I am a recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
In my flurry of hurry yesterday, I caused an accidental catastrophe regarding my webmail server and deleted over 10,000 emails from my online server, including all the recent ones, even many I had not read or answered yet. It was nerve-racking. Still, I consider it an opportunity to exercise patience and surrender. I have not yet given up all hope of restoration, but have acknowledged that, in the event the loss is permanent, it will serve the purpose of stretching my ability to release my hold on the old.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“What we do have to offer is… a Fellowship in which we find and share the healing power of love.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. ix
I am sure that nothing could have got me on so quick a start as the hopeful smiles of those thirteen women who welcomed me into that first meeting room. Being defective with others who are too made me feel less defective and more hopeful, and back then what I felt like played a much bigger role in what I was willing to do than it does now. Thanks, God! Thanks, Overeaters Anonymous! Thanks, ladies!
From Proverbs 20:
“24 A man’s steps are directed by the Lord.
How then can anyone understand his own way?”
I take this to mean that I cannot understand my own way. Like a gnat on an elephant’s back, I couldn’t possibly know my position on the thing, nor control where it was taking me. How arrogant then to presume to tell God or anyone else what I will or won’t do in my future. Put this way, I can better understand the exhortations of James to keep our boasting about the future down, remembering that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, or even the completeness of today. Considering that, how will I live the moments that I have been given, one at a time just now? I choose to honor the One who gave me breath!
“13 Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ 16 As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:13-17)
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Luke 14:
Jesus used even His surroundings as object lessons, and such was the case when He was partaking in a dinner hosted by a prominent Pharisee. He used the seating hierarchy as a call to humility (vs. 8-11). He used the guest list as a guide for unselfish generosity (vs. 12-14), and even tucked in a promise of restoration at the resurrection of the righteous. Then He told the Parable of the Great Banquet (vs. 15-23), which demonstrated the unworthiness of mankind distracted by worldly priorities, and cautioned that none of the preoccupied invitees would be seated at the feast of the kingdom of God.
Jesus drives home His point that friendship with Him is enmity with the world, and encouraged the neglect of all other concerns in preference for discipleship with Him. He stated it plainly twice toward the end of the chapter:
“27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
“33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
Everything sounds like a lot, but it could be sharpened to a question. What could you refuse to give up for God? If there is an answer to that question, one might as well erect a shrine to it and pray to it, because it is your god. While I was reading this chapter, I thought of other places in the Bible to which Jesus might have been referring, and I found Isaiah 2, out of which come these excerpts:
“8 Their land is full of idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their fingers have made.
9 So man will be brought low
and mankind humbled—
do not forgive them.[a]”
“11 The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled
and the pride of men brought low;
the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
12 The Lord Almighty has a day in store
for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted
(and they will be humbled)”
What is my life but a vapor, dear Lord? What am I that You have not fashioned? The breath You breathed in me is all that is good within me, and I am but a clay vessel which carries it for a moment. While Your breath is in me, make me useful for Your purpose. Please Yourself with my life, with my coming and my going, with my eating and with my abstaining. Nothing I have is mine, but everything that exists belongs to You. May I be a good steward of what You have loaned me, and may I never grieve anything it is Your will to collect from me. You alone are my God, and I willingly lay my living and my dying before you just now. May it bring You pleasure until You are pleased to draw me to Your side.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “The Backslider”:
“And they knew that as long as I didn’t want to quit, as long as I preferred my own will instead of God’s will, the remedy simply could not be applied. It is a striking thought that God never forces anyone to do His will, that His help is ever available but has to be sought in all earnestness and humility.”
*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.