I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Happy Mother’s Day! Today, I remember so many mothers who have lost their children, and others who have borne the pain of infertility, those who cannot enjoy a day like this because they have lost their own mother, or who have been abused by their natural mother. Considering all the pain surrounding most people’s concept of “Mother” leaves precious few who can celebrate such a day with pure joy. Still, not one of us was born who did not have a daughter of God involved in the process, and most of us have some dear lady, a mother, step-mother, foster mother, grandmother, aunt or mentor, to whom honor is due, even if only the honor of reverent reflection and a life well lived. I honor the women of the world who are supporting the children of the world and their fathers. (Because we fathers are just big kids too!)
I also celebrate the mothering, caring, nurturing Spirit of God, who goes with me even when my mom can’t, who comforts me when no one else can, and who instructs me in the ways that would please the Father and intercedes with Him on my behalf.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
Perfectionism is a deadly character trait. It can kill as easily as compulsive eating. It taught me that I’d never measure up or get it right. And it was a lie. Progress, on the other hand, gives room to breathe, to be human, to make mistakes and get back on track anyway.
“Progress not perfection” is the program slogan the contributor to today’s VOR wrote about. I am amazed at how many of the compulsive eaters I have met share this character trait in common, while I always thought I was the only one. The problem with my perfectionism is that I didn’t expect perfection from just me, I abused everyone else with my expectations, then disappointments. The rage monster then entered and, unappeased, he turned to the only thing he could truly conquer that gave him any satisfaction: food. Progress on the other hand is measurable, at least by our sense of accomplishment. When I sense that I am better this moment than the last, a green arrow, like the one on the news reports that describe a good day at the stock market, appears in my mind, and all is well. When the arrow is red and pointed down, I can at least arrest the fall with some of the tools at my disposal and begin working toward progress once again.
There was only one perfect man, and I’m not Him. I will continue to try to progress toward His style of perfection, but I have accepted that when I reach that level, there will no longer be a need for me to remain on this practice field called Earth. I am happy to be living in the progress, on a heading of perfection, knowing I will not, in this lifetime, reach it anymore than I can follow a compass and arrive at “North.”
From Proverbs 12, NIV:
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
This is a great contrast for my life before and what I hope I will achieve after, and maybe to some extent do now as I progress. I heard someone explain once that the word “sarcasm” comes from the same root that means “to tear flesh” and I was convicted because I was the self-proclaimed world champion practitioner of sarcasm. The “Sticks and stones” nursery rhyme was a lie! Words can pierce like swords. The Bible says so right here. As I am learning to make living amends for my living harms, I am looking forward to making healing my personal mission, especially in the words I speak. It is no secret I enjoy writing and find it an indispensable tool of my recovery, but I would like to put myself in positions to help the hurting on a regular basis, and then to be bold about ministering words of encouragement, kindness, and vitality. Hope is contagious, and I want to infect as many as I can with it.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in 1 Corinthians 6, NIV:
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?
This is an interesting commentary on the spiritual condition of the Corinthian church, and by extension, me. Okay, I may not have sued anyone lately, but I have plotted against them in my heart and I have harmed by both word and deed in retaliation for the wrongs I perceived were done to me. This verse suggests, however, that it would be better to be wronged than to even register a complaint about being cheated or wronged, because the quarreling nature detracts from our vitality and the reputation of the body of believers when we accuse each other. I, for one, would rather be assaulted in the street than sully the reputation of Christ’s bride the Church. Why then, won’t I take an insult on the chin rather than openly hate in defiance of God’s love?
Dear Father, today, envelope me in Your grace so that nothing of me shows but Your love is reflected in all I do, say, or convey.
17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
Hallelujah! Make us one, Lord! Make us one.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 60:
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
*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.