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:
“True comfort is to be found in the balance and sanity of abstinence. So deep and pure is this comfort that it is well worth whatever trouble or pain I might have to pass through to attain it.” — For Today, p. 253
The clutter of a self-obsessed mind and the shambles of self-indulgent eating make for a relentless downward spiral of disappointment that seems to drag whatever spiritual state we may or may not have once enjoyed down the drain with them. The only way out of such a hopeless flushing of life is to remove the self-centeredness. Abstinence, the intentional denial of our selfish compulsions, helps us do that. Whether I give or someone takes from me, if I consider it a robbery and a burden, I will be harmed by my interpretation of the event; but if I consider it an offering, an expenditure of myself on those around me, accepting it as the will of the Higher Power, my spirit is lightened and what could have been an obstruction to my joy becomes an opportunity to demonstrate my faithfulness and God’s omnipotence, a hurdle over which I can spring to finish in victory. True comfort comes only from clearing away the clutter that separates me from God, so I can lean into His loving embrace!
From Proverbs 3:
“7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.”
If we had heard, “mix equal parts fruit juice, vinegar, and water and drink the tonic twice daily,” we would have done it. Who among us is not seeking a healthier body and nourishment to the well of our lifeblood, our bones? For some reason, when we hear the real ingredients of healthy nourishment: humility, reverence and purity, we dismiss them as though the spiritual facts aren’t facts at all, but some kind of Pollyanna feel-good-isms that don’t actually factor into our physical makeup. The truth is that God has been trying to show us the healthiest ways to live since He placed Adam and Eve in a garden. Here is a Scriptural reference for the spirit/mind/body connection!
God, save me from crippling pride!
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Matthew 11:
John the Baptist, apparently dealing with some measure of doubt in his dungeon of incarceration, sent messengers to confirm Jesus’ identity. In His answer, Jesus only told the messengers to testify to what they observed in His ministry, demonstrating that even He would be identified by the fruits of action:
“5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[b] are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”
Christ commended John as the spiritual equivalent of Elijah, the preparing messenger whose coming was foretold in Malachi 3:1. He pronounced a curse on those who saw His miracles and yet rejected Him (v. 20), and blessed the Lord, who had hidden the secrets of the Spirit from those of worldly wisdom (v. 25). He celebrated His own place between Heaven and earth, as Mediator between God and man, and invited all who would follow to join with Him under the yoke of His discipleship.
“27 ‘All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’”
“Weary and burdened” are two words that fit the description of every single person who ever came into my office when I was a peer-support facilitator. I often drew a stick figure of a person under the pressures of the past and future to demonstrate my interpretation of their predicament. Many were astonished that I might so easily understand and depict their plight, but honestly it was the mere fact that what is wrong with one of us is wrong with most if not all. Jesus knew this invitation to the “weary and burdened” would apply to all but the most indelibly blinded and mind-numbed, those who, like the townships He had previously listed, even seeing His miracles would refuse to turn from their selfishness.
God, I don’t know it all, but I am acquainted with You, and that is enough for me. I lay my burdens at Your feet this morning, and I take up the yoke of Your discipleship. Steer me and drive me where You want me to go, and I will trust You. I know Your power will go with me, and Your guidance will not deceive me. Thank You for rescuing me from my attempts to control the world. Your instruction is certainly much lighter than the ridiculous load I was trying to shoulder!
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 132:
“When we see a man sinking into the mire that is alcoholism, we give him first aid and place what we have at his disposal. For his sake, we do recount and almost relive the horrors of our past. But those of us who have tried to shoulder the entire burden and trouble of others find we are soon overcome by them.
“So we think cheerfulness and laughter make for usefulness. Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we bust into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the past. But why shouldn’t we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.”
*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.
- Matthew 11: A burden of rest. (inchristalonedevotions.wordpress.com)