Abstinent Today:

I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Walking hand in hand with our friends and our Higher Power, we are now exploring this world, using the great spiritual principles embodied in the Twelve Steps as the map to guide our way.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 106

Created to be loved and share that love with others, we humans cannot be content until we are fulfilling our purpose. We who have tried to fill our empty cups with futile substitutes have discovered that no matter what we put in, the emptiness will not go away. No amount of filling the body will make the spirit full. Fulfillment comes when we clear what blocks us from God and connect with Him in a loving and honest way, and use the overflow of that relationship to pour into the lives around us. The Twelve Steps is one model to make that happen, sort of a blueprint to follow for those who need it like me.

I recently read one of those “…For Dummies” books and, though not a dummy, I found there is a lot to be said about an elementary program of breaking things down into a series of first, next, and thens. I also know that I tend to require a varying level of explanation. Perhaps being originally from the “Show-Me” state keeps me from being able to just learn on someone’s say-so. Maybe it’s just my stubborn need to know the next few steps of my journey. Still, I can see why someone might not like such a simplification of terms as is often in such books. Step-by-step programs and factored-out explanations are not required for every person, and neither is a Twelv-Step Program. But as for me and my recovery, I’ll take the Twelve Steps!

From Proverbs 9:

6 Leave your simple ways and you will live;

walk in the way of insight.

Wisdom’s call is a simple one, and it seems to say, “Stop going your own way!” I recently posted on a social networking site a helpful bit of food advice. One responder, obviously not a recovering compulsive overeater, responded by describing his latest fad juice-fast, on which he had some meager (and almost definitely temporary) weight loss success. I wanted to ask him if he had donated his teeth to charity, or if he had just decided that the Creator surely didn’t mean for us to eat whole foods. As my smart-alek brain was formulating responses I would never send, I heard myself get convicted in my head. I do the same type of thing, trying to improve God’s plan to better suit my interest, or at least my latest perception of my interest. It is amazing some of the things we do along our way to try and get all we can out of what resources God gives us and then squeeze in a little more by edging God out (EGO). What folly! What detrimental ignorance! Wisdom begs me to leave my natural tendencies behind and walk according to insight, that is spiritual guidance from within, as opposed to material perception from without.

Dear Father, today, help me walk in Your ways, not mine!

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Acts 17:

11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

To be commended as one of noble character is one of the things I most highly covet, to be identified for my integrity, and reputed for my devotion to God. This description of the Bereans gives me something to aim toward. They were receptive to God’s message, eager to hear and follow, and diligently persistent in examining what they heard against the measure of all truth – Scripture. Furthermore, they did all this for a beneficial product: a new attitude of belief. Belief is the attitude that precedes active faith. And faith is the blessing of God that hones and whittles us to perfection until we will turn loose of it forever on the day the object of our faith comes before our eyes. Until then, I choose to eagerly listen to hear the Word of God, and willingly follow, examining all against the Scriptures, in the grateful hope that I am being renewed, recreated into something eternal even now.

I love what happened to Paul as he faithfully delivered the message he was given wherever he went. God orchestrated his path through persecution and hardship to Athens, where he was put before the Areopagus, a Greek think-tank of philosophers, who hashed, gabbed, and rehashed all the latest thoughts. There, among the so-called “great” thinkers of the world, he testified about Jesus, the resurrection, and God’s plan for mankind.

26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[From the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus]

Going where you are led to go and doing what you know to do can get you in the most amazing circumstances if you are willing to capitalize your inconvenience as opportunity! Paul showed us this, in what was the introduction of the Gospel to the world’s seat of philosophy.

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 45:

If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn’t there. Our human resources, as marshalled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.

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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