I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Okay, this is a one-day-at-a-time program, so I’m not going to beat myself up about not writing or doing my devotional yesterday, but I am going to re-commit to writing something every day, even if it is not my normal formulated plan. It was not that I was hiding a relapse, it was just a very busy and otherwise occupied day.
Today and the rest of the week, I am working different hours than normal, and it will have me up later even than normal. Even so, I got to take a few hours off to attend my prison ministry preparation meeting tonight. One of the talks was on forgiveness, and I was convicted about a particular person I have not forgiven. I immediately gave up the resentment the moment I realized it, but I know I will want to have a more in depth talk with God about it later. This person I need to more completely forgive is dead, so forgiving him is about me, not about addressing him.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“…compulsive overeating is removed on a daily basis… achieved through the process of surrendering…” — Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, p. 3
It is interesting to me to see how surrender is never a once-and-done kind of thing. It can always be done more completely and my human nature seems to reset itself every day, so that I have to re-surrender again at least that often. Gratitude helps, but it is not the same thing as surrender. There is a weird irony to surrendering to God, though. One might consider the consequences of surrendering to be shackles and chains or a prisoner of war camp, but when I surrender to God I am actually freed from the bonds that drag me down, liberated to live in vitality like I have never known before. It is a miracle of transformation, and He does it faithfully every time I submit. My joy is not circumstantial, because it has come in dire situations as long as I was surrendered to His will, and it has left me when I had nothing to fret about but had taken up my will again and begun to serve myself. The contributor to today’s VOR entry wrote of a mistrust that (s)he “would not find comfort and relaxation without food.” When I have made my fears weightier than my trust, my worry over my own comfort or pleasure heavier than my desire to see God’s purposes fulfilled, I have lost my sense of ease, and finding myself agitated, I have often relapsed into insane thinking and feelings, sometimes even about food, though (thanks be to God) I have not eaten in those situations yet.
I am convinced that I will not be pleased, happy, or comfortable with every situation I get in. I know that, and I accept that. I know that my level of pleasure, happiness or comfort is not a measure of my value, which has already been designated by my Creator as “worth dying for.” So, for Him, I am willing to endure hardship and misfortune as long as I know as I read tonight in Isaiah 49:15-16, “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
Lord, I know there are scars on your palms from nails which pierced You for my transgressions. When I see them, I will not be able to see anything else but Your love for me. Thank You for never leaving me nor forsaking me, and for being with me always, even to the very end. I have been disappointed before by human love which grew cold, promises which were not kept, and relationships which abandoned me. Thank You for being human enough to reach me but divine enough to never love in such a way that would desert me. You make me whole because You love me wholly. Help me love like that! I want to be more like You.
From Proverbs 5, NIV:
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
I know this one often comes out of my Proverbs 5 reading, but it seems important to remember, given the thoughts recorded above, that what binds me is not the result of God, but the result of my rebellion from Him. As I served myself, my self-service hobbled my legs, bound my hands, and then it weighed my whole body down. God is a liberator! The bondage was no one’s fault but my own.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Hebrews 12, NIV:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
10b but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
What a great chapter to read while considering the bondage of self and the liberty of God’s redemption! I really have nothing to add except my own exclamation of gratitude: Halleluiah!
Cultivate Your holiness in me, Lord Jesus, and give me grace to endure Your reconstruction with diligent effort and not sloth or self-pity. Help me to be useful now, even while I look forward to the useful into which You will make me.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 84:
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
*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.