's not an earth-shattering word by any stretch of the imagination, but the minute I wrote it, it was as if God illuminated it to me like shining a flashlight directly on it.
He has done this numerous times with Scriptures I've read, but never with something I've written. Of course, I pray that every word I write is inspired, but I knew the minute I couldn't get that very ordinary word out of my mind that He wanted me to understand something deeper, something more about it.
What Discovery Really Means
So I set out to discover what the word "discovery" really means. I was surprised to find out that at its core, a discovery is a revelation.
The dictionary definition is "the process of discovering." To discover means to gain sight or knowledge of something, to see, expose, make visible, disclose or reveal. A discovery, I learned, is an enlightening or astonishing disclosure or a revelation.
Now I was even more curious as to what the dictionary would say about the word "revelation." It is an "act of communicating divine truth or something that is revealed by God to humans." I had no idea that all of that was in the word "discovery."
What the Scriptures Say
Then, of course, I had to go to the Scriptures to see if discovery is mentioned. I had a sneaking suspicion that if "discovery" was in the Word, it would be in a newer translation. Two portions of Scripture really stood out to me. The psalmist tells us that there is no end to the discovery of the greatness that surrounds the Lord (see Ps. 145:3, TPT).
I love the fact that there is always something more we can discover about God. However, I was really intrigued by the next passage I found.
"Jesus said to all of His followers, 'If you truly desire to be My disciple, you must disown your life completely, embrace My 'cross' as your own, and surrender to My ways. If you choose self-sacrifice, giving up your lives for My glory, you will embark on a discovery of more and more of true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will lose what you try to keep'" (Luke 9:23-24).
Why Surrender Is Key
Surrender is a necessary principle for spiritual maturity. It is also a big key on our weight loss and healthy living journeys. What Jesus is telling us here is that if we choose to surrender our wants, desires and even the things we think we need to survive in this world, God will reveal to us what true life is all about.
In other words, when we surrender, we automatically begin a journey of discovery of more and more about true life. When we walk with God, He begins to reveal things we didn't know before.
We may think we know all about the Christian life, but Jesus is saying we haven't even gotten started until we surrender what has been holding us captive to earthly things and keeping us from being all in with God.
Surrender Brings Destiny
Surrender for me, of course, was giving up certain foods I couldn't seem to say no to. These were foods made with sugar and flour. I was addicted to them. Others may be addicted to these or other foods, but my addiction also included any foods with high carbohydrate content. They didn't have to contain sugar, but the higher the carbs, the more the foods captured me.
When I began the journey toward giving up these foods, my life began to morph into one of purpose and destiny. When I weighed 430 pounds, I kept trying to shoehorn my life into a destiny I wanted for me. I told God how it would be great if I could do this or that, but nothing seemed to work out as I thought it should.
Still, all along He had been talking to me, but it was about surrendering certain foods to Him. Little did I know, doing that was the beginning of my destiny.
He used my biggest failure to teach my greatest lesson. It's a simple one, really. I am just really stubborn so it took me quite a while to learn.
The lesson is just this: Follow Jesus. Do what He says. I had to do what I already knew He wanted me to do. I didn't like it. I didn't want to give up sugar and flour. I wanted to eat all the delicious foods I had grown up with and lose weight too.
It didn't seem to me like it was very destiny-oriented to have to give up things others could eat, but when I began walking through that process, God began to teach me more and more about Himself. He was teaching me more and more about how He and He alone has the keys to abundant living here and in the great beyond. He was teaching me more and more about how to trust and obey Him.
The 2020 Word
Every year, God gives me a word for the year. This year, it has been a combination of three words: "vision," "insight" and "discernment." He's taught me this is His equation for clarity. First I have to have His vision, which is the what.
Then, I need His insight into how to carry out whatever the what is. Finally, I must discern timing, purpose and everything surrounding them. With those three things, God helps me have clarity for what I need to do next.
For next year, I wanted my word to be "restore." There are so many things I would love for Him to tell me are being restored, but see, I don't choose my word for the year. God always chooses it for me. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt His 2020 word for me is not "restore." It is "discovery." I'm both scared and excited to see where that word leads me.
On a Discovery Quest
Knowing discovery is connected with revelation, though, makes me even more intrigued about what the year 2020 will hold.
I know most of it is wrapped up in this verse: "Lord, You are great and worthy of the highest praise! For there is no end to the discovery of the greatness that surrounds You" (Ps. 145:3).
It's a quest I've been on, but now it is one that God has highlighted and is redefining and deepening for me. I can't wait to see what the year holds.
This is unusual for me on another level. I've never had God give me His word for the year this early. Maybe that is just so I can ask you: What's your 2020 word? If you know, share it in the comments. If not, tell us how you will know your 2020 word.
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.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.