I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
It’s the first of the month, and I usually enjoy celebrating these like a mini New Year. It’s a time to swap out contact lenses and razor blades, time to turn the calendar page, time to … well, you get the idea. This first-of-the-month, however, is not so refreshing. I set this as a date for my beloved boomerang children to begin paying rent, a way to teach them responsibility and help Dad out at the same time. After all, feeding them isn’t free, and I didn’t sign on to do it for a lifetime. Yesterday, my child most in need of responsibility training announced that he was terminated from his employment for reasons he was too ashamed to admit. Furthermore, he pawned several items to buy a motorcycle a week or so ago, and now has no means to get his belongings (most of them gifts from my precious bride and me) out of hock. I am praying for the serenity to accept the Junior I cannot change, courage to change the residential agreements I can, and wisdom not to do anything too rash.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” — Step Six
This step is so tricky! I remember thinking, when I first heard it, that anyone should be ready to have defects removed, but working it, I found out there is much more to understanding them, why each has been employed and how I have benefitted from them. Only when I fully recognize their cost, rewards and benefits, can I become “entirely ready” to let them go. Proverbs 5:22 says, “The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast.” For me, Step Six was a near scientific analysis of the chains, the locks and the bolt of my bonds and was a rotating of each lock to present it, in Step Seven, to the One who holds its key.
From Proverbs 1, NIV:
10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
I must admit, when I read this first, I had my son on my mind, and the pain of seeing him make foolish decisions wafted over me, along with the annoyance of his choices concerning the company he keeps. Then I remembered this is about me, not anyone else, and I began to wonder how I crowd in with those who are doing what is harmful to my spirit. It might not be “wrong” or “sinful” according to some, but it misses the mark where the relationship between God and me is concerned.
I think my motives tend to track along self-centered lines when I begin to consider how I spend what I deem to be my “free” time. I still default to entertaining myself or to laziness. Admittedly, it is hard to discern the line between responsible rest and selfish sloth, but my tendency is to sit if there is nothing pressing me to get up, to watch TV if there are no chores screaming to get done, and to just lie there relaxing unless the alarm is going off demanding that I do something in my action plan. I have left little wiggle room for spontaneous selfless action. So, if you ask me out for ice cream, or invite me to sit in the dark and watch a movie, I might just turn you down to do something that has less me in it. My Third Step commitment has outgrown my eating, and is taking over all areas of my life. Thank God!
From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Corinthians 8, NIV:
2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.
Paul used the charity of the Macedonian churches to inspire a generous habit of sharing among the Corinthian churches and among us as well. They did not give out of their abundance but out of their trial, beyond their ability, and it was credited to them as “grace” (verse 1).
Lord, may I become a habitual giver, that I might not consider first my loss, but my opportunity to help someone else and Your Kingdom gain. May grace season my every action and decision, and may You be glorified in my standing up and even in my lying down.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 58:
Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
*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.