I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Today, I am hurting emotionally. I had kind of an epiphany yesterday that I was stuck in sort of a Catch-22 in a close relationship of mine. Making amends for past abuses is difficult when people expect the same behavior they’ve known, and keep you at arm’s length for their own protection. Some of their problem is theirs. I bear the fault for harming them in the past, but their fears that cause them to react in negative ways seem out of my reach. I am praying that God will mend what I have broken, and that true relationship can return with those I love.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
As long as I concentrated on the defects of other people, I was told, I would feel reluctant to ask for—and unworthy to receive—the help I needed.
I need help! This is a breakthrough statement at Step Two when we decide we need God’s help to overcome our addiction, but it is just as pivotal when I realize I need the help of those around me to mend what I have broken. Yesterday, I asked for just such help. I asked God to help my friend forgive and love me, and I asked my friend to try to love me positively and not in the fearful, guarded response the old harms have conditioned over time. Finding others to blame restricts me from being humble enough to petition them for assistance. The amends I owe are the consequences of no one’s actions but mine! I briefly hold the guilt until I lay it at the feet of my Higher Power, but I don’t pile it onto my offended friend. I merely ask for help rebuilding what was lost.
From Proverbs 29:
2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
Ever wonder what would happen if the wicked were to suddenly transform, switching sides to the righteous? Would the people groan still, or would they rejoice? Or would they outwardly rejoice while inwardly guarding themselves against that wicked ruler, sure there was some trickery being played? I can tell you it is the latter! My character defects are so deeply entrenched in history that few can trust this wicked ol’ ruler to be anything but. Those who have been hurt the longest and the worst are the last to trust. Who can blame them? I certainly was a wicked tyrant!
Dear Father, today, please mend what I cannot, and help me mend what I can. Soften hearts to trust once more and make me a diligent servant of that trust, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Romans 9:
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
“Why did you make me this way?” sounds like something I would say. The “why?” and “what next?” questions are the most impertinent. I shared recently that I have been convicted in my spirit enough lately to learn that my question “why?” might more appropriately be, “What quiet, still message of Yours did I ignore, Lord, that it took this calamity to get my attention?” The assertion of verse 20 reminds me of God’s booming voice in Job 38-41, “The Lord said to Job:
2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:1-2)
This whole chapter addresses the will and choice of God as supreme, even over the will of man (surprise surprise!), and while it is the stuff of arguments and divisions over election and predestination, I think the point is that one’s best interest is served if one hopes and prays they are one of the elect, and serves as though they were, in the interest of gratitude and of proving their faith, not of gaining their salvation.
One of Paul’s examples was Pharoah, who was made what he became for the purposes of God’s glory (v. 17). If God’s purposes could be served by a man so evil as to enslave God’s favored children and slaughter their babies, perhaps God can use a recovering compulsive eater like me who has a tendency to be somewhat of a jerk.
From “the Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 81:
After a few years with an alcoholic, a wife gets worn out, resentful and uncommunicative. How could she be anything else? The husband begins to feel lonely, sorry for himself.
*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.’”