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Abstinent Today:

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

My date with my precious bride yesterday took me away from my planned lunch, and the conservative choices at the restaurant fell short of my plan of eating range for that meal.  I didn’t worry about it, enjoyed our time together, and made up the short deficit in the following meals without exceeding the planned limits for either of them.  An amazing thing happened yesterday: Mrs. TL enjoyed her time with me too.  I could get used to this!

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Every character defect we have today has been useful to us at some point in our lives, and we need to recognize that fact.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 57

This is not what lingered in my mind after reading today’s entry, but it was the root of the thought.  What really struck me was the contributor’s closing statement:

“God will never leave me empty. By His grace, I shall always survive.”

It is fear that drives most, if not all, of my character defects.  I’m afraid I won’t be enough, so I overdo, power-hog, or trample on others.  The bite of my tongue is sharpened by the fear I won’t be accepted, appreciated, loved or respected.  Every defect can be traced back to self-centeredness, usually through fear.  As God becomes more and more in control of every fiber of who I am and what I do, I am relieved of these worries and the defects they produce.  As I continue to derive my value from God’s esteem for me, I am less concerned about the opinions of others and more aware of their need for the same grace that is saving me, “perhaps spiritually sick,” as the Big Book puts it.

God will never leave me nor forsake me, so even if my worst case scenario plays out, I can trust that my life will be in His hands, right where I left it, as long as I do not snatch it back from Him.  Today, I lay my life in God’s hands, leaning back into the arms that created me, saved me, and continue to love me, and I will not be afraid!

From Proverbs 7 (NLT):

Obey my commands and live!
Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.[a]

Have you ever tried not to blink when your eye was threatened?  Ever get startled by something close to your face and not throw up your hands?  The Creator programmed us to protect our eyes, and this proverb calls us to just as automatically guard the instructions of Wisdom and the wise Father.

Precious Papa, keep me alert to defend what You have deposited in me, but to wholly rely on You to defend me, its container.  Make me a warrior of spirit-defense, not of self-defense.

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ezekiel 2 and 3:

God lifted Ezekiel to his feet and gave him his charge to speak to the rebellious people of Israel, now in Babylonian exile.  Most of the directive addressed Ezekiel’s fear.

2:6 And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.”  (Also in Chapter 3, verse 9.)

God gave Ezekiel a scroll to eat, covered with words of woe and lament.  It was sweet as he ate it, but he was then given the task of taking God’s word to the people.

Lord, fill me with Your Word, so that wherever You send me, I will have You to share with the people that so desperately need the sweet hope that comes from knowing You love them.

From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions page 76:

“The chief activator of our defects has been self-centered fear – primarily fear that we would lose something we already possessed or would fail to get something we demanded.  Living upon a basis of unsatisfied demands, we were in a state of continual disturbance and frustration.  Therefore, no peace was to be had unless we could find a means of reducing these demands.”

Footnotes:

*Abstinence began for me on May 11th, 2010.

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

In order to get a fresh perspective, I switched from using the New International Version (NIV or “NIV1984”) to a version I have not used before, the New Living Translation (NLT), just for this month’s reading of Proverbs.  I normally avoid switching, because it confuses my attempts at memorization, but I thought it might shed light on the old truths from a different angle and exercise my willingness with a little change.

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