From Voices of Recovery:

“Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity.” – Tradition One

The contributor goes on to describe divisions in OA at the time of the writing, and then makes a valuable point, “The only message I can carry is my own recovery.  I do not need to have everyone recover ‘my way.’  You need the freedom to recover ‘your way.’” The closing sums up the moral, “Let’s be open-minded and non-judgmental.”  It is easy for me to fall back into the disease of self-will when I celebrate a little success in my physical recovery and do not arrest the inflated ego that can come from it.  Before long, I’m grumbling at other drivers on the road, manipulating others with passive aggression, or asserting my will, wish, and way on others who didn’t ask for it – everything about my disease except the eating.  I have to remember that abstinence is hard when the food fog is lifted until the wreckage is cleared away.  If I start piling up wreckage again, sooner or later, if I do not stop the wrecking and clear off my deck, I will feel the need to medicate it again, hide it, avoid it, retreat and eat.  I have to be diligent about living each moment, every day, as divorced from my own will as I can.  I caused my life to be unmanageable.  Why would I inflict that same damaging will on others?

Precious Father, guide me with Your firm but gentle hand.  Keep me in Your will, far from mine.  Forbid that I should assert my will, wish, or way in the lives or moments of Your other children, but to trust You to care for them as You do me.

From Proverbs 5:

21For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.

There is no such thing as “secret sin,” because the ones we separate by sinning are God and ourselves, the two who already know about the sin.  This chapter specifically addresses the sins of adultery and lust, but I maintain that the sin of self-indulgence is at the root of these, just like it is at the root of compulsive overeating.  Verse 3 and part of 4 even call the adulteress by food terms: dripping honey, smooth oil, and bitter gall.  The One who sees all can see all my paths and ways, so I should not be surprised when I come to dead-ends in my journey when I have asked for His guidance.  Instead, I should see those obstructions as the hand of the Divine Conductor, moving me to a better path.  Repeatedly trusting Him in prayer keeps me looking for His interventions, and celebrating my awareness of them when they occur, rather than resenting that I missed out on my way.

My daughter has always been a puzzle genius.  I have never shared her ability to see the big picture.  This verse credits the Almighty with the omniscience that allows Him to consider every option, follow it to its end, and select for us the best way, mingling it with our surroundings to get us the best result.  That makes prayer a sort of life-line connection to someone who has the answer key in His hands.

Lord, keep me under the fountain of Your grace.  Do not allow that I should wither in the dry, barren wasteland to which the path of my self-will always leads.

From my reading through the Bible, currently in 1 Chronicles 4 and 5:

Yesterday I mentioned that I am amused to read the things that make the author of a genealogy pause from the rhythm of his cadence to highlight a life or event in history.  Today’s reading did not disappoint.  In the middle of the list of the clans of Judah, the author stopped to mention one man, Jabez.  In 2000, Bruce Wilkinson occupied the minds of many with a small book turned popular phenomenon, The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life, which was written about this man and the few words spoken of him in Scripture.  Jabez was named after the Hebrew word “pain” because of his difficult childbirth; he was described as, “9more honorable than his brothers;” and was most noted for his prayer and the fact that God answered it.  The prayer was simply this:

 “10Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!  Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.

 In Chapter 5, the author pauses from his list of the clans of Reuben to describe the faithful prayers of the fighting men of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh, who were helped, “20because they cried out to him during the battle.  He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him.”

Two things I take from these interruptions in the arrangement of ancestral archives: that God responds to invitation; and that He honors the prayers of those who rely on Him.  In each case, those doing the praying invited God to be with them.  Jabez petitioned, “Let your hand be with me, and keep me…” and the warriors of Reuben prepared themselves for battle but also cried out to Him in the midst of it.  The attributes described of the two parties are honor and faith. The prayers themselves indicate reliance on God.  Some argue that the prayer of Jabez is self-centered.  Without an honorable style of life, which we are told characterized Jabez’s life, it would be.  With words of humility that might characterize such a life, that prayer might sound something like this:

 “God, I offer myself to Thee,

to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.

Relieve me of the bondage of self,

that I may better do Thy will.

Take away my difficulties,

that victory over them

may bear witness to those I would help,

of Thy power, Thy love, and Thy way of life.

May I do Thy will always!”

  ~ The Step Three Prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous

Great Provider, may my life be one characterized by honor, faith, and a humble reliance on You.

From The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pages 104-105:

We discover that we do receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent that we stop making demands upon God to give it to us on order and on our terms.  Almost any experienced A.A. will tell how his affairs have taken remarkable and unexpected turns for the better as he tried to improve his conscious contact with God.  He will also report that out of every season of grief or suffering, when the hand of God seemed heavy or even unjust, new lessons for living were learned, new resources of courage were uncovered, and that finally, inescapably, the conviction came that God does ‘move in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.’

Have a blessed day (OD@aT)

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