Today:

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

I had a great morning with family visiting from out-of-town yesterday, followed by an afternoon of rest, and an amazing thing – a surprising relief of the need to be involved in everyone else’s day.  These made their plans, those made theirs.  When I didn’t fit into any of them, I was perfectly content with that and capitalized it as an opportunity to get some rest and catch up on chores.  It wasn’t about me, and that was acceptable.  Astonishing!

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.” — Just For Today

I began reading the “Just For Today” wallet card after my first meeting, and am grateful for it.  As I recall, it was a few days before I could actually commit to anything on it, but it gave me something to shoot for that wasn’t as overwhelming as the stack of recommended books.  This card and the pamphlets in my “Welcome Packet” were what jump-started my recovery.

This concept of a half-hour of quiet time seemed impossible at the time.  I was too busy running the universe back then to take a half-hour off.  It would certainly fall apart if I set it down for that long.  Right?  Boy, was I in need of the “better perspective” I was too busy to get!  When I finally did allow myself to take those brief moments, I found freedom and energy I had not known.  God not only removes from me the burden keeping me weary, but He gives me energy to get up and move.  Today, my half-hour has grown to almost two, and I awake early every morning just to spend that time listening, being loved, and sharing that love with as many as will find it.

I share the experience described by the VOR contributor:

“Sometimes He gives me the willingness and the courage to face people and situations with the truths I need to express to them. Always, I am refreshed and renewed for finishing my day without the need for overeating, secure in the knowledge that I am loved.”

There are a few things that my Higher Power reminds me on a regular basis, and He does this when I quiet my perception of the world and listen to His.  They are: that He created me, He loves me, He is with me, He is powerful enough for me, He saves me, and that He will collect me to Himself.   These all have relationship at the heart of them, and it is that relationship I spend these moments building.  What marriage, friendship, or association can survive without some fellowship, communication, or interaction?  What good is it to claim association with a Higher Power if I never plug into it, but choose to remain powerless?  I offer myself to God, to build with me and to do with me whatever He chooses.  Omission of this is paramount to neglecting the relationship.

 

From Proverbs 16:

The problem with dead religion, the lifeless kind that stagnates at the level of mere obedience, is that it revolves around self and not God.  Often, such religion degenerates into self-righteousness, characterized by “better-than” comparisons to others. Sure, it has belief in God as a starting point but, as James points out, even the demons believe in God…and shudder! (James 2:19)  The relationship God wants with man is apparently the kind described in the first half of the verse I read today, even though man’s response has its beginnings in the second half.

Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.”

Fear is a great motivator for starters, but it is a lousy maintainer, and hardly a basis for deep, intimate relationship.  Love and faithfulness, on the other hand, move mountains, lift souls and bind spirits!  It is God’s love and faithfulness and His desire for ours that moved Him to leave Heaven, be born of man, and personally rescue us from our sinful condition of isolation from Him.  What better response than to spend time aligning spirit to Spirit, creation to Creator, tool to Tender, subject to King?

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Isaiah 47:

Chapter 47 of Isaiah’s prophecy is addressed to the “daughter of Babylon.”  Whatever nation or people that refers to, I can see spiritual parallels to the character of any and all who live in rebellion from the relationship to which this morning’s meditations refer.  This includes me when I have lived, or attempt to live, in such a condition of “agnostic temperament.”  (Reference: Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 46)

‘Now then, listen, you wanton creature,
lounging in your security
and saying to yourself,
‘I am, and there is none besides me…’”

10 You have trusted in your wickedness
and have said, ‘No one sees me.’
Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you
when you say to yourself,
‘I am, and there is none besides me.’”

Chapter 48 is addressed to Israel and, in contrast to the previous, establishes hope to even the stiff-necked rebellious for the sake of God’s own reputation.  Those to whom God has assigned redemption are called away from their rebellion.

20 Leave Babylon,
flee from the Babylonians!
Announce this with shouts of joy
and proclaim it.
Send it out to the ends of the earth;
say, ‘The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob.’
21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock
and water gushed out.’”

Israel is the historical prototype for the spirit of mankind: in bondage, redeemed by God, led through a wilderness, tempted by discontent, provided for, and ultimately delivered to a Promised Land, where God inhabited the temple among them.  Though delivered, they re-enslaved themselves, much as we have a tendency to do today.  Pride opened them to attack and plunder, as self-centeredness often warps the religion of the shallow, leaving our spirits wide open to the invasion of the destroyer, portrayed in history as the Babylonian Empire.  Verse 21 makes reference, by historical allusion to Moses’ rock in the desert, but through allegory, to Christ the Rock, who would later be broken, opening the flow of the Living Water of the Holy Spirit that sustains truly abundant Life.

There is little that does worse for the reputation of God than the re-enslaved saved.  The populace knows them as “hypocrites,” and they are the most repellent beings on Earth.  Even God says they make Him want to vomit.  Revelation 3:15-16, “15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”  If, as He has declared through Isaiah, God is faithful to His for His own reputation, then the beneficiaries of His faithfulness have a duty to remain faithful to that reputation and not sully the Name of the One who is faithful.

Thank You, Great Father, for freeing me from the bondage of self, for leading me through my wilderness, for giving me my daily provision, and for the promise of togetherness with You.  Help me diligently to follow Your Way and never return to mine.  Let me not be again enslaved to that from which You saved me.  For fear of that I turn to You; for love of You, I remain and abide; for the hope of Your faithfulness, I gratefully trust.  In the name of Jesus, Who bridges the gap between flesh and Spirit, Amen!

 

From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 78:

“The moment we ponder a twisted or broken relationship with another person, our emotions go on the defensive.  To escape looking at the wrongs we have done another, we resentfully focus on the wrong he has done us.  This is especially true if he has, in fact, behaved badly at all.  Triumphantly we seize upon his misbehavior as the perfect excuse for minimizing or forgetting our own.”

God, clear away the wreckage of any resentment toward You or Yours that I have developed as merely a distraction from my own wrongdoing.  Help me keep from using blame to cover my shame, but instead to enjoy the complete washing of Your forgiveness.

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