Abstinent Today:

I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time.  †

God has been coordinating my readings, devotionals, and the sermon podcasts to which I listen, to repeatedly bring up the idea of transformation.  One sermon I heard on the topic today even used the last two chapters of Hebrews (which were part of the last two days’ journal entries) to show that transformation is God’s will for any of us.  We all begin with a physical, human experience but, by the spiritual process of redemption and renewal, we are supposed to be transformed into something greater and to achieve our higher purpose.  I am humbled, often to tears, when I consider how my physical transformation has borne witness, both to others and to myself, of the transforming power of God which remains at work in me to transform what really matters – my soul – that is my attitudes, mind, will and emotions.  It is by His Spirit this transformation comes about, and as I seek more of Him daily, I am never disappointed.  I wrote out another verse for my vanity mirror today along this vane:

2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

(Interested parties may check out Jack Hayford’s Transformed Into His Image series by visiting this site.  I highly recommend part one especially.)

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“My Higher Power was now restoring me through my Step work with the same care and knowledge that the artist used to restore her painting in the gallery.”

Transformation of a valuable piece of art would be defacement, but the reality of my life is that at no point in time was I ever what I hope to become with the help of my Higher Power.  Imagine a graffiti artist attempting to improve upon the Mona Lisa with his spray-paint can.  I am thrilled to know that, God is restoring me to kinship with Him, and to a sense of sanity, but for all other purposes I am hoping for much more than a restoration.  I don’t want a new coat of paint on a canvass that has forever depicted shame, darkness and despair; I want a whole new artwork, this time done by the Master Artist, with me a submissive and cooperative canvass that is still as His brushstrokes define the new scene – one of hope, purpose, and life.  This is what is happening in all my affairs as I work to live the Twelve Steps and to seek my Higher Power’s will and the power to carry it out.

From Proverbs 8, NIV:

13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
I hate pride and arrogance,
evil behavior and perverse speech.

Speaking of transformation, here is some more of my “before” picture: arrogant pride with behavior and speech that does not match up to the calling of my Higher Power.  I am looking forward to the “after” product, but to my shame I must admit I still closely resemble this description.

From my reading through the Bible, currently in James 1, NIV:

With an amazing co-orchestration that only God could bring about, I read a version of James 1:22 yesterday that convicted me, and I would like to share my response to that reading:

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. James 1:22, NASB

This is, in a nutshell, what was wrong with my “religion” most of my life, except that, in addition to being a hearer, I was also a professor, and even an aggressive one at that. Please forgive me if you are among the many I have abused, prejudged, belittled or contradicted with my superior attitude regarding a Gospel which is supposed to be marked by humility and selfless action.

Lord, I welcome Your transforming process!  I offer You my broken pieces, tainted material, and unsightly façade, and I humbly ask You to form me into what You would have me become, continually, until You bring me to Yourself in person.

I also have to mention verse 17, which has made its way into my prayers of thanksgiving lately:

17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

I have always looked at this verse as a thanksgiving verse, and it certainly is that, but recently I noticed another use for it: a measure for discerning which gifts are good.  It is the ones that come from the Father that are the good gifts, and it comes naturally to pray this bit of thanksgiving over a salad of miracles from a garden; while the manufactories of the world keep cranking out pollutants of every imaginable variety.  I’m starting to sound like a naturalist, but I’m beginning to see the benefits of God’s way and to be appalled by the shifting shadows that rob God of His perfect will.

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “Spiritual Experience” Appendix:

Among our rapidly growing membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what psychologist William James calls the “educational variety” because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.

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Footnotes:

*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.

‡ From “Our Invitation to You” out of Overeater’s Anonymous:  “The OA recovery program is patterned after that of Alcoholics Anonymous. We use AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, changing only the words ‘alcohol’ and ‘alcoholic’ to ‘food’ and ‘compulsive overeater.’

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