Abstinent Today:

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

I took a holiday yesterday for no other reason than I needed a Sabbath, a day of resting, a complete break from anyone’s expectations of me.  I slept a little later than usual, took my time with my morning reflections and napped a good deal of the day.  I also spent a great deal of time in introspection, specifically of my self-centered fears. (Thus came the second post yesterday on fear vs. faith.)  I have allowed a few “what-ifs” concerning my health and my marriage to cloud my thinking lately.  I have a thorn-in-my-flesh condition that bothers me a great deal (dare I say “torment”), but I have stopped asking for God to heal it, and instead replaced that prayer with, “Your will be done.  Your grace is sufficient for me.”  That is a sacrifice of will like nothing else I have known, and my fears that crop up out of it betray that not all of me is behind that prayer.   Christ demonstrated in the Garden of Gethsemane that we can pray for what we want and still submit to God’s will.  Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  Part of me thinks, if the Apostle Paul only prayed three times for his torment to be removed, then who am I to wear God out with my asking?  The parable of the persistent widow teaches me not to give up asking for justice, but I wonder if justice is really what I am asking for, or even what I want?  When does petition become whining?

 

I also had a victory yesterday.  I repeated my trip to the corner drugstore, this time equipped with the paperwork I needed for the pharmacist and the prayerful preparation to meet the challenge that had been such a horrifying test a week prior.  I prayed and steadied myself against the attacks of the various tricks and treats of the destroyer I knew would be there, and marched in and through them like a conquering hero might survey his defeated foe.  I went as though I was walking above them, like they were restrained and I was separated from them by the same invisible force.  My soul knew those temptations could not touch me, and I would not touch them.  I felt as safe as a child at a zoo studying ferocious beasts from a spectator’s catwalk.  It was miraculous!

 

 

 

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Good things have happened when I’ve listened to others sharing in order to recognize my own symptoms. I need to notice the quality of my listening. It is a measure of my spiritual condition.”

Listening is a form of showing caring concern, and it is one of the things I have failed to do lately.  Perhaps it is what has worn my spiritual condition to the unfit, fearful state it seems to be in.  I spent yesterday listening and resting.  I’ve identified my fears and it is time to give them up.  As I recall the stories I have heard in the rooms of recovery, I can identify one common characteristic of any hurting person: they are being asked to give up something they think they want.  By “they” I really mean “I”.

God, I offer my whole self, fears and all, to You.  Rescue me from the whips and chains of self-centered fear and regret, so I can do Your work unhindered, helping all I can and harming none.  Clear away my obstacles so my tripping may not cause others to stumble, and make my life reflect Your grace, so that others may come to know You.  Let Your will be done always, not mine!

 

 

 

From Proverbs 25 (NLT):

Don’t demand an audience with the king
or push for a place among the great.
It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table
than to be sent away in public disgrace.”

Proper humility is patient.  I will wait for the King.

 

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible,” currently in Ezekiel 29 and 30:

Today’s reading from Ezekiel was a prophecy against, and then a lament for, Egypt, similar to the three chapters devoted to the destruction of Tyre yesterday.  God used a Nile Crocodile as allegory for the capture and devastation He planned for Egypt, who had been even so prideful as to claim responsibility for the very existence of the Nile River.  Egypt and its surrounding regions were to be scorched bare, and her treasures given to Babylon for its service as God’s messenger of destruction.

29:Egypt will become a desolate wasteland. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

30:25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh will fall limp. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he brandishes it against Egypt.”

Faithful Father, destroy pride in me.  Annihilate it thoroughly, so that I myself may not be destroyed.  Ransack my imaginary kingdoms, plunder my false treasuries, and burn down my idols, but preserve me for Your inheritance by Your grace.  I humbly submit to Your rule.  Govern me and keep me according to Your will by the power of Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, amen!

 

 

 

 

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

“I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to receive. But that would be in great measure.”

 

 

 

 

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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