Abstinent Today:

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

I exceeded my plan of eating limits yesterday by accidental oversight.  I thought I was short of my dinnertime calorie goal, so I added something to compensate for the shortage.  Later, after it was too late, I remembered I put chick peas on my dinner salad that I had forgotten to add to the equation.  The result was 84 calories of excess.  Because this did not constitute “a total disregard for planned eating limits,” I do not consider it a lapse in anything but judgment and planning.  Still, rigorous honesty requires that I report it.  Moving on!

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“It is in the OA message—in our Steps and Traditions—that we find solutions to our problems. Living by these principles has saved our lives.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, pp. 146-147

I recently did some research on the topic of the principles of the Twelve Steps, and learned that AA does not define theirs, except by defining the Steps and Traditions themselves and concluding the list with a commitment in Step Twelve to “practice these principles in all our affairs,” so that the Steps and Traditions themselves are the principles.   OA eliminated any doubt by describing the principles beginning on page 103 of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous as: “honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, self-discipline, love for others, perseverance, spiritual awareness, and service.”  There are another twelve for the Traditions.

When I look at this list, I see an admirable list of character traits I want for myself, but as was the case with the Boy Scout Law, the Fruits of the Spirit, and even the Ten Commandments, I saw that I fall desperately short.  One might ask, “How can I be all these things?”  The answer is the Twelve Steps.  By living the Steps daily, I will be acting as if these character traits are mine.  By making this way of life a habit, these principles fold themselves into my character, flipping my defects upside-down and out of sight.  God does for me what I could not do for myself!

 

 

From Proverbs 19 (NLT):

23 Fear of the Lord leads to life,
bringing security and protection from harm.”

Yesterday, I read that the name of the Lord is a strong tower of safety.  Today, the word “fear” is introduced regarding the Loving Provider.  This is enigmatic and a stumbling block to many, including me on occasion.  I think reverent fear is a matter of regard and disregard.  It is the answer to the question, “Is God bigger than whatever I may face?”  Put another way, “Will I revere my obstacle as bigger than my faith in God?”  When I choose to limit God by my regard for my trouble, I actually make an idol of the obstacle.  God will not remove idols from my life that I choose to put there.  He will, however reward those who tear them down to seek God.  I am reminded of Asa, king of Judah.

11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. 12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made.” (1 Kings 15:11-12)

A good explanation of this proverb can be found in what God’s prophet told King Asa in 2 Chronicles 15:2:

“He went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.’”

The security and protection comes when we adhere ourselves by faith to the One who can help us.  I heard an account of a co-worker who recently took his family to an amusement park that was doing the scary, spooky stuff in observance of Halloween.  He said his eight-year-old son spent the whole night cowering in his dad’s jacket, hiding his eyes from all the zombies and mummies that wandered around scaring people.  Similarly, we wander in a world of prowling death.  We compulsive eaters know that every market and every medium seem to scream for our destruction.   We can’t even watch the news without being assaulted during a commercial break with images of steaming poison being shared by groups appearing to have fun, or children innocently passing around bottles of toxic sludge they pour into their milk or slather on top of a helping of icy death-in-a-bowl.  We need to keep close to Papa’s caring and providing hand.  With faith as small as a mustard seed, our obstacles, though mountainous, will be moved.

 

Only a Mountain, by Jason Castro

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ezekiel 19 and 20:

There is poetry to the lament for the princes of Israel in Chapter 19 that remains a mystery to me.  The princes’ mother, presumably Israel herself, is compared to a lioness then a sturdy vine.  The cubs of the lioness and the branches of the vine suffered the same fate, separation and destruction.  The lion’s roar was heard no more (v.9), and the vine’s strong branches withered and fire consumed them (v.12).

In Chapter 20, some elders came to Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord, and it provoked God’s anger to be sought by those who, for all other purposes, had lived in rebellion.

And I said to them, ‘Each of you, get rid of the vile images you have set your eyes on, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’

“‘But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt.But for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations…’”

Yesterday, I mentioned that God often acts to protect His own name.  In this chapter, I read three times, in verses 9, 14, and 22, that God relented from His full wrath for the sake of His name.  This chapter closes with God’s instruction for Ezekiel to preach to a forest its impending devastation.  In an ironic twist, Ezekiel, even though a “major prophet” displays his own selfish pride when, in the same statement he addresses God as “sovereign” he whines that his own reputation is sullied by his delivery of such strange and doubt-stirring messages from God.

49 Then I said, ‘Ah, Sovereign Lord! They are saying of me, ‘Isn’t he just telling parables?’”

Holy Father, let me be ashamed of me if it is the only way to disregard my reputation to regard Yours.  Hold me in contempt if it will bring honor to Your name.  I prefer that we be so intertwined that Your protection of Yourself might benefit me, but I know that I am faulty, and I know I allow myself to doubt.  In such times, shine brightly so that my humanity might be darkened in preference for You, so that I would return to Your faithfulness, but also that others who look to me might disregard me and regard You.  Yours is the glory and honor and praise!  Your will, not mine, be done!

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, from “The Man Who Mastered Fear”:

“It would be wonderful were I able to tell you that my confidence in God and my application of the Twelve Steps to my daily living have utterly banished fear. But this would not be the truth. The most accurate answer I can give you is this: Fear has never again ruled my life since that day in September, 1938, when I found that a Power greater than myself could not only restore me to sanity but could keep me both sober and sane. Never in sixteen years have I dodged anything because I was afraid of it. I have faced life instead of running away from it.”

 

 

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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