I am abstinent by the grace of God, one more day at a time.  Often, I do what I do without ever knowing whether it is of benefit to anyone.  I can look back over a day and evaluate, with at least some certainty, if I have harmed anyone, but help is more subjective in some cases.  Yesterday, I received a heart-warming report of the ripple effect of some of the pebbles God has allowed me to drop in the waters of His creation.  It refueled my determination to keep on keeping on.  Recovery from my preoccupation with self-service requires doing what I know to do rather than what I feel like, and service is no exception.  Because I cannot always see or feel the rewards of service, doubt can give rise to discouragement if I let it. A craving for instant gratification is part of my diseased thinking, and it translates into this area of service too.   My hope is to share the encouragement I received: that any doubt is a lie, and service is always rewarding, even when the benefits are not seen or felt.

 

 

From Today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

I thought normal-weight people had no problems, and I envied them. Now I realize that ‘normal’ people deal with difficulties rather than pushing them down with food. With my Higher Power’s help, I, too, can recover.

I had a few false expectations of what life would be like at a normal weight. Living healthy is certainly a miraculous way of life, but it was silly of me to think that problems like sinus inflammation would disappear just because I lost weight.  The unexpected benefits of spiritual recovery more than compensate for any disappointments that resulted from my overactive imagination. It is this part of recovery that goes “beyond our wildest dreams.”  A recent Lifeline publication quoted a slogan I had never heard, “Face your stuff, don’t stuff your face.”  Since my sponsor kept me rooted solidly in the Steps of recovery, I had no choice but to face my stuff.  Having developed the habit of continually doing this, life on this side of the “arch” is infinitely better, regardless of the other realities of life.

From Proverbs Chapter 16:

24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

The gratifying piece of feedback I got yesterday reminded me of the importance of sharing positive feedback with others.  The Apostle Paul instructed, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)  The deceit of sin is self-centered doubt, and it has no place in the life of a spiritual reflector of the Light of Life.  Fellowship is a community of encouragers helping each other avoid that life-draining doubt.  We have a duty to each other to share those “pleasant words” that are “sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Chronicles 30:

Hezekiah did the extraordinary, even when the best circumstances did not present themselves.  The letter of the Law dictated that Passover was to be observed in the first month of Israel’s calendar, but things were not ready at that time, and many years had passed since it was observed at all.  Hezekiah sent out invitations to all Israel and Judah to a Passover celebration to be held a month late. “6 Return to the LORD … that he may return to you …8 Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the LORD.”  Even then, due to travel and other circumstances, many were not ceremonially clean according to the Law, but God answered Hezekiah’s prayer, “18 May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets his heart on seeking God—the LORD, the God of his fathers—even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” Accepting them as they were, as He does now, God showed His favor and blessed the assembly.  “26 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”  What I take from this is that God apparently wants relationship with us more than He is interested in rules and procedures.  He, like the father of the Prodigal,* rushes to greet us with a warm embrace, though we have just come from the pig farm, figuratively speaking.  He wants our return to Him more than anything else, and there is great joy to be shared when we respond to His invitation and submit.

In a manner befitting the role of Universal Orchestrator, God tossed a little pitch on encouragement into the middle of this account, “22 Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites, who showed good understanding of the service of the LORD.”  His encouragement is not credited with it in the text, but following this statement is a report that the men ate their portions, praised God, and became willing to do even more, including double the length of the one-week ceremony to two weeks.  If encouragement can double the efforts of the recipient, that is a good reason to speak up!

(* The story of the Prodigal  or Lost Son is found in Luke 15:11-32.)

From The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 55:

If our testimony helps sweep away prejudice, enables you to think honestly, encourages you to search diligently within yourself, then, if you wish, you can join us on the Broad Highway. With this attitude you cannot fail.

3 John 2, “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – OD@aT

~TLJax

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