Tag Archive: Seventh Step


Amendment to my POE

Weight is not valueDear Sponsor,

I got on the scale yesterday and discovered an undesirable weight change has crept upon me. Since I haven’t weighed in several months, I am not greatly disturbed by this discovery, but I am prompted to make some changes in my daily Plan of Eating (POE). My daily calorie intake goal had been 2150, due to my continued weight loss at the standard 2000. Since that no longer seems to be the case, I am dropping to the standard 2000 until things level off.

In practice, I plan to eliminate:

  • the half serving of raw almonds from my typical lunch (75 Kcal.)
  • one half serving of almond butter from typical dinner (100 Kcal.)
  • though the above represents 175 calories, I am committed to reducing the daily target by 150 calories, whether the “typical” meals are on the menu for any given day or not.

I haven’t written much lately, but great changes are taking place regarding my personal development. I was recently reawakened to the existence of my character defect of wrath as expressed by outbursts of rage, harsh criticism, and verbal condemnation. While addressing this defect in prayer, I was convicted that is is correlated to my habit of judgement, for which I am responsible. When I look at these and the way they correspond to my progress regarding food and weight, I am reminded that I cannot control my weight, but I am responsible for my food choices. When I make healthy food choices according to properly administered limits, there is a corresponding body weight change. I cannot merely pray that God remove my excess weight while eating whatever I want whenever I crave it, and neither can I stew in my hateful judgement and expect God to remove my character defect of wrath. I have some habits to change. So, I am addressing each instance of judgment much like I would a craving for food, cigarettes, booze, or any other toxin. I recognize it as judgement, turn from it, turn to God in prayer, and relinquish the craving to His care and control, offering the outcome to Him. So far, it works when I work it.

Another development in my life is the halfway mark in Nursing School. I would never have imagined it would be this difficult. I don’t know how much of my problem is that I am an adult learner returning to school in middle-age, or just that I have become an unteachable know-it-all who refuses to learn the new language of Nursing Academia. I can’t control the first option, but I have full control over the second, so I repeatedly pray that God will make me teachable, that I will study the right materials with focus, retain what I need, and be able to recall with clarity the answers I am called upon to know. I have been counseled by professors that I “overthink” exam questions, but I don’t really understand how overthinking can be a bad thing. I guess what they mean is I over-create details that aren’t written, or imagine what-if scenarios that aren’t articulated in the perfect vacuum of an exam. In my previous career, second and third guessing was routine, any possible outcome or precipitating cause had to be explored, and life balanced on my ability to anticipate the unimaginable. Now, in the world of the Nursing Student, my hyper-vigilance is considered an attention deficit, one I have to rein in or else. As a matter of fact, this very blog post represents a digression from my studies.

Because of that, I can’t really go into detail about the other personal development, but it’s huge. It involves the recognition of abuse in my life, forgiveness offered, and amends being lived out. I really must tell you about it soon.

 

(prayer) Holy Father, make me teachable. Relieve me from the bondage of self, especially as it relates to wrath, and help me cease this habit of judgment since it only serves to alienate me from Your children You put me on this Earth to serve in love. Thank You for progress. Thank You for grace. Help me live so saturated in it that, when I open my mouth or hands to share, Your grace is all that flows out. May Your will be done in every aspect of my life as it is in Heaven.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11)

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Misconception of God #4,897

creative thought bubbleI once thought I had a better understanding of God than all the rest of the humans. Today I know I am as blind as the rest of the race, perceiving only a small portion of that which the Divine has determined to reveal of Himself. One misconception that I am learning is fairly common, and for which I had long blamed the Creator, was the idea that He is all finished creating. I took Bible references to the Sabbath to mean that all was complete, and Christ’s quote on the cross, “It is finished!” to mean that God’s involvement in building what is to be built was pretty much concluded.

What I didn’t understand was that the One who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, has presented me with the option of deciding what my middle will be, and to what master I will present it. Will I spend my middle serving my cares, concerns, and cravings, or will I make God the god of my whole life: beginning, middle, and end? If I can serve but one master, and the cravings of the greedy rob a person of life, than the choice seems simple. Serving God actually benefits me. But if I choose to serve God for my own benefit, aren’t I really just serving myself in a back-handed way? It turns out that God invites the burdened, the hungry, the brokenhearted, the spiritually impoverished, and all those who recognize their unmet need for Him to return to the Manufacturer for counsel, companionship, and conformity to their original design and purpose. No matter how far removed we become from the pattern in which all things work like they were supposed to, we are under warranty, welcome to come back for an overhaul.

“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

Dear Father, today, I give you my middle. Be the Master of my whole alphabet, from beginning to end. Make every part of me work according to Your will and design, and take pleasure in employing me to Your purpose. Thank You for continuing to construct me into something new. I am happy to be a tool in Your service, for a tool in the hand of his Master is of value while a tool standing in front of a mirror is just shelved scrap.

Scripture References:

Genesis 2:2
John 19:30
Revelation 1:8, 21:6, 22:13
Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13
Proverbs 1:19
Isaiah 55:1, Matthew 5:3-12

Sunday, 2013-07-21

Abstinent Today:

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

As much as it troubles me to get up so soon after going to sleep, I do enjoy going to church!  I wish I could have stayed there a little longer today for fellowship, but I had to cut out as soon as the “amen” was said so I could get to work on time.  I had to cut out the after meeting fellowship at an OA meeting yesterday too.  Soon I’ll get to catch up with my friends. …I hope.

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Often we caused ourselves problems because we didn’t realize that there were some kinds of eating we could handle comfortably and some kinds we couldn’t.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 21

This is an interesting statement for me.  It references limitations on our ability and a definition of our comfort.  When I think of comfort, I think of ease, the cushy, stress-free kind like in the recliner commercials.  It occurs to me that perhaps I am not supposed to be in comfort at all times.  Perhaps there are times and seasons for everything like Ecclesiastes 3 says.  If I toil and sweat, how much sweeter will my rest be?  Likewise, the limitations on the foods I can tolerate point me toward the ones that better suit me, and are more in keeping with my Creator’s will, if I am willing to listen and respond.  My problem has always been that I never cared what was recommended as “best” for me because I either didn’t believe I was worthy of the best, or what I wanted in the short-term was more important than the far distant promises of those making the recommendations.  Recognizing the foods and behaviors that are problematic for me has opened a warehouse of proper foods and eating habits that I have never tried before.  Some were not immediately palatable, or should I say comfortable to the palette, but have grown on me over time.  Others were just too time consuming or required too much preparation, forethought, or some other resource I either wasn’t willing to sacrifice or didn’t think I was worth.  I had to accept God’s value of me and act as if I really was that valuable, spending the precious resource of time to make proper meals and eat them on a proper schedule.  One can easily see how a brain so occupied with the nonsensical arguments I was using to justify my behavior is not capable of making a rational decision in the face of temptation.  No wonder I had problems!  I was causing them myself!

 

 

From Proverbs 21, NIV:

16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
comes to rest in the company of the dead.

As I was saying before, my feet never even crossed the path of prudence when I was in my disease, much less remain true to it.  Everything I did was about me – how I felt or what I deserved.  Never did I consider best interest or caring for the temple God created to be the dwelling of His Spirit.  The end result of living like that is no mystery.  We don’t have to look far to find people with one foot in the grave and the other getting greased up with trans fat.  The food spur of this truth is only one rendition of the self-service that precludes our walk on the path of prudence.  Indulgence seems, by its very nature, at odds with wisdom, here termed prudence.

Thank You, God, for holding my hand and keeping me on Your path.  May I never stray!

 

 

 

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

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Jesus told His disciples if they had seen Him they had seen the Father (John 14:9).  As the Son transmits the glory of the Father, so we can reflect the Light of Christ around us, as we are constantly being transformed into His likeness in ever increasing measure (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God, may I reflect Your Light, not for my glory, but for Yours.

 

From The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Step Seven:

Our approach to step seven, then, might begin with a prayer for genuine humility. Having said this prayer, we can proceed with the rest of step seven, trusting that our Higher Power will grant us the gift of humility to a greater and greater degree, one day at a time, as we continue to let go of our old values and practice the principles of the twelve steps.

 

 

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.

Sunday, 2013-07-07

Abstinent Today:

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

Today I spent attending church meetings and trying to catch up on homework.  I did not complete my normal devotional.

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Humility is at the heart of Step Seven… We ask Him to remove OUR shortcomings, not those of the people who have harmed us.” — A Guide to the Twelve Steps for You and Your Sponsor, p. 11

Wouldn’t it be nice if the leader of that institution you resent were given a saving knowledge of grace and a double portion of God’s divine Wisdom, just like you want for yourself?  Then maybe he wouldn’t allow such-and-such to continue, and you might feel vindicated.  Ever wonder why that never seems to work?  “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” (James 4:3)  We who have directed hate and discontent at everyone including ourselves in the form of anger, manipulation, and food-abuse are expert at seeking change in others.  We aim to inflict our will on them as though it were a weapon to exact our judgment on all except ourselves.  Our new target is self and our new vantage point is humility.  The goal now is not to destroy, but to discern the negative from the positive and to rid ourselves of the former, taking in a healthy portion of the latter.  This new perspective, attitude, discernment, motive, and purpose all come from our Higher Power when we lay down our weapons of hate and humbly ask for His help.

 

I’m beat!  Good night.

 

 

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.

Wednesday, 2013-07-03

Abstinent Today:

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

I am watching God prove Himself even while I am yet learning to fully trust Him.   It’s strange to think that we don’t trust someone as trustworthy as God, but the truth is that’s exactly what anxiety is, some shadowy belief that something will happen that is somehow either out of God’s control or outside His perfect will.  While still in the process of planning my retirement in eight months, wondering how I will manage to go to school full time without at least a part-time job to supplement my retirement savings, God sent a friend to me who offered me a job as soon as I’m ready to take it on.  “No rush,” he said, “just whenever you’re ready and want it.”  Now that’s providence!  I know that, whether it is that job or something else, God is capable of orchestrating my circumstances to meet my needs, and He is faithful.  He will never abandon me.  Why do I ever even consider worrying?

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“…Step Seven calls for us to adopt an attitude of humility.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 59

Just because I have done a step doesn’t mean it’s done.  I continue to do all the steps daily, and one step that renders me humble more than the others is Step Eight.  When I consider the harms I have done to people on account of my insensitive selfishness, it tears down any pride I might have left.  Many times, I have recalled the hurts I have dealt others or the pains of my past, linked each to a selfish expression on my own part, and wept in prayer, begging for relief from the defective character.

 

 

 

From Proverbs 3, NIV:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a]

What are the chances today’s proverb would have a call to completely trust in God?  It’s like someone is trying to tell me (us) something!

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Thessalonians 3, NIV:

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. 

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

It is amazing how the Scriptures today correlate to what was on my heart.  I have nothing to add to that except, Amen!

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 68:

Perhaps there is a better way—we think so. For we are now on a different basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves.

 

 

 

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.