I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
In time I was able to reach into the darkest corners of my soul and reveal the truth of my life: I came to OA as a victim; through OA and therapy discovered I was a survivor; today I am a thriver who enjoys a life of sane and happy usefulness.
I like the way the contributor differentiates between the three categories of people: victims, survivors, and thrivers. The topical quote is one that normalizes, if not recommends, professional therapy. Quite honestly, when one finally admits they are powerless and unmanageable, it is hard to imagine why any would try to change that without seeking some counsel and advice. God speaks through the voices of His servants and some of them are counselors. In order to move from merely surviving life to one who thrives in it, we need to learn some things perhaps we haven’t heard before, and this takes seeking out people who are knowledgeable about such things. Many of us seek the advice of doctors, nutritionists, or physical trainers, and yet leave our mental state vulnerable to neglect. This is the same neglect we perpetrated toward our bodies, and yet many of us are guilty of committing the same crime against our body’s command center. For the true vitality that comes from recovery, the healthy practice the principles of the steps in all their affairs, and that means seeking counsel of a mental health kind as necessary too. “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22) When I was sick enough of how things were to get serious about making changes, I sought out those who had what I wanted and asked them how they got it.
Caveat: Not all counselors are ministers of God’s wisdom! It is well worth whatever one spends to spend it on the wisdom that heals, and not cast it away on misguidance.
From Proverbs 18, NIV:
9 One who is slack in his work
is brother to one who destroys.
15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.
Verse 9 relates to a conversation I had this morning with a brother whom I love. He reminded me that we, who are in the habit of serving ourselves, tend to do the bare minimum required to barely get by. In the previous paragraphs such a person might be described as a victim or maybe a survivor. To have an A+ mind but skate by with a C because we were too lazy to do the required work is selfish sloth, and I am a habitual perpetrator of it. God tells me here that one who slacks off is the relative of a destroyer. It is not for us who wish to be supernaturally vital to just squeak by. Paul told the Church, in 1 Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
If I combine the zeal with which I should come away from that realization, and apply it to the wisdom of verse 15, will I not wholeheartedly pursue whatever knowledge I can? And should it not tear down any obstacles that hinder me from seeking the advice of a professional counselor? Running as if to get the prize means throwing off everything that hinders and training like it was all that mattered! The more coaching, encouraging, and advice I can get – all the better!
From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Peter 1, NIV:
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Make every convenient effort? No. Every painless effort? No! Every easy effort? Certainly not! We are to do whatever we can to add these tools to our quiver and make them a normal part of our lives. I heard an amazing sermon this morning that centered around John 14:6, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life,” but it was not from the perspective of argument or exclusion. Instead, the preacher made the point for Christians to receive this message: unless we live Jesus’ Way, and Jesus’ Truth, we cannot experience Jesus’ Life; and Jesus’ demonstrated Himself as Love. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35) Abiding in Love is the key to supernatural vitality. The Life Himself said, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4) What fruit? Galatians 5:22-23 describes them similarly to Peter’s list here, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
It is certainly true that it is God by His Spirit that makes such fruit grow, but we are called to do everything we can to cultivate such a crop in our lives. The promise is productive, effectual life in the knowledge – that is relationship, not just scholastic knowledge – of Jesus Christ. That’s the effervescent, vibrant life I want. God’s promise of abundant life starts as soon as we accept that and submit to living His Way, Truth, and Life.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 153:
Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
*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.