Abstinent Today:

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

I started my entry yesterday by using the word “zonked” to describe my state of total exhaustion.  At church yesterday, the preacher asked, “Have you ever spent yourself on behalf of the Gospel to the point that you were totally exhausted?”  I immediately thought, “Yep!”  But later considered that my exhaustion is from spending myself on work, abstinence, household maintenance, action plan maintenance, plan of eating compliance, reading and writing, and other self-proclaimed matters of import, and not the Gospel.

My exhaustion is taking a toll at work.  Yesterday, I was asked by my supervisor if everything was alright.  Now there’s a question one hopes their boss never feels compelled to ask!  Apparently, I have lately received a few customer complaints in alarming succession, indicating that I may have been harming those I thought I was helping.  I need to pay more attention to demonstrating concern for others, to give priority to the feelings of those around me.  To love all and harm none is my goal, but I have apparently been gaining ground for the opposing team without being aware.  Less me and more God is the answer!

There was a big box placed at the foot of a large cross at church yesterday and paper cards handed to each in attendance.  We were encouraged to list our self-interested concerns on the card and prayerfully deposit the card into the box, relieving ourselves of the burden of what was represented on the list.  I recognized that I have allowed my own selfish disappointments to do more damage than I have been willing to admit, and they have alienated me from those around me.

I came to a decision: I must make at least as much effort to love those around me as I do to lovingly care for myself.  Since recovery, I feed, wash, and groom myself differently than I did before – carefully.  I must care for those around me in the same manner, genuinely seeking their best interest and welfare.  It started when I laughingly confessed to my coworkers that I was going to try to work an entire day without a customer complaint.  They mocked me and said I was setting my goals too high.  It was then I remembered that, one moment at a time, I can accomplish all sorts of amazing changes.  One moment at a time, I can be caring.  I can love one person at a time, spending myself on them as if they were the most important thing at that moment.  Twelve hours later, I had completed a shift, having caused no harm of which I know, and (yes, I checked) receiving no complaints.  (Side note:  I am still just as tired as I had been, but people aren’t as tired of me!)

 

 

 

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Nothing that happened yesterday or that may happen tomorrow is more important than NOW.” — For Today, p. 248

One moment at a time, I can build on experience the necessary hope and courage to face today.  If I lean into my past or my future, I am disabled from standing erect in this present moment of grace, where my limited life meets God’s infinite power and provision.

 

 

 

From Proverbs 22 (NLT):

12 The Lord preserves those with knowledge,
but he ruins the plans of the treacherous.”

The word “treacherous” plucked my attention, because of the nature of my character defects and their reappearance in recent days.   I cross-referenced the dictionary definition of the word with my spiny selfishness and found a match:

“1) characterized by faithlessness or readiness to betray trust; traitorous.  2) deceptive, untrustworthy, or unreliable. 3) unstable or insecure, as footing. 4) dangerous; hazardous.”

Lord, may I live according to what I know of You and walk in that trust, rather than in the treachery of my own fearful self-interest!

 

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ezekiel 24:

This chapter is in two sections.  The first is an allegory of a pot, irretrievably stained with a deposit of impurity.  God says this is the lewdness of His children.  For Israel, He proclaimed a time for their punishment.  My personal belief is that this foreshadows the same sentence for all of humanity.

13 “‘Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided.

14 “‘I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

The second part of this chapter is more of an enigma to me.  God required Ezekiel to refrain from mourning over the death of his wife, and used his emotional abstinence as both allegory for God’s position toward His own destroyed bride, Israel, and as an example for Israel which was to endure their next hardship without the customary wailing.

23b You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because ofyour sins and groan among yourselves. 24 Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’”

 

 

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 13:

“I ruthlessly faced my sins and became willing to have my new-found Friend take them away, root and branch.”

 

 

 

 

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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