I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
April 15th, the deadline for the U.S. Federal tax return, used to bring me all measure of stress. Twice I was on the local news because I was one of the ones who had assembled in the line after hours at the Post Office to get my tax return postmarked by midnight. The second time, the reporter even recognized me from the previous year, saying, “Weren’t you here in this predicament last year?” Maybe there is something about a compulsive overeater that doesn’t associate with delayed gratification or consequence, but procrastinating seems to be part of my problem, even if it isn’t for all of us. I am happy to report that the taxes have been done, and that this day holds no Internal Revenue Service stress for me.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Sometimes the process of doing Steps Four and Five brings to our awareness more than our character defects. Sometimes we uncover old traumas… Until we begin to deal with them, some of us found that our abstinence was precarious or we continued to feel unhappy, even while we were abstaining and working the Steps.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 50-51
The contributor to today’s entry attributes their overcoming paralyzing fear to humility, which they in turn attribute to a new trust in God and a willingness to learn. I can testify to humility being essential to this. I had to take a good, “Who do you think you are?” look at the expectations I had for myself. I had allowed for everyone else to be flawed, although it raked on my nerves sometimes. Why couldn’t the man in the mirror have a few flaws? Who decided I was supposed to be perfect? It helped me to redefine perfection, holiness, righteousness and words like those as a compass heading and not a destination. As I can never arrive at “North,” so I can only march in the direction of perfection, never arriving there either, at least while I remain in flesh. The fact that I don’t always look like the point of that compass needle is merely a reminder that I am a spiritual being suffering a physical experience. Like an insect surviving its pupal stage, I am not what I will be when I am made new. Once I learned to accept that, my failures were easier to swallow, as were the traumatic pains inflicted on me by others.
From Proverbs 15:
9 The Lord detests the way of the wicked,
but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
Here, righteousness is something to be pursued, as though its capture is elusive. Again, though elsewhere we read of “the righteous,” I believe those are the ones in pursuit of it, rather than those who have attained any of their own. Were it not for the grace of Jesus Christ, I would have no righteousness in me. But thanks to the acceptance the Author of Life showed me by dying for me, I get to join in the pursuit, having turned again this morning from my own wicked way.
Dear Father, today, please help me remain faithful to Your planned path for me, on the true heading of holiness, because You declared me valuable and set me apart for something special to come. Help me to be a radiant example that others might seek You by joining in my pursuit.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Acts 23:
11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
One thing I am learning is that God will always prepare me for the next test, even if by a miniature suffering of the one to come. This actually gives purpose to every trial I face. Not only does each struggle make me stronger, it gives me experience to share as a story of hope for the ones I meet in similar situations and makes me that much more ready for whatever comes next. As I am growing in faith, so I am growing in my ability to stand up under trial. The readings indicate that Paul never expected to survive Jerusalem, but here he is being comforted at the very shoulder of the Lord, and instructed to take the Gospel even to Rome, which was then the capital of the known world.
This also goes to show me that God’s orchestration is perfect. Every domino had to fall perfectly in order for the accused of God to get a hearing in Rome. Even the parentage and birth of Saul (aka: Paul) served the purposes of God! Had he not been born a Roman citizen, this would have ended quite differenlty.
Lord of the Universe, thank You for the knowledge that You planned out my life before You even knit me together in my mother’s womb. You know my coming and my going, and have set me in a place and time where and when I can do the most for Your kingdom. Help me to discover and faithfully follow Your way for me.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 100:
Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
*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.’”