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:

“Humility is at the heart of Step Seven… We ask Him to remove OUR shortcomings, not those of the people who have harmed us.” — A Guide to the Twelve Steps for You and Your Sponsor, p. 11

Ask anyone who knew me before recovery.  I was expert at identifying the defects of others.  I could find a microscopic speck in your eye from fifty paces, even with a plank of lumber (or, more likely, wooden spoon) in my own!  I could have a person’s inventory done in alphabetical order within an hour of meeting them with the efficiency of an encyclopedia.  It was a great preoccupation, since it distracted me from doing my own.  Unfortunately, those of us who do not like our character find it easier to sully the character of others than to tidy up ourselves.  The problem with following that trend is that it inevitably leads us to frustration, and circles the drain as anger, bitterness, more frustration, and our emotional health begins to spin dizzily as the gurgling flush spirals downward to ultimate despair.

The VOR contributor put it nicely, “Serenity is a great exchange for giving up blaming.”  Freedom comes from forgiveness, and forgiveness is a two-way relationship between three entities: God, mankind, and me.  At the conclusion of what would be called “The Lord’s Prayer,” the Lord explained to His disciples, “14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

I am still reeling from reading “wrath” among the “seven deadly sins” in yesterday’s devotion.  How much of my life have I wasted my energy on wrath?  Looking back, it seems so silly to even consider that I possessed significant power to exert any wrath.  I must have looked like a cornered puppy, helpless and pathetic, but with his tiny teeth bared.  Wrath, or rage, as I have called it, is hateful anger, resentments full-blown, and it has never been an appropriate part of my character.  I thank God for the work He is doing in me to relieve me of it and my other defects one moment, one day, one experience at a time.

From Proverbs 7:

At the window of my house
I looked out through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who lacked judgment.”

Here is an adolescent within peeping distance of the wisest man in history, creeping around looking, not for wisdom, but for the folly that will corrupt his soul and end his life.  The deficiency?  Judgment!  The ability to discern what is proper and what is not, what is good and what is evil, what will contribute to healthy outcomes and what will destroy.

How does one know if he lacks judgment?  I guess if one has a jealous husband gunning for him, it might be a clue, but surely there must be a better way than to glance around every few seconds, checking for vengeful gunmen.  Maybe a better way is to assume that I have none, and beg humbly for it every day, searching for it as for treasure. (Reference Proverbs 2:4)    “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)  This is why the last part of the Serenity Prayer is as important as the first.

Lord, find me faithful to seek You and Your will, for Your will is always along the path of goodness and wisdom. I trust You with my life, for it is You who created it and You who sustains it.  Let me not be misled by the desires of my flesh to the paths of destruction.

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Isaiah 39:

This chapter contains a historical reference to events detailed in 2 Kings 20, when Hezekiah entertained guests from Babylon and showed them all his treasuries, guarding nothing, but in his vanity escorted them throughout his entire palace.  Even as Isaiah prophesied a curse to the king, he didn’t understand what was being said, and thought it was a pronouncement of peace between the two nations.  What will follow will be a complete ransacking of Jerusalem.

One lesson I get from this is that there are some things for sharing with fellows and some things are to be reserved for more intimate relationships.  There are times to embrace and times to refrain, as Ecclesiastes 3 says.  God demonstrated this when He gave the design for His temple.  There were outer courts where visitors were allowed, inner courts for only the ceremonially clean Jews, holy places reserved for priests, and the Holy of Holies where only the high priest could go only at certain times for certain purposes and always according to a prescribed method.  I have a certain amount of transparency in this medium, thanks to the cloak of anonymity, but I acknowledge that the best things of my relationship with God in Christ are not shared here.  Certainly many if not most are, but the spiritual intercourse between God and man is first and foremost between God and each singular man, woman, or child.  He is a personal Savior, so it stands to reason that the best of the best parts of relationship with Him are also personal.

The other thing I learn from the story of Hezekiah, especially with reference to his blissful interpretation of Isaiah’s prophecy, is that the clueless don’t know they are clueless.  This goes back to my thoughts on wisdom.  How do I know if I am foolish, when as soon as I think I am wise I prove myself a fool?  If the adulteress “eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong,’” (Reference Proverbs 30:20) how does one know they are an adulteress?  In meetings recently, I listened to different people describe their life back when they were insane, each convinced that they had arrived at a place of sanity.  But, as I listened to each of them describe their lives, I knew they had at least as far to go as they had come.  I wondered how far I would have to go before I could look back and say, “It is finished!”  Perhaps I never will.  Maybe a better goal is to be able to look back at whatever segment of path God leads me through each day, and say as I commit my soul to Him for the night, “That was a road well traveled.  Thank You for seeing me through it.”

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 86:

“When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.” … “But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others.”