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:
“Serenity is knowing and accepting that God is in charge.”
For me, knowing was the easy part. I knew of this reality since Mother and Dad told me so, and the preacher they took me to hear every three days confirmed it every Sunday morning and Wednesday night of my childhood. Accepting it, however, isn’t something I remember consciously doing until coming into this recovery program. My inventories proved I had never accepted it before then, and Step Eight stacked up a list of witnesses to that effect. I had been of “agnostic temperament”; that is, my demeanor could not have proved I believed in God. I think this might have even been the root of much of my trouble, because in professing faith but not living it, I became a walking conflict, even regardless of any other forces acting on my life at the time. A wobbly wheel is easily put off by the smallest of obstacles, and so it was with my life. Accepting God as unconditional Lord, King, Master, Boss, Ruler of my life and the universe, in addition to being my personal Savior, meant taking the blame for the world and its condition off me and dismissing it completely. There is a temptation to transfer that blame to God, but doing so elevates my imagination to a position of authority over Him, and that won’t do either. Accepting God’s charge over the universe means accepting that His ways are not my ways and that He knows better, sees farther, and is working everything out according to His purposes, in His timing, His way. Accepting that makes me feel more secure than I have ever been before.
This goes along with a passage I read just yesterday:
“Finally, the most common correlation I observe between mind and healing in people with chronic illness is total acceptance of the circumstances of one’s life, including illness. This change allows profound internal relaxation, so that people need no longer feel compelled to maintain a defensive stance toward life. Often, it occurs as part of a spiritual awakening and submission to a higher power.” (Dr. Andrew Weil, Spontaneous Healing, p. 100)
From Proverbs 4:
“10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.”
There are those who have tried to convince me that spirituality is to the exclusion of the physical. Not so, but there is a preference for the spiritual that overwhelms the physical with supernatural balance. I am proving it daily, and am looking for new ways to build these up, and incorporate mental wholeness with these two, in my continuing quest for INTEGRITY (oneness, wholeness). Not to exclude any of my three parts, but to give preference to the spiritual, the part that can fuel and heal the rest, is the goal.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Matthew 12:
Jesus did not shy from asserting His authority on earth and in Heaven, though He warned His disciples not to go around blabbing about who He was just yet (v. 16). In this chapter, He established Himself as greater than the temple (v. 6), Lord over the Sabbath (v. 8), vessel of the Spirit of God (v. 28), greater than Jonah (v. 41), greater than Solomon (v. 42), and an intimate relative of any who follow Him in obedience (v. 50). A few points of interest in this chapter include yet another reference to God’s words from Hosea 6:6, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” this time to chastise those who would not understand its meaning, but attempted to accuse Christ and His disciples on a legal technicality. He prioritized people over material possessions, namely livestock, and shamed His party’s accusers for breaking laws for the lesser concern. At this, His enemies began to plot His death. Matthew is faithful to point out another prophecy Christ fulfilled, this one from Isaiah 42:1-4. There is an insight into demonic activity in verses 43 through 45, referenced as a warning to a wicked generation not to leave a cleaned-up life (or room) neglected, at the risk of it ending up worse off than it had been before. (Attention, those in recovery!) I noticed in the footnotes a reference to the word used to describe “evil” spirits as being “unclean” a description also translated as “leprosy” in previous chapters. Apparently, in the Greek, uncleanness can refer to physical or spiritual. I find that interesting and relevant to my recent studies.
Perhaps my favorite part of this chapter is one that comes as a result of the self-indulgent cries of the people for a miraculous sign.
“39 He answered, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”
It is interesting to imagine their reaction to this, given that they had no way to know what He was talking about at the time.
This reminds me that following Jesus is not about the miracles, and that the biggest miracle of them all has already been done for us in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It is a reminder that, regardless of my current condition or circumstances, God’s grace in Jesus Christ is sufficient for me!
God, I apologize for the times I have prioritized my sacrifice over merciful action toward others. I do wish to deny myself in preference for You, but I acknowledge that You are represented in “the least of these” around me, and even the most stringent self-sacrifice that comes at the cost of making someone else stumble, rail in their bitterness, or just remain neglected and overlooked, was a selfish abstinence after all. Make mine a selfless abstinence and not a futile exercise of self-serving legal victories that leave me and those about me lifeless and shattered. Lift my spirit and restore me to balance, so that those who see my life might find You at the center of it and You would be glorified, in the name of Jesus, I ask. Amen.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 20:
“Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body.”
*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.