Tag Archive: self-sacrifice


Photo credit: Woman's Day

Photo credit: Woman’s Day

Confession time! The transformation of recovery isn’t complete when Self keeps taking charge.

For the last couple weeks, I have moved, for the most part, into a guest bedroom in my house, partially to study without disturbing my precious bride, but mostly to hide from disappointment. I have repeatedly told the one who loves me that I was giving her “space to have her own way.” The truth is I have grown increasingly impatient, even intolerant, with her decisions lately. I have judged her actions as being based on her whim and emotion, when they are more than likely only lacking what I would deem an appropriate level of consideration of my own will, wish, and way. Either way, I am using isolation as a shield for disappointment, whether the expectations that feed it are realistic and fair or not.

Last night, while I fell asleep alongside her for a change, my mind and mouth were engaged even in the twilight of wakefulness. In the mental fog where the lies that support justifications begin to buckle under the weight of truth, I had some profound thoughts that escaped by way of mumbled, almost hypnotic, verbal expression. I confessed to my precious bride that, more than anything else, I am afraid of her. Not that I am afraid of her intentions or convictions, but that her intellect is not behind the wheel. After acknowledging my fear that her emotional navigation would run us, or more accurately – me, amok, I was forced to acknowledge that isolating myself from her to prevent injury puts my own emotions at the helm of my life, and so, constitutes me becoming the monster of which I was afraid.

The last thought I remember uttering before drifting off was that she is worth whatever pain I may experience, whatever it takes. As I recall what Christ endured for His Church (Ephesians 5:25), I am reminded that I have “not yet suffered to the point of shedding (my) blood” (Hebrews 12:4). I have not done everything I can. I have avoided pain by disengaging. I have behaved according to my own self-interest rather than sacrificing myself “as an act of worship” (Romans 12:1) giving preference to those around me. “As a dog returns to his vomit” (Proverbs 26:11) I have put Self on the throne of God yet again!

“Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…” (AA, 62).

Holy Father, rescue me from the bondage of self!* I have wandered back into my old cage, and it is dark and lonely in here. Deliver me so I can be relevant to those You have placed in my path, and that You, not me, may be glorified. Make Your light shine on me and reflect onto others, that they may be attracted to You and discover for themselves that You are able and willing to deliver us from our prisons, no matter how comfortable we have made them. Empower me to do Your will only always. Through Christ our Lord, amen!

 

* (a variation of AA’s Step Three Prayer, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 63)

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alabaster jarThe NT in a year reading today contained Ephesians 5: 8, “For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light”

It caught me that the verse doesn’t say I was “in” darkness, but that I “was” darkness. I am now not merely walking in light, but I “am” that light. The next verse explains it in more detail, that the fruit of light is light. I like it, but I have more meditating to do about that.

Yesterday, I had a thought while at YoGod (a Christ-centered, worshipful, yoga experience). Joye, our facilitator, read about the broken alabaster jar of nard that was poured out onto Jesus at the home of Simon the Leper. The devotional she read pointed out that the jar, an expensive product itself, had to be broken before the precious contents could be spilled out. While that was certainly a picture of what was about to happen to Jesus, the most precious of vessels issuing forth the most precious of anointing, it is also true of me. I more closely associate with the clay pots of Gideon than with any priceless jar, but the fact remains that I must be broken before what is inside, whether actually valuable or just prized by me for a temporary occasion, can be poured out. It is also only then, when I am broken and completely poured out onto Jesus, that I become the blessing to Him I was created to be, and come into the relationship I was built to maintain. I am broken and poured out, so that I can accept, freehanded, what Jesus was broken and poured out. I empty myself of me, and He empties Himself for and to me. I am all I am, and have all I have, for, to and because of Him. I do so love my Jesus! I do so wish to please Him.

Holy Father, make me more like the One to whom I belong – Christ Jesus, Your Son. Thank You for grace. Help me live in it and love with it.

I started today poorly, griping about the sleep I did not get, but You, who make all things new, please help me start again, lovingly sacrificing myself to the world around me rather than trying to claim what parts of it I feel are mine.

Abstinent Today:

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

Though my birth certificate says I’m a year older today, I still feel younger today than I did five, ten, and maybe even fifteen years ago.  It’s hard to say, because this is just one day at a time.  Still, it’s the first day at a time I’ve ever been forty-five!  Today, as much as I would like to pretend I own the day or the universe, as once was my custom in many years past, I surrender the day to God, to build with me and to do with me as He wills.

The picture on the right is of a card I got this morning.  While hilarious, I am working against the urge to act like that.

Thank You, God, for life!

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Many of us tried fasting, with and without a doctor’s supervision. Usually we lost weight, but as soon as we started eating again, the compulsive eating behavior returned, along with the weight.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 10

I still fast.  But now I do it in between each reasonably planned meal.  As I go through my day, when food thoughts or marketing suggestions get in my way, I convert them to calls to prayer, and so remain satisfied with the Bread of Life, rather than with the latest toxin disguised as treat.  When the Lord is my portion and my cup, I will never be in want!

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Revelation 11, NIV:

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”

Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray for God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  We know that His perfect will is not always done on Earth, because we witness evil even as we, ourselves, perpetrate it in rebellion of His will.  Scripture refers to the spiritual forces of this world as corrupt (Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 2:8, 20), and as the Prince of Darkness as the ruler of this fallen world (John 12:31, 14:30).  The day will come, according to this Scripture, that the kingdom of earth will be overshadowed, overpowered, and overtaken by the Kingdom of Heaven.  Those of us that are of the Kingdom look forward to that Day with eager anticipation.  Fear of that Day is a healthy alarm to come into alignment with the Lord of the universe, the King of all kings.

Thank You, Great King, for liberating me from the tyrannical rule of King Self.  Help me lay him on Your altar and slay him there, so that I can serve You with integrity.

 

From The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 151:

The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself. As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did—then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen—Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this page will understand!

 

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.’

Abstinent Today:

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:

Worlds Greatest Moocher“For many of us, our willingness to pay our own way is a sign that we are recovering and maturing emotionally.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 165

I’ll go one step farther and say that paying my way was an act of mending a past wrong, since I was also in the habit of getting all I could from any situation while contributing as little as possible.  In fact, I am convinced that compulsive overeating is a sort of hoarding that lives in our anxious fear that we won’t get enough or have our share.  Any hoarding goes against the trust we should have in a true relationship with God, our abundant Supplier.  Letting go, even of my fistful of dollars, exercises my trust and begins to mend a lifetime of mooching and grabbing.

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Revelation 6, NIV:

12 I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, 13 and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. 14 The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

There is apparently a succession of events, just as there is a succession of the seals, and a time to be waited for the completion of those events, just as the martyred saints were told in verse 11.  The breaking of this sixth seal precedes the terrestrial and cosmic destruction of the physical Earth, and the revelation of these events give warning of what will come.  There are several Scripture references to these events, and they all describe a frantic terror of mankind.  Even Noah’s flood was a foreshadowing of events to come when Adam’s generation will be complete.

Father, let me be about the work of Your grace and love, bringing in Your harvest of souls before time runs out and the fields are burned.  Keep me ever mindful that this is the priority and that all else is distraction.

 

From AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 33:

True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every A.A. meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him.

 

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.’

Abstinent Today:

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

Today begins my fall term of school.  Since I am only taking online classes this semester, my commute is easy, but I doubled up on the course load, thinking two miscellaneous classes might be as manageable as one math.  Even if I bit off more than I can chew, the Lord will provide a way to manage it, even if only through dropping one.

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“In OA we share a belief that we can each recover through a spiritual relationship with a power which is greater than ourselves alone.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 91

Michelangelos Touch of GodI am excited about what my Higher Power, Who chose to call Himself God (Exodus 6:7), has done to put walking tread on my faith.  He is making my separated, conflicted self into one integral unit, body, soul and spirit, unified for one purpose: His will.  I think that’s what recovery is: recovering the unity of self and relationship with God for which we were created but had lost under the influence of our substances and behaviors.  I remember what it was like to know of God and about God without knowing God through a real relationship.  That relationship was blocked by my devotion to food and getting my own way!  Looking back, I now understand what Jesus meant when, speaking of the Day of Judgment, He said many will claim Him, and even boast of great deeds done in His name, but He will tell them, “I never knew you. Away from me!” (Matthew 7:23, emphasis mine)

We were made for relationship.  I choose to abide in that relationship today.  Come, Lord Jesus!  Fill me with Your Spirit and renew me for Your purpose.  Grant me a knowledge of Your will for me and the power to carry it out.

 

From Proverbs 26, NIV:

A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the backs of fools!

The Heavenly Father knows what corrective tools to use on His creation.  He blessed me with an eating disorder until I disgusted myself into paying attention.  In the end, it took the excruciating pain of a severed knee ligament, which tore under my immense body weight, and the humiliation of being nursed to health by my precious bride, the one to whom I have done the most harm.  The willingness to accept that my life had become unmanageable was right around the corner from the whip, bridle and rod.

Thank You, Papa, for loving me enough to orchestrate a Way back to You, and for never giving up on me, even during the many times when I turned my back on You.

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in 1 John 4, NIV:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

If there was ever any doubt that the Spirit presides over the Word spoken to my soul, it would have to be wiped away in the beautiful way these devotional thoughts run through one message!  Knowing God comes through sacrificial love and is marked by sacrificial love.  This love expressed itself to us so that we would have life.  If we do not accept that love and let it pour through us then we are still dead.  The spiritual truth is not that we will die, but that we are already dead.

This is the curse of Adam and the lie of Satan!  In Genesis 3, God said on the day he rebels man will die, but Satan deceived man into believing the physical matters more than the spiritual when he argued that man would not physically die, and man has been biting into that lie ever since.  We are spirit!  The body is merely a vehicle we use to endure the testing grounds of Earth.  Will we live by the Holy Spirit and so love, or will we serve ourselves, preserve what’s ours, and reserve our wills condemning ourselves to death and decay to which all things in the material realm go?  I choose life!  So let me love!

 

 

From “the Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “Another Prodigal Story”:

I have always, it seems, had a keen sense of the fact and presence of God.

That, too, like loving my wife and at the same time hurting her so dreadfully, is paradoxical, but it’s a fact. I knew that God, was there with infinite love and yet, somehow, I kept on drifting further and further away. But now I do feel that my heart an d mind are “tuned in” and by His grace there will be no more alcoholic “static.”

After making this final agreement (not just another resolution) to let God to be first in my life, the whole outlook and horizon brightened up in a manner which I am unable to describe except to say that it was “glorious.”

 

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.’