Abstinent Today:

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

I have had to change some of my plans this week to accommodate one of my lingering character defects – procrastination.  I had a project due, and I did not address it in a timely manner, so I forfeited my workout Friday to work on it, then stayed up late last night (this morning) to finish it in time for a meeting this afternoon.  In the process of moving my sleep, I forfeited my regular home OA meeting this morning.  I miss that meeting when I don’t make it!  Procrastination has outlived its usefulness!  Except in catering to my sloth, I’m not sure it ever had much usefulness in the first place.

Today marks sixteen years since my wife and I sat down together for our first date at a Sunday lunch.  I am grateful for her and for the time she has spent with me, that afternoon and every year since!

 

 

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“The writing process can be very healing because more than any other tool of our program, it gets us in touch with our true feelings. Writing clarifies emotions.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 71

When I was working in the technical fringe of the construction industry I noticed most workers had a favorite tool.  Mine was a pair of linesman pliers that my boss, who was to be my father-in-law, had given me.  They were the quality a young man like I was at the time could not afford on my own, and I used them on every job.  Even when I stripped off my tool belt to crawl into tight places, these went with me in a pocket or clutched in my teeth.  Years after their use was no longer constant, I found them rusted, with the plastic coating nearly worn off the handles.  I had them sand-blasted clean and re-coated, just to keep them serviceable.  I don’t work with wiring much anymore, so I rarely use them, but those old favorites remain in my garage, available for me if ever I should need them.

Having a favorite tool doesn’t mean I don’t value the others or even have circumstances when the favorite just won’t do.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t cut lumber or drill holes with pliers!  I value all the tools of recovery, and try to implement them in some way on a regular basis, but of all of them, writing is the one I favor the most.  It balances in my hand just perfectly and I can use it in almost all of my typical situations.  It was, and is, given to me by my Heavenly Father, and He uses it to help me meet myself and Him, and to connect the wiring of my life to the power of His Word.

Thank You, God, for the tools to do the job!

 

 

 

 

From Proverbs 13 (NLT):

Today’s chapter was like Program-in-a-Proverb!  The whole thing ministered to me.  This translation really brought it a clean, sharp edge that cut into me.  Look how these fit:

3b …opening your mouth can ruin everything.”

4a Lazy people want much but get little”

16 Wise people think before they act;
fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.”

19 It is pleasant to see dreams come true,
but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.”

 

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ezekiel 14:

Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When any Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the Lord will answer him myself in keeping with his great idolatry. I will do this to recapture the hearts of the people of Israel, who have all deserted me for their idols.’”

It should not amaze me that God’s presence, which is the most divine thing in all the universe, should be withheld when His children intentionally block their view of Him with other vain priorities.  The ultimate reward God can give is Himself!  I love that He is willing to share Himself freely with those who seek Him, but He emphatically hides Himself from those who wall themselves in with their obsessions.  This passage makes clear that the reason He is willing to cut Himself off from those who cut themselves off from Him is His passion to restore them to relationship with Him.  What an amazing paradox!

Click for video of Brady Bunch episode "Bad Luck, Come and Get Me"Most of us think of Peter Brady’s little wooden tiki, a gold calf, or some stone statue when we hear the word “idol,” but the addict has the advantage of knowing full well what it is like to have been ruled by a person, place or thing.  The reality that the stumbling block can make the whole man fall is very real to one who has fallen.  When the “cunning, baffling, and powerful” engulfs the one who immersed themselves in it, the eclipse of God’s power and provision seems total.  Perhaps this is why those who have escaped such personal prisons experience a level of spiritual exhilaration rarely felt or understood by those who were never imprisoned or who have not yet recognized their captivity.

In the second half of the chapter, God described the four “dreaded judgments” of sword, famine, beasts and plague, promising that righteousness would only save individuals and not whole groups.  He made reference to three of His champions, Noah, Job and Daniel, and said that none of them, by their righteousness, could save even their sons or daughters.  We will not be saved by association with any other but Emmanuel Invisible, the Holy Spirit of Christ, God Himself.   (Side note: Wouldn’t it be great to be mentioned among God’s champions?)  He promised that, in hindsight, His actions would be obviously warranted.

23 You will be consoled when you see their conduct and their actions, for you will know that I have done nothing in it without cause, declares the Sovereign Lord.”

Thank You, God, for loving me enough to discipline me by whatever means necessary to restore us to relationship.  Grant that I might remain connected to You, so that I might enjoy the positive reinforcement, rather than just avoid the negative.  Help me stay teachable, to find the purpose in any pain, so I might help others through theirs, and might guide those willing to follow around the destructive departures from Your will, that I have so willfully perpetrated in my life.  Thank You for forgiveness.  Help me translate it to others.

 

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 58 and 59:

“Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power—that One is God. May you find Him now!”

 

 

 

 

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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