I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Well, I spent far too long concerning myself with the special considerations for adjusting my schedule to meet a special work assignment. A second look at the calendar this morning revealed that I was mistaken about the week. It is next week I am scheduled to work the weird shift. As I celebrated a week of relief from that, I even took it to prayer. I thanked God for the extra week and asked that if possible, the whole cup would pass from me. When I arrived at work, my supervisor asked me to find someone else to work the special assignment, because he needs me to cover for him while he is gone that same week. Not only does it look like I will get a reprieve from the special duty, but I will get supervisor pay to boot. It pays to take your worries to the One Who can handle them!
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Cultivate humble gratitude that you were fortunate enough to find out what was wrong with you before it was too late.” — Before You Take That First Compulsive Bite, Remember…
Live long enough and you will certainly meet people who struggle with undiagnosed illness. It is frustrating and scary to know that something is wrong but not be able to identify it. The professionals once trusted to help become the objects of disappointment and resentment, and the people once counted on for compassion begin to doubt that anything is actually wrong or just run out of supportive things to say so they don’t say anything at all.
I was relieved to discover there is a name for what is wrong with me and a proven method by which to resolve it. The recovered life is so much better than the diseased life! I would assert that if one was not yet grateful for discovering their addiction, they have not yet progressed far enough down the road of recovery to appreciate it. To cultivate that gratitude, I just keep doing what works and keep coming back. Eventually, the distance I travel begins to amount to something even if I only get there one step at a time.
From Proverbs 18, NIV:
14 The human spirit can endure in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
The way I read this, the spirit can support a body in disorder, but the same cannot be said of the body when the spirit is overwhelmed. This calls the reader to diligent maintenance of spiritual fitness. What could have made self-obsessed addicts such as we convinced we needed any spiritual fitness had we not gone to a meeting to find some relief from our physical symptoms? Leave it to God to use something like vanity to lead us to sanity!
The term “crushed spirit” reminds me of a picture I have in my head of every overwhelmed person I ever met. It looks a lot like the sculpture of Atlas bearing the globe on his shoulders, but it has changing faces to represent everyone who suffers from too much strain. The strong muscles we are used to seeing are replaced by quivering, wilted flesh that betrays imminent collapse rather than merely burden. Also, in my vision, the one with the weight of the world on their shoulders wears sufficient clothing, unlike most depictions of the Greek Titan. I know I’ve felt like that picture in my mind, and I have found I am not alone. I have to remember that I cannot allow the whole world to crush my spirit, but when I feel myself bearing too much weight I need to recognize that as a reminder that I am not supposed to have to carry any of it at all. I hand it off to the Creator and He knows just how to hang the planet in its proper orbit. …Which, by the way, is not around ME!
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Titus 2, NIV:
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age
In the 1980’s First Lady Nancy Reagan made popular a slogan that attempted to address drug abuse. It was simply, “Just say no!” I remember, as a young teenager at the time, thinking that’s so simple it just might work. It isn’t until the grace of salvation gets ahold of someone that they seem willing to say “no” to all the influences that got them confused and overwhelmed. I’m learning now that food is not the only obsession I have, and it is not the only abstinence I need. I need to deny my selfish impulses wherever and to whatever they lead. I need to exercise my self-restraint by going against my wish even if I can’t find a better reason than just the spiritual exercise. Paul’s instruction to Titus was to be above the reproach of his accusers and to live such an utterly noble life that no one would be able to bring any kind of accusation against him (verses 7-8). His instruction was that everyone, old men, young men, women, slaves, would all live such lives so as to win the trust and attention of any seekers of the Truth that delivers freedom.
God, help me live my life to please You and to become spiritually attractive so that others might want to please You too.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 85:
Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.
*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.