smith at workAbstinent Today:

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

I had one packed day yesterday, busy from 4:00 am until 1:00 am and finally got some rest before getting up to meet with my church family this morning at 8:30.  I was certainly glad I did!  It’s good to be with others who are actively reaching for power, purpose, provision and inspiration from the Lord!  I’ll be reaching for a pillow when I get home tonight (or, rather, tomorrow morning).

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

I had decided, unconsciously, that the pain of compulsive overeating was less than the pain of growth.

This is right in line with another study I’ve been doing that referenced Hebrews 12:11, “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.”  One of my biggest fears was learning or having to do something new.  As a kid, when I had to change schools, it set me off for months.  As an adult, I resisted every new task or concept that came my way.  I hated change and it didn’t matter to me that all growth requires change; I would rather begin deteriorating than venture one microscopic footprint outside my normal.  This is especially strange considering how uncomfortable I was in that “normal.”  I was hateful and discontent, but refused to do anything new or allow anyone to make me go out of my way.  Looking back, it really is nothing short of insane.

Remaining connected in relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ frees me from fear and the Holy Spirit gives me all the sustenance I need, but it also brings an awareness of when I am pleasing or displeasing Him.  I no longer feel a thrill at doing myself or others harm, or feel content remaining in a harmful set of circumstances.  I am no longer content to keep practicing the self-indulgent behaviors that distract me from my real purpose: honoring God and serving others.  There’s one way to go from here, and that’s growth.

 

From Proverbs 25, NIV:

Remove the dross from the silver,
and a silversmith can produce a vessel

This goes well with the concept of discipline.  In order to make anything out of it, a craftsman must gently heat raw silver to almost to boiling so that the impurities (the dross) rise to the surface.  The dross is then carefully scraped off the surface of the molten metal, which can then be poured into a mold or onto a shaping tray.

In my raw form, I was of little use in the Master’s hand too.  But when I submitted to His care, and endured the turning up of the heat, I gradually became willing to let go of some of my impurities, which He was faithful to carefully remove.  He continues to refine me, alternating heat and scraping, and I hope to be found pure and useful as He works to perfect me.

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”  2 Timothy 2:20-21

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in 1 John 3, NIV:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

This confirmation of the childhood of Christ’s followers also goes along with the transforming work of God in the lives of the redeemed.  Proverbs 3:12 says that “the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in,” so the heating, molding, forming, and shaping work God does in us, even though it is painful at the time, proves our relationship with Him.  Heat hurts, but it does good work – it brings the subject to purity.  John says the hopeful permit purification.  We wouldn’t want to let a wounded appendage fester and threaten our lives, but would seek out a competent surgeon to remove the offending tissue so we could properly heal.  God is better than any physician and the wounds He can heal us from go deeper than any physical tissue or skeletal structure.

Verse 24 promises a Spiritual confirmation of relationship for those who believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another (verse 23).  I remember being resentful at not having this confirmation, but that is the response of the flesh and not of Spirit.  I wanted the rewards, but I wasn’t willing to submit to the will of Him who could transform.  I wanted the clean health, but I never consented to the surgery.  I wanted to be pure and spotless, but I whined when the heat got turned up.

Through accepting God’s grace and applying certain spiritual principles I learned by applying the Twelve Steps, I gave consent to the Master to have His way with me and to do His will.  Now I am enjoying the prospect of whatever He is making me into, and I am joyful to know that He is working out my defects and preparing me for useful service, even while employing me for service at the level He finds me today.  Until I become a jeweled crystal chalice, I will be the best wooden tool-box I can be.  I’m not putting off until finishing day the work I can do today.

God, I enjoy offering myself to You, and am excited to see what You build as You repeatedly relieve me of the remnants of my bondage of self.  You’ve got it all!

 

 

From “the Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “From Farm to City”:

I knew then that I hadn’t made a complete surrender, because I tried to bargain with the God I had found, and I said, “Anything but that! Don’t do that to me!”

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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