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:

“Getting out of my own way gives me the freedom to rise to the highest level of which I am capable.” — For Today, p. 280

I was thinking about Adam and Eve, and how when their eyes were opened the first thing they did was recognize that they were naked and hid.  When the blissful innocence was erased by the knowledge of good and evil, what took its place was a feeling of shame and inadequacy, a feeling that has been passed down to every generation of man since.  Sensory perception is not all bad.  Feeling that a stove is hot keeps me from being burned, and the feeling of isolation from God makes me hunger for relationship with Him.  But these feelings of shame and inadequacy have been a part of my existence for so long that they do not very easily or completely wash away.  Their scarred ghosts keep creeping up on me to torment me and remind me of the shameful events of my past, and even tease and tempt me to believe my future might more closely resemble the hurts I once lived rather than the freedom in which I have chosen to live today.  My selfish way is dug in a deep trench of such miry, desperate patterns, and it is only when I allow God to lift me out of them and put me on His higher path that I find the perspective to see what is possible and the mobility to take the next of many steps forward.

From Proverbs 22 (NRSV):

24 Make no friends with those given to anger,
and do not associate with hotheads,
25 or you may learn their ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.”

I read this with eyes of shame this morning, even after my thoughts on shame and inadequacy.  My feelings said, “See?  The Bible even warns people about association with a guy like me!”  Hotheadedness is only one of the snares into which my life has been entangled.  Deliverance does not come from my proficiency at wriggling, tearing, or cutting.  It comes from relaxing, being still, humbly asking God for rescue, and patiently waiting for Him to do His work.  I know that I have a tendency to squirm while He does cuts away the debris of my past, unsatisfied with the progress so far, impatient to wait for results.  But like my childhood barber, He gently but firmly holds me still, and works toward His intended design for me.

From my reading through the Bible, currently in John 19 (NRSV):

Jesus on the cross30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

36 These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ 37 And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’”

The most significant event in history was also the most loving, and it had been planned out all along, even down to the very details.  The Creator of you and me recognized our deficiency and designed a Great Rescue.  He came, in person, into our miry world and showed us the Way home; with His own blood, paying for the guilt of every man from Eden’s garden and Abel’s murder to my self-centered fear.  All that blocks our way to God is the separation we erect between us.  The perfect path has been blazed, trimmed, and illuminated.  What fails us now is our lust for departure from this narrow Way to the sensual indulgences of the flesh that brought our shame in the first place.

God, I thank You for loving me enough to cross the universe and die on my behalf.  While I accept Your gift, help me also to forgive myself and to live free of the residual shame and fear that I once so well deserved and which led me to You.  They have outlived their usefulness, and I need You to lift me out of them and clean me again, because Your child has soiled himself with them yet again.  I am sorry!  Help me to stay clean and true to Your narrow Way.  Align my thoughts and way with Yours, and extinguish the desires of my flesh, so that I may better do Your will.  For “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.(Galatians 2:20 NIV)

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 72:

“Having made our personal inventory, what shall we do about it? We have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with our Creator, and to discover the obstacles in our path. We have admitted certain defects; we have ascertained in a rough way what the trouble is; we have put our finger on the weak times in our personal inventory. Now these are about to be cast out.”

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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