Abstinent Today:

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:

“My Higher Power knows what is best for me, and turning the direction of my life over to Him gives me the freedom and the serenity that are the cornerstones of my program.”

Life-saving epiphany number one for me was, “My way is not the only way.”   Gradually, I came to accept, through the recovery program of Overeaters Anonymous, that my way was, in fact, toxic.  This confirmed that which I had been taught in Sunday School since childhood but to which a sense of superiority blinded me.  A selfish, haughty part of me translated all the Gospel of my Higher Power to address it to those, they, and them.  I was somehow elevated above the real depravity, and therefore only felt in need of a sprinkling of grace to gain admission to the “happy throng” of His believers, but living just outside the joy in the gallery of conflicted fakers multiplied my unhappiness.  There is a vast difference between believing that He is and recognizing I’m not.  And that was Step One.

My way or self-will is, in a nutshell, what is wrong with me.  All my character defects are the sour fruits sprouting from the pit of my selfishness, and it is that core nature that I have to slay and set aside daily in order to allow the sweet fruits of the Spirit to blossom and grow in my life.

in the Gardeners handsPapa, my precious Savior, remove the root of bitterness from deep within my heart.  Take it cleanly from me, tendrils and all.  I know it has sprouted hate and discontent through much of me, but I also know that you are the Master Gardener (John 15:1), able to restore, renew, and resurrect.  I know that You prune lives and cast worthless reeds into the consuming fire, and that You wield the Sword of the Spirit, sharper than any double-edged sword, able to separate soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12).  If I were to attempt removal of my own bitterness, it would only sprout again, but You can remove it completely.  Take my life, Lord, and sift it clean.  Stir me and aerate me with Your Spirit and bring fresh life to where there had been only bitter darkness before.  Grow me into something I could not have dreamed, a loving servant, pleasing to You.  May You find the fruit of my life sweet, fragrant and satisfying.  God be glorified!

 

 

 

From Proverbs 23:

and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to gluttony.”

This verse repels me every time I read it.  In our time and society the phrase “put a knife to your throat” suggests a dramatic scene in which a desperate man is either threatening or committing suicide right in the middle of dinner.   I did a little research.  According to Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, the knife is a figure of restraint, both of what goes down the gullet and what pours out of the heart.  “Repress thy appetite, and do not be incontinent of speech. Eat, drink, and converse, under a check.”  Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible interprets it this way: “…restrain thine appetite; deny thyself of some things agreeable, that would lead thee to what might be hurtful, at least if indulged to excess: put as it were a knife unto thine appetite, and mortify it…”  The underlying theme of this chapter of Proverbs is self-denial, abstinence from the luxuries of the self-indulgent, so this view of the verse seems right.

The clause “if you are given” reminds me that not all people are so enslaved; and that, as one who is by nature given to gluttony, I will have to make special arrangements my whole life, adjusting to my circumstances, and being ever-vigilant against those things that I might have to fend from my throat as with a blade.

 

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Mark 3:

Jesus tested religious tradition, showing preference for loving-kindness, and in so doing fanned the flame of His enemies’ hatred into murderous rage (vs. 1-6).   He withdrew from the crowds who pressed in merely for their physical healing (vs. 7-10).  He silenced spirits who threatened to prematurely reveal His divine nature (vs. 11-12).  He chose His elect, even the betrayer (vs. 13-19).  He was inconvenienced, deprived, and accused of lunacy even by his own family (vs. 20-21).  He taught of spiritual forces and of division, and turned the spiritual kingdom parable into a sentence for the condemned and a lesson for the disciples.

28 ‘I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.’

30 He said this because they were saying, ‘He has an evil spirit.’”

This is the only unpardonable sin according to Scripture, so it bears marking, especially since mankind is often quick to denounce as evil anything difficult to understand or explain.  Christ’s message, however, was never about separation but of relationship, and He established that again when His family tried to press in to extricate Him from the crowd.

34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’”

I choose relationship!  I choose fraternity with Emmanuel and obedience to God.  Father, help me today to live in Your will, in the name of the blessed Brother Jesus, and by the power of Your Holy Spirit which binds me to You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 28:

“If what we have learned and felt and seen means anything at all, it means that all of us, whatever our race, creed, or color are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a relationship upon simple and understandable terms as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try.”

 

 

 

 

 

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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