I picked the book up off my shelf. I had heard the title calling to me for a couple of weeks. In reality, I hadn’t even remembered buying the book. But the phrase, “ditch the baggage,” was on repeat in my head. I don’t know about you, but when that happens to me it’s usually God trying to get my attention.

Jesus-baggage-no-wordsThe Book

All of sudden, there it was Ditch the Baggage by Nancy Alcorn. I’d bought it at the Designed for Life Conference back in October. As founder and president of Mercy Ministries, Nancy has helped lead thousands of young women find freedom from addictions and overwhelming life issues in the 30 plus years the ministry has existed.

I immediately noticed the subtitle, Change Your Life, and then the circle with the words 7 Keys to Lasting Freedom. Immediately I was frustrated. I had spent months writing a book around this same topic. Was my book useless now? How could I compete with Nancy Alcorn? Did I write my book for no reason?

Seven Keys to Freedom

I felt the calm and gentle presence of the Holy Spirit urging me on to read Nancy’s book. And so I did. In that place of struggle and sense of deadline to finish my own project, I began reading.

The first thing I saw were her seven keys. They could have come straight from my book. They are: Total commitment to freedom, Healing life’s hurts, Getting God’s perspective on your life, Choosing to forgive, Breaking your family’s generational patterns, The power to choose freedom over oppression and How to maintain lifelong freedom.

Her Book Validates Mine

As I read through Nancy’s book, I realized Sweet Freedom, the book I was writing, dovetailed with her’s. Where she shares principles and then gives short examples of women who have incorporated these into their lives, I share my journey in a more intimate, transparent and in-depth manner. Her book validates mine and vice versa.

“The idea of going back to past hurts means unlocking the box with all the emotions in it—a dangerous and scary idea,” Nancy writes. “Vulnerability may seem risky, but with God there is safety…Your emotions help you acknowledge the truth of what you went through—someone or something hurt you—and allow Jesus to heal your heart.”

I say a hearty “amen” to those statements and many others in Ditch the Baggage. I was lugging around steamer trunks full of emotional junk, misbeliefs and every sort of lie imaginable. There were situations I misinterpreted as harmful and some I didn’t misinterpret which were downright debilitating. They happened at ages when I couldn’t process them correctly.

My Baggage

So, I just tucked them away in a suitcase. I continued collecting them until I had to gather bigger and bigger containers to stuff them in. I buried them in deep, dark places in my soul. They would scream at me and I would have to feed them to keep them quiet.

It was impossible for me to carry these heavy burdens on my own, yet I had been trying for years. When I finally handed all my heavy steamer trunks to Him, He not only carried them easily, but I never saw that baggage again. It was such Sweet Freedom to never have to lug all that around with me again.

Letting Go

When I let go of all of that, completely let it go never to retrieve it again, my victory was sealed. It was the moment I stepped into that place of Sweet Grace. It really is impossible to describe how it happened, but in Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God’s Help, I attempt to do just that.

I now walk in fellowship with the Master, who won’t allow me to bring baggage on my journey. When He knows I’ve picked up even a carry-on bag, the journey stops. It stays on pause until I allow Him to take that bag and throw it into the deepest ocean. I know as heavy as even one of my carry-on bags is, it will never rise again.

Where I’m headed there is no baggage allowed. Yet still I dare to come just as I am.


My new book, Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God’s Help, will be out in February. Apply now if you want a pre-release digital copy of Sweet Freedom.  You will need to promise to write a review on Amazon and post information about Sweet Freedom on your Facebook page.

To apply email [email protected] by Jan. 20, 2016. In the subject line write Sweet Freedom Book Launch. Tell me why you want to be on the team, how many are on your facebook page and what ways you will share Sweet Freedom with others. Also give me your name and Facebook page url. Let’s shout His Sweet Freedom far and wide. If accepted you will be invited to the Sweet Freedom Book Launch Group forming now.

While waiting for Sweet Freedom, if you haven’t read my first book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds be sure and get a copy on Amazon (and write a review, please).

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "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, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.