Abstinent Today:

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

Today, my youngest child, my son, turns twenty-one.  He is out on his own and seems to be thriving, with a home, a job, a steady girlfriend, and a circle of Christian friends.  He makes some youthful mistakes, but overall, I am proud of him.

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” — Herman Hesse as quoted in For Today, p. 158

fingernails on the chalkboardIf “hate” is too strong a word for you, like I pretended it was for me when I first read this, then try some of these phrases I bet you already use: “rubs me the wrong way,” “don’t like,” “can’t stand,” “irks me,” “makes me sick,” “annoys the stew out of me.”  Now when we apply the principle of the statement we find that there are lots of little mirrors of our character defects we never acknowledged walking around us every day.  Every instance of judgment and ill-will represents some failure in me to be the conduit of grace I am supposed to be.  It’s like trying to be a pitcher while I’m filled with rocks.  Those resentments keep me from accepting as much, so I have less to pour out.  If I constantly ask God to reveal and remove my shortcomings, the annoyances become flares that increase my awareness, and draw my attention to the next item for the character chopping block.

God, clean me out so that I can be as useful a tool as I can be in Your hands.  Keep me alert to defects that I need to surrender to You, and aware of barriers that block relationship between You and me and between me and others.

 

From Proverbs 22, NIV:

Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

I started to doubt myself last night as my daughter described the set of alcoholic beverages she purchased for her brother’s 21st birthday and as I mulled over the plans Junior had to go to a cigar bar with his buddies that conflicted with our attempts to get together for a birthday dinner.  These two indulgences, alcohol and nicotine, to which I was bound for much of my life, robbed me of a lot of joy, and it hurts to see my children toy with them in such a nonchalant fashion.  My precious bride reminded me that “when they are old they will not turn from it” but that while they are adolescents they will try their boundaries.  I hope I have impressed upon them the importance of passionately following God’s Spirit, and not just abstaining from self-indulgent desires.  It does not appear that I have done such a good job, but then again, maybe the seeds I have planted just haven’t sprouted to full bloom yet.

God, I thank You for deliverance from nicotine, alcohol, and now sugar and overeating.  Please protect my children from evil, and keep them from being ensnared by self-indulgence.  Break the generational curses that predispose them to addiction, in Jesus’ name, and deliver them to supernatural vitality by Your Spirit.  Amen!

 

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

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[Or every] sin.

John is the author who often writes in the poetic terms of light and dark, and with them draws a significant word picture of a very real spiritual truth.  Often, those without the Spirit describe their experiences as “stumbling about” or “aimlessly wandering” with no hope or direction, very much like one would expect in total darkness.  I have lived most of my life as one content to sit in darkness and yet claim knowledge of the light, not realizing that what I was in was darkness.  Verse 6 describes such a life as a lie.  Part of me may have known I was living a lie, but most of me just medicated myself numb to that realization, as I have described before, with any number of substances and maladaptive behaviors, not the least of which was rage.  I should have known that I was outside the light.  There are other passages that clearly define the life I was living as darkness, for instance Galatians 5 lists the acts of the flesh before the list of the fruit of the Spirit.  I was living in many of them all while claiming to be a child of the Spirit.  Embarassing!

Heavenly Father, who is the Good Gardener, weed out all of me that offends You and cultivate a crop of Your Spiritual fruit, so that You are glorified in my living, and so that I may be at home with You even after I pass from this world into Your presence.  May the blood of Your son which has purchased  my forgiveness now cleanse me from all unrighteousness, and grow me up in Your abundant life, a fragrant and attractive crop.

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 98 and 99:

(Ooops!  Yesterday’s post attributed the BB quote to “On His Way” but was actually from page 84. When I was wrong, I promptly admitted it.)

Argument and fault-finding are to be avoided like the plague. In many homes this is a difficult thing to do, but it must be done if any results are to be expected. If persisted in for a few months, the effect on a man’s family is sure to be great. The most incompatible people discover they have a basis upon which they can meet. Little by little the family may see their own defects and admit them. These can then be discussed in an atmosphere of helpfulness and friendliness.

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.

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