I am a recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Yesterday was quite rushed, and today will likely be even more so. I’m writing this in a quiet house with no one up but me and the pets, but I have put off chores necessary to prepare for the short three-day work week that resumes today, and they must be done. I expect myself to make it to the gym this morning because it is a Wednesday, and I still must leave all my family behind and go to work around Noon. I submit. To do is God, to lounge is sloth.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“No human power can relieve me when I feel empty. God can and will give me peace!”
I am unceasingly amazed at the myriad of things, people, feelings, and experiences we humans can use in an attempt to satisfy the hunger for God that was programmed into us. As I talk and listen to others describe their lives, their struggles, and their achievements, I can’t help but feel like I do when my OA group reads the words “alcohol” and “alcoholic” in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and mentally translates those words to “food” and “compulsive overeater”. I can see how a world of hurting people are substituting their own human power or experiences in that same manner, but yet have the same spiritual malady from which a few of us are daily recovering by working the Twelve Steps. God can and will give me peace when I believe in Him enough to lean into Him and trust Him enough to start doing things His way. It is then that belief gives birth to faith; and the faith that acts is the faith that leads to life.
From Proverbs 26:
“9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand
is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.”
No casualty is quite so disquieting as those by friendly fire. Any tool of great power can be mishandled, whether firearm, blade, or even the Word of God. I have been guilty of Scripture-abuse before, towering over my fellows as if on some spiritually superior soapbox, bashing them in the heads and spirits with threats of hell and damnation, all allegedly for the cause of the One who bought me by quietly spilling His blood for me. My prayer today is as it has been since shortly after coming to the rooms of recovery:
God, keep me from harming those You created me to help. Help me faithfully deliver the grace with which You so generously filled me. I am Your willing vessel. Pour Your love into me that I may spill it onto others. May I present Your gospel, not as one elevated raining it down on a miserable world, but kneeling in front of a world You died to save, as a hopeful bridegroom would beseech a virgin love, extending it in proper humility as the rare and precious jewel it is.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Matthew 3:
“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea 2 and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’”
“11 ‘I baptize you with[Or in] water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
“13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’
15 Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented.”
“17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”
Much of the confusion of my spiritual life has been on account of my religious prejudice concerning baptism. The global Church is divided on all sorts of variations of practice where this is concerned – when to baptize, in what position, how much water, what spiritual event happens at that particular moment, and a myriad of rhetorical what-ifs. Insistence that others should follow my limited understanding of anything is vanity. Here in Matthew’s account of the life of Christ, we find Jesus, God’s messenger of grace, Himself God in human form, even as holy as He is, He comes to the waters of baptism “to fulfill all righteousness.” As He does, the Holy Spirit lights on Him and the voice of God declares Him a pleasing, beloved Son.
I recently observed that those who walked the Twelve Steps laid them down as suggestions and then showed by their own stories how living them worked very well, and consistently. It occurs to me that if I want what those before me have got, I should do as they have done. Jesus Christ, my Higher Power, has demonstrated a pattern, the end results of which I eagerly desire: to be accepted and approved as a son of God, pleasing to Him, and in which the Holy Spirit would dwell. So, I will wash myself today, recalling and celebrating my own baptism, turning my spirit toward God, and inviting the Spirit of Emmanuel to light on me and be the Light within me.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 153:
“Our hope is that when this chip of a book is launched on the world tide of alcoholism, defeated drinkers will seize upon it, to follow its suggestions. Many, we are sure, will rise to their feet and march on. They will approach still other sick ones and fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous may spring up in each city and hamlet, havens for those who must find a way out.”
*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.