I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Today, I am taking a sabbath of rest. I have long needed one, and today I have the opportunity to catch up on some sleep and prayer. I have had an especially busy work-week and finally have a day off.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Repetition is the only form of permanence that nature can achieve.” — George Santayana as quoted in For Today p. 204
Repetition? To address a compulsive obsession? Yes! I have been criticized as “obsessive compulsive” long before anyone linked it to my eating. My primary compulsive obsession is getting my way. That one has plagued me and everyone within hearing distance since the crib! For a compulsive overeater like me, repeating positive behaviors, thought patterns, and spiritual exercises are what it takes to overcome the years of repeated abuse we have both endured and inflicted.
“The body does best what it does most,” said a chiropractor at a lunch-and-learn I once co-hosted. His point was that the machine of the human body is a learning engine, and we have trained it to respond to stimuli, sometimes in negative ways. When we develop unhealthy patterns, sometimes we require a drastic change to affect the adjustment we seek, whether the manipulation of skeletal structures for pain, or attitude overhauls to correct physical, mental, and spiritual disease.
All I can do is repeat the process by which I was freed from the despair that was at the root of my compulsive overeating, and repeatedly lean on the hands that made me, trusting my Creator to know what is best for me and that He will help me carry it out…repeatedly…over and over again…always.
From Proverbs 2:
20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
This chapter has an “If,” a “Then,” and a “Thus,” and each depends on the prior, but they end with this promise, a promise to which I cling with hope that the God who made all things and said, “Behold, it is very good!” will once again delight in what I will become. The promise is worth researching and living the “If” and “Then”.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Acts 10:
34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Cornelius’ angelic visitation, working with Peter’s vision by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, knitted together the first missionary trip to the Gentiles. Peter was given a vision three times while in a trance, of food which was customarily unclean and told not to call anything unclean which God has called clean (v. 15). While puzzling over this vision, there came a call at the gate, and his answer would be found in the emissary sent by Cornelius, who was hungering for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and did not yet know it.
I have found that the Spirit often works this way, giving a mysterious answer long before the question is identified. I have been awakened by a need to pray for someone only later to find that at that same hour the object of my prayers was suffering life-changing trials. Recently, I had a dream of a repeated nightmare, and I don’t know what it means or doesn’t mean, but it was good to see that Peter, who was greatly used of God, puzzled over visions and the answers eventually were revealed.
Also interesting in this chapter is the end result of Peter’s journey, and it goes back to an observation made two days ago from my reflection on Chapter 8. That is, that there is a difference between the baptism of water in the name of Jesus Christ and the baptism of the Spirit. Without getting too argumentative here, I just want to say that one without the other was deemed incomplete in both instances, and that when there was evidence of the one, the natural next step was to seek the other. This is in keeping with what Peter preached at the first arrival of the Holy Spirit when he said:
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “It Might Have Been Worse”:
The obsession of the mind was a little harder to understand and yet everyone has obsessions of various kinds. The alcoholic has them to an exaggerated degree. Over a period of time he has built up self-pity, resentments toward anyone or anything that interferes with his drinking. Dishonest thinking, prejudice, ego, antagonism toward anyone and everyone who dares to cross him, vanity and a critical attitude are character defects that gradually creep in and become a part of his life. Living with fear and tension inevitably results in wanting to ease that tension, which alcohol‡ seems to do temporarily.
*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.
‡ From “Our Invitation to You” out of Overeater’s Anonymous: “The OA recovery program is patterned after that of Alcoholics Anonymous. We use AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, changing only the words ‘alcohol’ and ‘alcoholic’ to ‘food’ and ‘compulsive overeater.’”
- Mediation and the God of Cornelius (corthodoxy.wordpress.com)