Abstinent Today:

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

I feel as though I was short-changed on my spiritual walk yesterday, when the plans of the day swept me away from my regular devotion time and kept sweeping all day long.  I am torn between getting up earlier on Saturdays to do what my spirit needs and getting the sleep I know my body needs after working until 1:00 am.  The doctor says sleep is the priority, but I am beginning to wonder.  She may be biased toward physical health.

I have been troubled the last couple days by a horrible nightmare I had.  My family was walking past a large swampy lake and noticed just at the bank nearest us was a titanic crocodile.  (We don’t have crocodiles in our area, just alligators, and this one was too colossal to be natural.)  As I was hurrying my family past it, my son defied me and the crocodile and jumped on its neck, pretending to ride it like a cowboy.  Moments later I saw him swallowed, head first, up to his britches.  I spent the next moments on the giant reptile myself, trying to hack an airway for my son into its neck and figure out a way to kill it without harming Junior.  I woke up panicked and overwhelmed with helplessness, and that fear had residual effects on me even after I had convinced myself it was all a dream.  The next night, I dreamed of having affairs and eating cake, and woke up with all sorts of guilt and shame that were as difficult to wash away as the fear of the night before.

It was in this miserable emotional stupor that I began my day yesterday, and that may account for some of my lack of satisfaction with my spiritual walk.  The rest was likely on account of the cursory nature of my prayers yesterday, the postponing of my reading and reflection until after the supper hour, and the abbreviated version of my writing when I finally did it.  I know that God is always wherever I am, but I seem to need a sort of gearing down (or up) in order to let Him “Take Me Into The Beautiful” as the song by Cloverton puts it.  No doubt, my prioritizing the day’s business over the together time with God shoved His power away from my dealings with the rest of the day.

Today, I choose to celebrate my love for God and His for me, above and before all else!

 Take Me Into The Beautiful, by Cloverton

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“There will be times when we’re faced with an important decision and want to know our Higher Power’s will. Our sponsor or OA friend might suggest that we pray about it, asking God to increase our desire to take the action if we are supposed to take it, or decrease our desire if we’re not supposed to take it.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 97

When I was growing up my mother used to bore and bother me with this answer.  Every time I came to her with a dilemma her response was, “Have you prayed about it?”  Of course the answer was always “no,” and I always went away feeling like I had got a chiding rather than the help I expected or thought I deserved.  I never really developed the habit of going to God first.  Somehow, turning my will and my life over to the care of God as a daily process of Step Three has made that a little more automatic.

What would You have me do, God?  Your will be done!

From Proverbs 9:

17 ‘Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious!’
18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of the grave.[a]

That brazen temptress, Folly, seems to be there when I am at my weakest, like a prowling lion seeking whom it may devour.  She also tends to be readily available when I am filled with cocky self-assurance, feeling like I could take on the beast, jumping on for a joyride.  I know sometimes dreams are just dreams and don’t mean a thing (References: Jeremiah 23:32, 27:9, 29:8), but perhaps the dream of Junior’s attack could be viewed as a lesson for me!  The ancient serpent, the devil, is always looking for an opportunity to steal, kill and destroy. (References: John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8,  Revelation 12:9)   My guard needs to be up at all times, and especially when I am weakened.  Right alignment with and connection to God cannot take a holiday!

I found this while looking up my references, and it is just what I was looking for!  It is amazing how well it knits together with the theme from Jeremiah’s prophecies concerning Jerusalem lately.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  1 Peter 5:6-9

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Jeremiah 35:

This chapter is subtitled in the NIV “The Recabites” but I might rename it “The Abstinent Family.”  Jeremiah was instructed to invite this clan to the Temple and offer them wine, which they refused on account of a command of their forefather to remain abstinent from wine, permanent domicile, farm, or produce.  They were to be nomads, living in tents, and to this they were faithful.  God used them as an object lesson for the rest of Israel.

14 Jonadab son of Recab ordered his sons not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, ‘Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your fathers.’ But you have not paid attention or listened to me.”

19 Therefore, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Jonadab son of Recab will never fail to have a man to serve me.’”

May the self-denial I practice and observe be one that radiates devotion to God and relationship with Him, not for my reputation or even for my healthy benefit as much as His glory.  May my walk with God be “More Like Falling in Love” than something to believe in.

 More Like Falling In Love, by Jason Gray

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “Bill’s Story” page 13:

“My friend promised when these things were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered all my problems.”

(For the sake of accountability, the details of my eating are posted in my online food log.)

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