Sermon Illustrations

JULIE HADDEN: PRECIOUS TO GOD

Julie Hadden, Winner of Season 4 of the TV show the Biggest Loser, told her story in a 2009 issue of Guideposts:

I went to the auditions and made it on the show. Our first challenge was a race across California's Mojave Desert. First two contestants to get to the trainers Bob and Kim would get to choose their weight loss teammates. Those not picked would have to go home.

"It must be a hundred degrees out here," I thought, looking at the sandy stretch in front of me that seemed to go on for miles. "I'll never make it."

Huffing and puffing, eyes blinded with sweat, I finally reached the finish line. But I wasn't picked for either team. I'd blown my chance.

Then I heard the roar of a motorcycle. Jillian, the 3rd trainer on the show, rode up to me and the rest of the rejects. "The others don't think you can lose the weight," said said. "We're going to prove them wrong." I could barely contain my happiness.

Our group worked out for a week in the desert, staying in spartan dorms, away from the comfy confines of the other teams. The happiness I'd felt quickly faded. Jillian's workouts were unforgiving, every part of me burned.

One day she kicked me out of the gym. I collapsed on the bed in my dorm room. I pulled off my sneakers and threw them to the ground. Sand flew everywhere, picked up from all our time running in the desert. I grabbed one shoe and flipped it over. The grains of sand sifted through my fingers, too many to count. Then the words of my favorite psalm came to me. "How precious are your thoughts about me, oh, God. Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand." I watched the sand settle onto the floor, and for the first time, I thought about what those words really meant. My weight didn't make me worthless. I may have failed before, and failed often, but I wasn't a failure. I was precious to God.

This was the turning point in her weight loss and life.

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