Abstinent Today:

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

I’m zonked!  I had a late customer last night, and attending him took me well into overtime, so what should have amounted to 5 hours of sleep turned to 4.  Still, I am eager to make it to church to worship and fellowship with my local family of God.

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“The disease has told us for so long that we don’t have enough courage, but that is another of its lies. Tapping into that courage requires only the tiniest bit of willingness to change—to take a chance that the literature and people with long-term abstinence are telling the truth and that we deserve recovery.”

“Be courageous” or words to that effect occur 19 times in the Bible (NIV, by my count).  Even in my weakest, I count on God to be my strength, so what can be made of God’s instruction to, “Be strong and very courageous”?  Once, in 2 Chronicles 19:11, He puts it, “Act with courage,” reminding me that I have to fake it even if I don’t feel it.  I am also reminded that courage is the willingness to do what one fears and not the absence of that fear.  Another thing courage is not is the belief in one’s own ability.  Most of the instances of this phrase in the Bible occur alongside the promise of God’s power, presence and performance.  Courage acknowledges the frightening obstacle in front of us, moves forward anyway, and places the results in the hands of God.   God promises the power, but expects from us the courage to trust it and act.

It takes a lot of courage to walk into a meeting for the first time, and that’s one thing I still get excited about.  Because I recognize the courage of that effort, I owe it to the newcomer to be there when they muster that courage and take that leap of faith.  God forbid they should go through that exercise only to find an empty room or locked door!   It takes courage to stay clean and sober.  Our destroyer lurks at every corner, and behind every billboard.   Just to venture out of the house when we are entombed with our disease takes amazing courage.  Lacing up sneakers and moving our out-of-shape bodies among the health-nuts and pretty people takes a lot of courage too.  I want people who are hurting to see that I recognize it, and applaud their efforts.  The call to be courageous is in the same Bible as the instruction to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today.” (Hebrews 3:13)   It is my own personal experience that makes me passionate about the pain of those going through the obstacles I have crossed.  It is that experience that may give hope to the sufferer.   No matter how far down the road of recovery, it is the courage to take one more step that unites us and moves us forward to freedom.

 

 

From Proverbs 21 (NLT):

31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the Lord.”

Would a victorious commander of armies share his glory with his infantry’s hounds or cavalry’s mounts?  But, if they were not ready, sturdy for their task, groomed and outfitted for the day of battle, would they not be cast aside, dismissed as unfit for service?  The work of the war-horse begins long before the first clash of swords.  This verse reminds me that preparation is applied courage that transforms and maintains mind, muscle and motive at the ready, not for the glory of the prepared, but for the glory of the Preparer!

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ezekiel 23:

The Lord used two sisters turned prostitute as allegory for Jerusalem and Samaria, and drew a graphic picture of their rebellion and disgrace.  It tears the heart to think of what it must do to a loving father to watch his children turn to such defilement as recreation, but we have all gone the way of sensual rebellion.

35 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.”

This one chapter doesn’t tell the rest of the story.  The same God thrown behind the backs of the rebellious still remains there, begging for His beloved children to turn around and come back to Him.

God, I stand before you guilty and ashamed of the rebellious heart within me.  Extinguish the darkness in me that would consume me, and restore to me Your light and life.  I turn from the sensual pleasures of “feel good,” “want to,” and “deserve,” and I accept the providence from Your hand as my portion and my lot.  Thank You for Your promise to never leave me nor forsake me.  Bless me with Your company and I will be satisfied.  Help me be content.

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, from “Working With Others”:

“Suppose now you are making your second visit to a man. He has read this volume and says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of recovery. Having had the experience yourself, you can give him much practical advice. Let him know you are available if he wishes to make a decision and tell his story, but do not insist upon it if he prefers to consult someone else.”

 

 

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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