Abstinent Today:

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

I had an exciting amusement planned today that I had to reschedule on account of an arthritis flare-up.  In one hand there is the disappointment of a put-off plan, and in the other is the pain of the affliction itself.  I have prayed for relief of the pain so that I would be better strengthened to help others according to God’s will, but there is a selfish part of me that wanted it for my own interests.  Perhaps I will be relieved when it suits my service and not my selfishness.  Then again, perhaps I have something else to learn from it.  Regardless of the pain, God’s grace is sufficient for me!

 

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

waterdrop ripples“Now, when I find myself troubled by an issue or situation, I think about it while I say the Serenity Prayer. If it is something I can change, I think of the steps I can take to begin the change, and I pray for the willingness to take action. If it is something I cannot change, I turn it over to my Higher Power and pray for the willingness to accept it. This exercise brings serenity to my life and helps me feel God’s presence.”

Until the prayer for “wisdom to know the difference” is answered, a rule of thumb (or pointing finger, as it were) in my recovery has been if the “things” are outside me, generally they are the things I need to accept, and the “things” I can and am responsible to change are within me.  Occasionally, there are exceptions, but I find that those begin with a very small circle around me and, as my recovery grows stronger, graduate to slightly bigger circles, the center of which is always the primary object of change and growth: myself.

 

 

From Proverbs 30:

10 Do not slander a servant to his master,
or he will curse you, and you will pay for it.”

While I am undergoing the spiritual surgery of recovery, it is my job to be as compliant a patient as I can be.  That means once the Master has made His incisions I cannot continue to carve on myself with self-loathing remarks and behaviors.  I bring myself under this curse when I continue to berate myself, or any other person for that matter, for I and my fellow humans are God’s servants, not my own.  To criticize the creature is to find fault with its Creator.  As I work Step Eight, I find that the most egregious harm I have done was to myself, to my God, and to the relationship between us.  There is a delicate balance between responsible self-inspection and critical self-loathing, but I must stay away from further harm while I work toward helping myself heal from the past I have lived.

Negative self-talk is never helpful.  I have sworn it off any number of times.  I am glad I have not added it as an article of my abstinence though, or I would have counted myself in relapse more than not.  Still, working toward my goal of loving all and harming none, I have to be considerate of the intensive care patient closest to me: myself.

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Matthew 7:

In Jesus’ “sermon on the mount” He denounced the pretenders, “hypocrites” He called them – a word which referred to stage actors.  In fact it was Jesus who used the word every time it appears in the Bible, except for one, when His spiritual foreshadow, David, used it in a prophetic description of the Righteous One in Psalm 26:4, “…nor do I consort with hypocrites.”  In the previous chapter, Jesus introduced God as the unseen seer of spiritual realities even in the darkest places of the hearts of mankind.  Chapter 7 speaks to the actions that spring from those secret motives.  The false prophets and the cursed religious are identified by the “fruit” of their actions (vs. 2, 5, 12, 16-20, 21).   Christ used parables to make this point and spoke with amazing authority that astonished His audience who, at that time, were not acquainted with who He really was.

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Credit: MightyMag.org

Have you ever been put off from gathering with religious people because of all the hypocrites?  In my recovery I have learned that what I resent most in others is the defect in myself they represent to me.  Is it possible that, when I despise another, or a group of others, for their apparent failures, it is actually a fear of my own failure I see looking back at me?  When I realize that a hypocrite is just an actor, and is himself spiritually sick, I don’t have to fear being like him or envy him or resent him in any way, because he deserves my pity and my loving kindness.  The One who saves has saved me from judgment, and so has saved me from fear and judgment of others.  Jesus’ description of the broad and narrow gates in verses 13 and 14 show that most people are in this spiritually sick condition.  To judge the lot and isolate myself from ever finding the narrow stream of Life is the ultimate resolution of self-spite with eternal consequences.

1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

It bears pointing out that the actions of mankind are not the saving mechanism, but are the proof of God’s saving grace working in the lives of the redeemed.  This may explain why the proofs are so often counterfeited by those who are motivated by the esteem of their associates.

God, one of the worst activators of my mental difficulties is when I become judgmental.  Save me from the bondage of self, that I may better do Your will.  Your love for me is motivation enough.  I will follow You!  Strengthen me to love all and harm none, so that others may be helped and that You may be glorified.  In Christ Jesus’ name, amen!

 

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 77:

“Under no condition do we criticize such a person or argue. Simply tell him that we will never get over drinking until we have done our utmost to straighten out the past. We are there to sweep off our side of the street, realizing that nothing worth while can be accomplished until we do so, never trying to tell him what he should do. His faults are not discussed. We stick to our own. If our manner is calm, frank, and open, we will be gratified with the result.”

 

 

 

 

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.

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