It happened so fast I didn’t know how to react. My daughter, who was about 9 at the time, was in a middle school track event at the University of Missouri which happens to be in our home town. Stay tuned because I’m going to tell you how I failed. Not how I succeeded.

Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

Like a good mom I didn’t just want to drop her off on a huge university campus. I wanted to get her inside and signed up and then arrange to pick her up at the right time. That necessitated finding a parking place and trudging a mile or so to the right building.

OK, no big deal. I need exercise, but at 430 pounds this was no easy feat for me. It was driven by love for my daughter and nothing else! We got there and got her to the right place, but what happened on my very slow and laborious walk back to the car is forever etched in my memory.

I was focused on getting where I needed to go, not falling and just breathing so I could make what seemed like the endless walk to my car when I heard a sound like mooing. “Well, that’s strange,” I thought.”There are no cows around here.”

When I heard it again, I looked back behind me to see three college boys on the other side of the of the street pointing at me, laughing and yes, mooing, again!

I gave them my best stare, turned and kept walking. They kept laughing and mooing. And if I had never known it before, in that moment I knew I was a failure.

Bombarded With The Negative

Thoughts attacked me. “You deserve that. You are a failure. Look at you. You are a failure as a mom. You are a failure as a wife. You are a failure as a woman. You are nothing but a fat cow. Every single person that sees you wants to do the same thing those boys just did. They were just being honest with you.”

In the midst of all of that I never once felt or thought what might have helped me which was, “Well, yeah, but Jesus loves me. He calls me His child. He accepts me. He calls me beautiful.”

No, I felt God was secretly applauding those boys. Maybe God was even instrumental in their derision of me.

This sense of failure and condemnation go hand-in-hand. I felt I had failed and I expected maybe even invited, condemnation and shame to flood over me. Then when that poor, poor pitiful me syndrome happens, instead of using it to propel me to do something about my plight, I buried my sorrows in ice cream because the shop was on the way, I had time and I needed to sit and rest.

No Condemnation

God, though, does not and never has condemned me and won’t condemn you if you are His. “Now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One,” (Romans 8:1 TPT).

This doesn’t give me or you a license to continue doing whatever we want to do. His grace is there to rescue us every step of the way. We are to learn from our mistakes, leave them behind and go forward propelled by His grace power.

Paul explained this in the verse prior . “I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles,” (Romans 7:25 TPT).

Why did I continue to return to unhealthy foods that I knew were killing me? I was focused more on what my physical body wanted rather than what God wanted to do in me. One way He was trying to help me was to show me that wallowing in my failures and imperfections will get me nowhere.

Failures Teach Us

Instead I should learn that my failures teach me not to do that again or the consequences will be grave not because God has condemned me, but because my very body will. God knows that and so He tries to lead me away from the things that will harm me.

It’s one thing to understand that sugar, flour and foods made with those combinations can cause addiction which leads to super morbid obesity, disease and eventually death. But it’s another to understand there are real spiritual forces at work in our ice cream and cake.

Consider this scripture and apply it to things you crave physically that you know are slowly killing you. “Those who are motivated by the flesh (or foods we crave) only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set controlled by the Spirit finds life and peace,” (Romans 8:5-6 TPT).

Source of My Shame

God doesn’t condemn us. We do that to ourselves by our own choices. Even those college boys weren’t the source of my shame. No, I was shaming myself with every bite I took of the foods I knew God had told me were not the best choices for me.

This is why we must understand that the battle we fight is first spiritual. You might say, “Well I know the Scriptures, so why can’t I say no?” I came to realize that even though I fought this truth with everything within me, I really didn’t believe that God’s grace covers me and wipes away all condemnation. So since I was already condemned, I just kept going.

I didn’t believe that He could comfort me the way my familiar generational comfort foods always had. I wanted something tangible, physical, fleshly, carnal and therein lies the problem.

Until I got the truth in me that God does not condemn my failures but helps me rise above them, I could not even start the physical weight loss journey of losing more than 250 pounds.

This is why so many diets fail. This is why knowledge of what sugar does to us fails to deter us. This is why we can praise God and then, eat our fill in the buffet line after church.

We don’t really believe that we need God more than we need to stuff ourselves physically. Instead of running towards Him, we run from Him when we fail because we think we can’t face Him.

If we do that, our battle will continue until we come to the end of ourselves and realize we are not perfect and redeeming our failures is where God shines the best in our lives. This is why we can praise God and then, eat our fill in the buffet line after We are human and God is God. Only He knows what we need.

If these tips from Seven Keys for Spiritual Weight Loss are resonating with you, I urge you to run, don’t walk, and find out all about my Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy. It’s not open now, but you can get the details and sign up on the waitlist to get information when the doors do open. Go HERE.

In the meantime, if you are interested in one-on-one coaching, go HERE.



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.