Today:

I am a recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more day at a time.

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“When we face the guilt that truthfully tells us, ‘You made a mistake,’ we’re freed of shame that falsely tells us, ‘You are a mistake.’” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 43

 

I referenced this statement twice yesterday while describing my early recovery and my freedom from self-condemnation.  I find it strange that it should be here in today’s material, as if I needed to hear it yet again.  The strange thing about self-loathing, self-pity, self-condemnation, or whatever one decides to call it, is that it is false.  Anyone who asserts that their low opinion of themselves is more accurate than the Creator and Redeemer’s high value of them actually asserts himself above God.  This is where proper humility is actually liberating.  Letting God be God means I don’t have to be.  Hating myself for things beyond my control is insane.  I suspect I have done that in the past because it seemed easier than taking responsibility for the mistakes I made and the damage they had done.  If all of me was broken, than maybe I didn’t feel accountable for my actions.  These excuses were keeping me in the mire.

 

Excuses weren’t the only reason I was full of self-pity.  Occasionally, while expressing such dumpy feelings of self, someone would argue against my assertions of self-deprecation, and I would find my behavior rewarded with compliments.  Permission and reward are the two common elements of repeated behavior, so say the experts.  I permitted myself to berate me, the few people who hadn’t grown tired of it yet were there to reward me with praise, and I, like a true compulsive overeater, gobbled it all up!

 

Today, I can make a mistake without being a mistake, because God is God and I am not.  I can walk on sand, but not on water, and I am okay with that.  I will walk where God leads, mend the damage I do along the way, lovingly serve all I can, harm no one I can avoid harming, and seek ways to expand my circle of influence so that God can use me more.  My value comes, not from what I have done or failed to do, but in Whose I am.  Even in my worst condition, the Creator of the whole universe found me worth dying for!*  Who am I to argue that He is wrong?

 

(*Reference: Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”)

 

 

 

From Proverbs 10:

23 A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct,
but a man of understanding delights in wisdom.”

 

This verse just felt like it fit after reflecting on my old practices of fishing for compliments in the muddy waters of self-abasement and avoiding the work of responsibility for my actions.  God’s way works best, and it is worth me doing my part.

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ecclesiastes 1 through 6:

I was overcome with melancholy as I studied the text today.  I read through six chapters, hoping that, like the Psalms, this book would turn to hope.  Solomon examined the futility of life without the fulfillment that would come through the arrival of Christ many years after him.  If all there is in life is to live, toil, eat and die, how futile is that life!  Ecclesiastes 1:2, “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’”  With every verse I cringe to feel the pain of those living in the darkness Solomon knew then.  He hinted at the eternity in the heart of man (3:11), but resolved that since, like the animals, the wicked and the righteous, at the time of his understanding, all end up in the same grave (3:19), the living of life was futile, and the stillborn child was better off (6:3).  The writing of the wise man of the Old Testament proved that until the Good News of purpose and fulfillment in Immanuel arrived, even the greatest of wisdom only revealed the truth about the darkness and desperation of the world without Him.

 

Even after I came to this conclusion about the perspective of Solomon being one of a time Before Christ, and therefore without the hope I have known from childhood, I still could not wipe away my feeling of despair.  Not for Solomon, or from the residuals of his writing did I find myself glum, but for those in the world today who suffer from the same lack of hope this writing represents – those who, well within reach of salvation, flail about in their self-assurance, and desperately wonder with all inside them what they are missing and why they can’t seem to get hold of the truth.  What a shame that any should drown in reach of a lifeboat, or miss entirely the supernatural vitality that is a Spirit’s breath away!

 

Solomon’s was a relationship of obedience only; it was a one-way relationship, like that of a slave to his master.  The only promise for his contemporaries was that their service would one day end, and they would have rest from their troubles in a dark place known as Sheol, the grave.  No wonder angels rejoiced at the coming of the fulfillment of Life!  No wonder the world was forever changed by the arrival of God-man, Immanuel!  It spelled the explanation of the purpose of our existence, the Truth that this life is not futile, but is merely a momentary tribulation, intended to grow us into preparation for the True Life to come, like the pupal stage of an insect which will be changed to something entirely different upon completion.  It would be just as silly for a Grub to decide he was content being a Grub worm or, never having made acquaintance with an adult Beetle, choosing not to believe that insects exist at all, never realizing he is one.  Futile indeed!

 

Even in his wisdom, Solomon wrote from the perspective of total deprivation of the awareness of Man’s true purpose, power, and provision.  Glory to God, we scurry around now with understanding only a breath away!  Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  Romans 5:17, “For if, by the trespass of the one man (Adam), death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.”   John 10:10b, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  Hebrews 11:13, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.”  1 Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”

 

Redeemer of souls, I acknowledge that I do not belong here, but that I am an eternal being in a temporary place, occupying a temporary flesh.  I choose not to partake in the self-indulgence that would delude and intoxicate me against the Truth that I have purpose, power, and provision for abundant life in You, who came in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who died, was buried, and resurrected to send His Holy Spirit to as many as will accept Him, as a depository seal of the Life yet to come.  I call out to You, Creator, and recognize You as the One who is making me whatever I will become, and I thank You.  Keep me from driving unaware souls away from You by my poor representation and mediocrity, but continue to reveal in me the abundant life You intend for all, in the name of the God-man, Jesus.  Amen!

 

 

From The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 63:

“As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn.”

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