Abstinent Today:

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

Willingness and action came together last night and found me dressed out in knit microfiber sportswear,  but there was no YoGod (Christian Yoga) class.  They are apparently taking a break for the holidays and will resume in a couple weeks.  I’ll try to hold on to this willingness until the opportunity rises up to meet it.

My normal Tuesday and Thursday ministry opportunity returned today, and got me running before I had time to sit and read or write.  I prayed as I readied myself for the day, but it was not the same, and I am glad to get to this quiet part of my day, even if a little late.

When I finished with my helping errand, I had a maddening search for some lost credit and debit cards which, when it was all said and done, I finally had to cancel.  I am out of practice using cash.  I forgot how much preparation and forethought it requires.

When I finished rummaging through my trash cans, searching all my little storage cubbyholes, rifling the pockets of every piece of laundry I have worn recently, and calling customer service representatives, I spent a couple hours with a pair of spiritual mentors of mine.  It was an edifying experience, and I hope to do it again soon.  I think I have a better handle on what I should be doing, what I don’t need to be concerning myself about, and the fact that I am in the right place right now this one day at a time.  Prayer is powerful!  A phrase I got as I left them was a simple instruction for my ministry toward my fellow men, “Love them well!”  I am to love people genuinely and diligently (“well” the adverb), but also demonstrate care for them until their triune reality (physical, mental, spiritual) heals (“well” the adjective).

Tomorrow, God willing, will be a big day for me!  I am planning another first, an adventurous one: my son and I are booked to go on a zip-line tour over a zoo!  The course has rope ladders, plank bridges, and various other treetop obstacles in addition to the zip-lines.  I’ve never done anything like this, and would never have dreamed of it at 320 pounds (a weight that would have disqualified me from participation anyway), but now I’m looking forward to soaring with the birds sixty feet over man-eating beasts, comfortably in my safety harness.

Speaking of weight, I got on a scale for the first time in three weeks, and the needle fell exactly where it was three weeks prior.  God is amazing!

 

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“As we become aware of what our eating guidelines should be, we ask God for the willingness and the ability to live within them each day. We ask and we receive, first the willingness, and then the ability. We can count on this without fail.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 23

When I first read this, I remember thinking that “becoming aware of what our eating guidelines should be” was a one-time event that came as we worked Step One.  Since then, I have discovered that my learning engine is always moving and, as long as I remain flexible and open to new things, God will reveal to me progressively better ways for me to care for myself.  As I learn of healthy foods or toxic additives, I adjust my eating accordingly.  If God had written a list titled “For Best Results, Eat the Following” there would not be much on it that I used to eat.  I am finding that when I add the foods God made, and eat them with as few alterations as possible from the way He made them, I become more like He intended my body to be.  The good food news is that willingness and ability are soon followed by the enjoyment of these new foods!  I used to never eat tomatoes, except those that were squished into pizza sauce.  Now I have an average of two per day (tomatoes, not pizzas), and I have been given a taste for them!

God I thank You for making good things for me, and making me a good thing out of them!

 

 

 

From Proverbs 10:

The wise in heart accept commands,
but a chattering fool comes to ruin.”

I would like to escape the ruin from which my character defects had sentenced me and become wise.  I choose to accept commands.  Perhaps, as I take on the character of the wise, I might become wise myself, someday, maybe.  I can hope!

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Matthew 18:

This chapter is all over the place with sound wisdom for living.  I read of teachability, humility, God’s value of men, conflict resolution, prayer, and forgiveness.

And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

The old, bitter me used to vehemently hate any change, but there is something about the words “change and become like little children” that describes the eager pliability that was required to mold me into what I am becoming.  It didn’t start with eagerness; it started with resentful compromise, accompanied by the desperate recognition that my way was killing me.  Only later did I find out that my departure from God’s will went farther than just my eating and my waistline; it was really about my spiritual relationship with Him, and the translation of that relationship to the people around me.  That is what Jesus addressed in the rest of this chapter.  He described the lost sheep (me) being of such great value that He would leave the entire flock to find and restore His stray.  The parable He used to teach forgiveness, with the forgiven debtor of millions strangling his neighbor who owed him a pittance, might seem a far-reaching extreme, but it describes exactly the way I had been living my life.  I would praise God for grace then cuss out a stranger for taking “my” lane.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this other verse.  I have often recalled it when considering my abstinence from compulsive food behaviors.  On its surface, it seems like Jesus is advocating mutilation, but I think what He is saying is that we need to be ruthless about purity.  Think of a problem food.  Got it?  Now read the following, only substituting your problem food for the hands and feet of this passage:

If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.”

Ruthless self-denial is what it takes to please the Lord.  I die to self daily.  Thanks to God, I have an eating issue that makes it obvious when “self” is in the driver’s seat.  I pity those who do not have such obvious markers.  When they take up their cross and die daily, what do they give up?  It seems so nebulous.  Is it their literal hands and feet?  I don’t think so.  I meet very few voluntary amputees.  Self-will is hard to identify unless it is really toxic like mine.  I am happy to be free of it!

God, show me what I am to give up next.  Make me willing and able to offer it without grumbling, and may You be glorified.  I know that no matter what I offer to You, I will never be without all I need – Your matchless grace!

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 25:

“Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it.”

 

 

 

 

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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