boy silhouette shadowAbstinent 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:

“I keep an open mind to having an open mind; the possibilities are endless.” — For Today, p. 237

Today’s contributor mentioned an open mind being key to his (or her) spiritual experience.

I pictured a scene of three brothers.  The first a suntanned, wiry, muscular bully named Mental with a dirt-stained tee shirt when he wore one and ragged overalls that came just short of his muddy bare feet.  The second a pudgy, curly-haired bully named Physical, mostly just a side-kick to Mental, but this one indulged a sweet tooth so that whatever he wore didn’t quite cover him up and was usually stained with some sort of jelly or filling.  The third brother, Spiritual, could barely be seen, let alone described.  Smaller in size, he was constantly tormented by the other two, who were quite fond of trapping him under a loose floorboard in the house and leaving him there until his screaming and crying subsided.  Sometimes they left him there so long they forgot about him.  It was on just such an occasion when their father came home from work early to take them all to a social gathering in town.  As he inquired about Spiritual’s whereabouts, Mental and Physical pretended not to know, afraid to be caught mistreating their brother.  Mental punched the walls and cursed Spiritual for running off, pretending to be angry in order to deflect blame.  Physical stuffed a jelly doughnut in his pocket and carried two more out the door to pretend to look for his brother.  By the time they had missed most of the social, the two boys finally confessed their knowledge of Spiritual’s location, and the father tore open the floorboards to find Spiritual nearly dead.  Spiritual needed an awakening, a revival.  Under the torture of Mental’s oppression and Physical’s indulgence, Spiritual had become a pale, withered, undeveloped whisp of a boy, ghostly in appearance and very nearly dead, if not creeping through death’s door already.  In order for Spiritual to be revived he had to be rescued by the father from the torment of Physical and Mental’s control.  It certainly is good that he saved me in time!

 

 

 

From Proverbs 28:

19 He who works his land will have abundant food,
but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.”

Food verses always get my attention, but this one comes right after I had a talk with a fellow about my experience with multi-level marketing.  I have always lost more chasing after these fantasies than I ever made.  I chase other fantasies besides money: power, esteem, love, authority; satisfaction of all kinds tosses its hair in my direction and I follow – especially food.  Such pursuits will rob me every time they steal my attention away from my mission, purpose and value in Christ Jesus.  The requisite attached to the providence promised in the first half of this proverb is simply to do the work I have to do.  I am not a farmer so I have no land to work, but I do have a job and a house.  Responsibilities that are mine must be completed in order for needs to consistently be met.  It is not my power that provides, but it is my diligence and faithfulness that unlocks God’s provision for me.  Abundance comes when I prize myself and my belongings enough to tend to my responsibilities.  Left to my own self-loathing, I would never care for anything, but let it all fall around my head.  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Mark 8:

I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.”

I was one of those who believed in God, but didn’t believe He cared about my food or eating.  I have heard this story dozens if not hundreds of times, and compared it to the other miraculous feeding of the crowd, but I do not remember reading this line until I read it with recovery eyes.  Jesus cares about whether we eat or not!  Because of His compassion He longs to provide for us.

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.”

crosses for the bearingWho knows why it sometimes take one more touch of the Master’s hand before the miracle happens?  What we know is His power to make the blind see, the lame walk, and the hungry satisfied is real!  He heals body, mind, and spirit, and He is more interested in me than I ever was in myself.

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.35 For whoever wants to save his life[c] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.’”

Jesus made this statement after revealing His own future, that of betrayal, torture, death and resurrection.  It is this invitation and the paradox that concludes it that makes abstinence worth the sacrifice.  The denial of self is what keeps a compulsion from ruling my life, and the cross I take up is the one I can nail my selfish will on every morning.  God frees me from the burden and bondage of self each time I make this sacrifice and humbly ask Him to.

 

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 63:

“The wording was, of course, quite optional so long as we expressed the idea, voicing it without reservation. This was only a beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once.”

 

 

 

 

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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