Have you ever prayed and asked God one thing and He seemed to answer with something that was totally off-topic? For most of my adult life, I felt this way when I prayed about my life’s calling or direction.

woman praying on her knees at sunset

Understanding God’s Answer

My prayer would always start out something like this. “God, I know You’ve called me to write, but it feels like there is something specific I should be writing. Would You show me, please God? Call and I will do whatever You want me to do.”

Eventually, God would answer, but it seemed His answers to my plea for direction were totally incongruous with what I thought I was asking. His answers always seemed to come back to how to lose weight and get healthy. This was the one thing I didn’t think I could do. Plus, I didn’t think it was in the category of a life calling, like being a missionary, preacher, teacher or anything that seemed godly.

What I didn’t see all of those years, though, was how very persistent He was with this answer. Recently I was cleaning out my office and found all my old prayer journals. It was a rainy afternoon, perfect for revisiting my life. Reading through them helped me see my life in a different way.

Specific Instructions

Back in 1977, God had given me specific instructions I had never followed. This came during a prayer time where I asked Him how could I move the mountain of weight that was amassing on my body? He told me exactly what to do. One of those things was to stop eating sugar.

I told Him that I knew I’d lose weight if I did that but I couldn’t do that. I said that because I didn’t think I could give up sugar for the rest of my life. I also thought I shouldn’t have to give it up because others could eat it, so I should be able to as well. For the next 30 years, I ignored His advice.

God did not forget, though. Any time I prayed about what I was supposed to be doing while here on earth, His answer would always come back to what He told back in 1977. Looking through my prayer journals I saw it clearly.

I was saying I’ll do anything for God, but not the one thing He wanted me to do. He was calling me, but I didn’t want to answer that particular call. I’ve now lost over 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013, but it took me until several months ago to fully understand how the answer He gave me was the first step towards my life’s calling.

Obedience First

He was calling me to be obedient. Remember the rich young ruler? Jesus told him to do one thing, which was to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. But he couldn’t do that. Mark 10:22 says, “At this, the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”

For years I was running away from God’s direction for me. He was calling me, but I didn’t like what He was saying. His answer to me was two-fold. He wanted me to do what was necessary for me to be healthy in order to stay here on earth. That was just the first step in order to become a Christian weight loss coach, author and podcaster, which was the second part of His call.

My calling and losing an extreme amount of weight were very interconnected. God did everything but shout it from the rooftops. Surrendering sugar and eventually gluten to Him, asking for His grace strength to help me lose weight and keep it off was my calling.

Surrender and Live

To the rich young ruler, money was his god. To me, indulging my appetite was my god. I had to surrender the foods I craved. I had to understand that for me sugar was very dangerous. If I wanted to live, I had to give it up.

I finally got His message. I had been living a very selfish life. I had to surrender my wants for His. I had to give control of every part of my life to Him. I had to lay it all down … everything, withholding nothing!

For years, I held on to sugar with tightly clenched fists daring God to pry it out of my hands, but God will never do that. He won’t take from us what we are not willing to give to Him.

We can take that thing to an early grave with us, but He will not violate our free will. He gave us choices so we would willingly choose to love Him. Our love is shown in how we follow and obey Him.

Jesus Wants Every Part of Us

The truth I’ve come to realize is that Jesus wants every stinking part of us. God won’t move us towards our real-life purpose until we have surrendered everything to Him. If there is even one thing we are still holding on to tightly, we are not ready to step into our purpose.

He won’t trust us with what He has for us until we trust Him with everything we are relying on in this life. This is why our surrender to Him must come before we step into our purpose.

God is more concerned about us fulfilling our callings than we are. He knows how we will mess up His plans, but He still helps us get back on the right path and headed towards our calling with purpose and determination to follow Him every step of the way.

When we surrender everything to Him, suddenly things will begin to happen we never in a million years imagined. We will be catapulted towards our calling even if we have been running from it all of our lives.

God is calling. What will your answer be?

For more on this topic, don’t miss Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast episode 71, God calling. Go here.


Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013.

Her books include: "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor"; "Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds"; "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy"; "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help": "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation"; and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, more information on both is available under the weight loss tab. Don't miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Find that under the podcast tab and anywhere you find podcasts.