Abstinent Today:

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

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“We thought everything would be fine if only our bosses would recognize our worth, if only our spouses would give us the attention we needed, if only our children were well-behaved…” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, pp. 4-5

If only, if only if only!  It is the sound of regret passing overhead to live in our future!  I can’t live freely in my now if I am leaning into my future or the past.  That kind of bending and tilting is the kind of thing I did when I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, hiding from God behind it, insisting on my independence even though the world was never my burden to carry.  Greater than any independence I might try to seize for myself is the freedom I found in turning God’s honor, and the responsibility that goes with it, back over to Him.

I am, happily, a dependent of God.  He will never leave me; His love endures forever.  And what does any of mankind want but unending love?  He will never disappoint me, because even His “no” is for my benefit.  His foresight and power to orchestrate circumstances goes beyond any imagination.  We human beings are dependent creatures.  True freedom comes when we accept that and learn to exchange the counterfeit imposters we have put in God’s place for the wholesome relationship with the One True God.  Dependence on any substitute person, institution, thing, substance, or thrill will always result in disappointment, regret, and fear, the hunger pangs for the relationship for which we were intelligently designed.

 

From Proverbs 2 (NKJV):

The first part of this chapter begs the reader to seek Wisdom as a rare treasure, while the second part gives Wisdom’s purpose statement:

12 To deliver you from the way of evil…
20 So you may walk in the way of goodness,
And keep to the paths of righteousness.”

God gives us good things for the express purpose of finding the best thing – Him.

From my reading through the Bible,” currently in Ezekiel 37:

“Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones; Now hear the word of the Lord.”  (from the spiritual folk song by James Weldon Johnson)  This is the chapter in which Ezekiel prophesies to the dry bones, which are the house of Israel, whose hope has dried up and crumbled into despair.  As the Lord instructed him, he prophesied:

This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life.”

I love what the footnote says about the promised breath: “The Hebrew for this word can also mean wind or spirit (see verses 6-14).”  And so God continues through Ezekiel:

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”

23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding,and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

I know that Ezekiel’s prophecy was for Israel, but I know that Israel in the era before Christ symbolizes the universal Church afterward, and each Christian individual follows the type in miniature.  So it has been in my renewal.  I am reborn by the Spiritual breath that revitalizes me and quickens me to live abundantly.

I was also interested to see that this whole encounter began with a conversation in which God quizzed Ezekiel.

He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’

I said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, you alone know.’”

I say a great big AMEN to Ezekiel’s response!  The most miserable thing about despair is that it is based on our limited experience, understanding and imagination.  When God’s in charge, anything is possible.  He can take dead, dry bones and wrap them in sinews and breathe them alive, and he can do the same thing to a fat-cocooned isolationist with double his natural body weight in hate and discontent.  I know.  He did it for me!

From The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, “Step Three”:

“This abstinent way of life continues on a daily basis so long as we continue to trust a Higher Power with our lives, renewing our step-three commitment daily. Inexperienced in this way of living, many of us have asked, “How do I reach this decision to turn my will and life over to a Higher Power? What exactly do I have to do?” It helps to understand that once we make this decision, our approach to all choices will be like our approach to our food and eating choices. We will no longer simply do what we feel like doing or what we think we can get away with. Instead, we will earnestly seek to learn God’s will for us, then we will act accordingly.

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 shed light on the old truths from a different angle and exercise my willingness with a little change, I switched from using the New International Version (NIV or “NIV1984”) to the New King James Version (NKJV) just for this month’s reading of Proverbs.  

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