I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Today my feelings of failure have returned en masse! I have been plagued by feelings of failure regarding marriage since the demise of my first one. I thought that a new one would bring relief, but it usually just serves to point out that, no matter with whom or where I go, I will still be there, and my defects, if left unresolved, will be there too. Today, however, I am feeling a failure at parenting. Yesterday, I discovered that my son has lied to me about the personal effects he sold at the pawn shops, some of them only on loan to him from family members and not his to sell, but never to be retrieved because he “sold” them rather than “pawned” them. Today, my more responsible boomerang child called to tell me her brand new car was just struck by the family junkie, who was begging her not to call the police or to tell the police that an unknown hit-and-run driver smashed her car. She called me, not to ask whether to call the police (a lesson I have sternly taught her due to her failures to do so in the past) but to ask me whether she should lie to the police upon their arrival. I cannot think of a clearer way to demonstrate that I have failed to teach integrity above all than for both of my children to err so grievously in a 24-hour period!
I am reminded of two things. First, that a man once walked up to me after we shared a group prayer, and said that the Lord told him to tell me, “You have not failed me, my son!” My mind has not forgotten that, although my spirit often does. Second, that the Supreme Heavenly Father of us all has borne much more disappointment from me, and from the rest of His children as well. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way,” and we have! I have! Who am I to be disgusted with anyone for turning to the way of selfishness, when I have been one of the worst practitioners? “Train up a child in the way he should go,” the Proverb says, “and when he is old he will not depart from it.” It says nothing about adolescents! I think in order to truly repent in the sense that we return to God, there is apparently some turning away, some testing the limits, or discovery that people may have to experience. Maybe if only to fulfill the words of Isaiah’s prophecy. I know I did. I yelled at my own father, demanding that he allow me to make my own mistakes. Now it seems mine are doing the same with less drama and noise.
It hurts to let them! God, it hurts!
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
Before coming to OA, I spent my whole life expecting God and other people to solve my problems. I never tried to do what I could—my part.
I don’t know how helpful it is for me to think that I have power over even the smallest atom of God’s creation, but this I know: I can get out of His way! It is ridiculous how much time I spend whining for God’s divine revelation of His will for my life, all the while gripping and grabbing for as much of my own will as I can hold onto and more. A large majority of my questions about God’s will are answered in His Word, and yet I tend to busy myself with selfish interests rather than seek those answers out. More and more, I am becoming convinced that “my part” is just to stop hindering God from doing His best in and around me. I need to get out of His way even more than I need to figure out what His way is. “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)
God, as I offer myself to You to build and do with me as You will, please keep me from flinching and squirming on your operating table. Cause me to be at peace, content to know that You are doing a good work in me and those around me, and that even your cutting and shaping is for the good of those on whom You are working.
From Proverbs 2, NIV:
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
This chapter opens with a bunch of “if” statements and then, right in the middle of the “then” promises comes this testimony of God’s ultimate goodness toward His faithful ones. These words leave little doubt that God’s work on behalf of those who are His is complete and secure. I am repeatedly reminded by God’s Word that what He has is store is good. I do not know why I resist!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Corinthians 9, NIV:
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
This reads to me like a promise of a resounding “Yes!” in answer to our Third Step prayer. Notice that, just as in the prayer, victory over our difficulties is not for our good alone, but to increase the usefulness of our testimony to help others. Here, our enrichment comes not so we can gorge ourselves on indulgences, but so we can be generous to the glory of God.
Father, make it so. May my life bring You glory!
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 50:
Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. They flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward that Power, and to do certain simple things, there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking. In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them.
*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.