Thursday, February 07, 2008
The Lord says, " Turn to me now while there is still time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping and mourning. Don't tear you clothing in your grief ; instead tear you hearts." Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager to not punish you.---Joel 2: 12-13
Wednesday, Feb. 6 was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. Lent is a time of reflection and repentance. Lent lasts for 40 days, and is a time of Fasting, Forgiveness, Repentance, Renewal, Praise and Sacrifice.
I would like to begin my Lenten Blogs with a writing by Andrew Murray from "The Secret Adoration". This is what Lent is about to me. I wanted to share it with all of you, and hope it'll have meaning for you as it did me.
"Take time. Give God time to reveal Himself to you. Give yourself time to be silent and quiet before Him., waiting to receive, through the Spirit, the assurance of His presence with you, His power working in you. Take time to read His word as in His presence, that from it you may know what He asks of you and what He promises you. Let the Word create around you. create within you a holy atmosphere, a holy heavenly light, in which your soul will be refreshed and strengthened for the work of daily life."
My Prayer of Confession:
I confess to you and to others that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word and deed. I have sinned by what I have done and by what I have not done, and by what I still leave undone. I have not loved you with all of my heart, mind and strength. I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I have not always forgiven others as I have been forgiven.
I have been deaf to your call to serve as Christ served me. I have not always been true to the mind of Christ.
I confess to you all my past unfaithfulness: my pride, my hypocrisy , and impatience in my life.
Accept my repentance Lord, for the wrongs I have done, for my neglect of human need and suffering and my indifference to injustice and cruelty.
I am sorry for all of my false judgements, uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors, and for any prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from me that I may not even be aware of.
I am sorry for the waste and pollution of your Creation and our lack of concern for those who come after us.
Thank you for this time to reflect and to repent of my sins. By doing this I will have a Renewing of my Spirit. Please let me grow closer to You as I go through the next 4o days preparing for Your coming.
Your loving daughter,
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
" There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made in perfect love."
--1 John 4: 18
I mentioned earlier that making a "fearless and moral inventory of ourselves" does not mean to write down all of our character DEFECTS. We are to look at our character STRENGTHS as well. The first time I did this step so many years ago I had difficulty finding any strengths because my self-esteem was so low. But, I am happy to report that as the years have gone by, my inventory has changed. I now recognize through God's help that I do have STRENGTHS. I'll list some of what I have discovered through the years about myself Please know that I am not bragging about myself, nor do I want to sound self-centered. I just want you to see how important it is to look at my good side as well.
EMOTIONAL: I have healthy feelings towards myself and others now. . I love myself for who I am in Christ, and I find that my need for approval from others has declined significantly. I can stand on my own two feet now, and that is a wonderful, liberating feeling.
RELATIONSHIPS: I have positive and supportive interaction with my friends and other people I know now. I feel and believe I am just as valued by others as I value others today.
SPIRITUAL: I have a strong commitment to my Jesus, my Lord and Savior, and I am constantly wanting to serve Him.
MORAL: I have proper ethics and behavior in my thoughts and actions. I have a clear conscience in how I conduct myself in my business and personal affairs.
INTELLECTUAL: I have quality time and attention devoted to mental activities and exercise. I read almost constantly, I love Bible studies, and
I love doing word puzzles to sharpen my brain. I practice learning something new every day.
SELF-CARING / NURTURING; I have a healthy concern about myself and I take care of myself. I take time to do fun things for myself, and I also spend fun times with my DH and friends. At the present time I am having a blast singing in our church choir. My voice isn't what it used to be, but God doesn't care. I am making a joyful noise ! LOL
Step 4 is a very important step for me so I can move on with my life and continue my path of recovery. Recovery to me, is a continuing journey, it's not a destination. I will never be "recovered". The minute I start believing I am all well, I will start a destructive, sownward spiral all over again. I must never become complacent. The enemy is always right here with me, but I also have Jesus on my side, and he is mightier than Satan is anytime.
There is another inventory I like to do, and it is done when I get into bed at night and am ready to say my prayers. I think through my day and look at what changes I need to make, or how well I may have handled a situation.
I as myself these questions:
1. Did I make someone smile today?
2. Did I make a difference for someone or in some situation today?
3. Is there something in me I need to change or take a look at behavior wise?
4. Would Jesus be proud of me today?
Thank you so much for giving me the courage and strength to do my 4th Step inventory. Thank you for showing me that I have not only weaknesses, but strengths as well. Help me to continue to develop more strengths, and to always remember that You are the Light of my Life. There is nothing I have to face alone. I pray that these writings I am doing will help another in some way to feel better about him or her self. My serving you is what I want to do. I believe I am doing that with your help and
Love from you loving, adopted daughter,
Sunday, February 03, 2008
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry , for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."--James 1: 19-21
Resentment and anger keep us focused on the person or situation causing the negative feelings and prevent us from accepting God's promise of healing. Resentment is the number one offender and often the major cause of spiritual dis-ease. As I began to look at my list of resentments I saw how they had affected my self-esteem, my well being, and my personal relationships. Years ago iwhem I started working the Twelve Steps I was full of resentment from my childhood days. As I looked back I saw that my holding onto the those resentments causes me to feel stress, anxiety, and even more important, uncontrollable feelings of anger at times, and I didn't know who I was even angry with. As I worked the steps, I learned that if these were not resloved, there were going to be serious emotional and physical consequences that would develop. If I were to allow those resentments to prevail, serious depression can develop, and ultimately destroy me.
Well, I had to really take a look at myself back in 1999-2000. I was having periods of confusion, lethargy, loss of interest in everything, even my music, which I love dearly. I was not getting housework done. As I drove home from work one night I began to inch the speed up on my car not caring what happened to me, as long as I didn't hure anyone else. Then I heard God's voice yelling, " SLOW DOWN", and I listened to him. I pulled over to the side of the road and just sat there. I knew I had to do something. I needed help. When I got home, I told my husband and I just broke down in pieces. I felt like I had lost myself and I didn't know there I was or where how to find me again. I had hit rock bottom the next day I made an appointment with a female psychiatrist I knew from work and I felt I could trust her. She help me so much. I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety and depression disorder, and she started me on anti-depressants. We also did therapy work at the same time, and I was able to work through my anger and resentments at that time. What a relief. I discovered I had a lot of issues having to do with the corporation I was working for at the time and I had to work my way through what the corporation was doing to me having to do with my age at the time. They were known for making things difficult for people nearing 50, or their 20 years of service, which I was reaching. This corporation found ways to make their employee's lives miserable so they would either quit or be fired so they wouldn't have to pay retirement benefits.
The good new is that I finally decided, with the Lord's help and the Doctor's diagnosis that it was time for me to move on and re-invent myself. So, that is what I did. I was able to resign with my head held high knowing I did the very best that I could have done for the patients, and that God had me there for as long as he wanted me there. My work there was done.
Do I hold resentments today? I can honestly say that, to the best of my knowledge, I do not. I cannot afford to harbor a resentment today and follow Jesus at the same time. There is no room for resentments. I cannot afford to have resentments while working a recovery program. Resentments will cause my disease to return full bore, and I don't want that again. Resentments can lead to depression, and I certainly do not want to feel ever again like I did that evening I reached rock bottom. Nothing is worth that kind of feeling again.
As I continue to learn about myself while taking this 4th step, my fearless and moral inventory, I also learned that FEAR is the second most destructive offender. God did not give me a sprrit of fear. However, It is the emotion I strongly feel when I began to looka at myself. When the spirit of fear is present, my need to deny, ignore, and avoid reality increases. My unrealistic perspective becomes exaggerated and intensifies my emotinal responses. Fear can and has caused me so much pain. Why? Because it attacks me physically, and causes feelings that range from appfrhension to panic. When fear is present, I become nervous, nauseated or disoriented. What really got to me was seeing that my fear is a direct result of my inability to make dicisiions. I was at that point back in 1999-2000.
There is a scripture that really spoke to me as I was reading, searching ,and learning about myself. It is 1 John 4: 18
" There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
The guilt and shame I feel about my past behaviors may inhibit my ability to conduct a thorough inventory. I believe that God's love for me will remove my fear.
As I continue to look at these areas of my life in a true honest way, I must remember that God is with me and He will help me every step of the way. With God's help and understanding, all my pain, fear anger and resentments will fade away. Praise be to God.
I know with your help, love, and understanding I am able to face anything and go through it because you have a hold of my hand all the way through. There are no words for me to adequately say" Thank You", but you know how grateful I am that You are with me. I cannot do this alone. As I continue on this wonderful journey we call Life, I am looking forward to being molded into the person you want me to be by You. You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me, Make me, like you, I pray.
Above all, Lord, free me from any hidden resentments, fear, anger or guilt I may be hiding. Only then can I becom free to love and to encourage others. I truly believe this is what you want for me today, and I accept your call to serve you.
Your Loving Daughter,
Thursday, January 31, 2008
" Those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone! A new life has begun!"
---2 Corinthians 5: 17
A New Day
I have a Joyce Meyer perpetual daily calendar of devotions. I read this on January 29, and was absolutely overjoyed because I finally "got it". I will share this with you now.
As a Christian, according to the Bible, you are a new person now. As A "new creation" you don't have to allow the old things that happened to you keep affecting you new life in Christ. You have become a "new creature." Rejoice! It's a new day!
What that is telling me is that I no longer have a problem with food. I don't have to have a problem with food. From here on out I can look at myself as a healthy person, one who wants to keep my body fed with only good things, both physically and spiritually. I no longer have to use food as a comfort . My comfort comes from the Lord. There are so many more productive and healthy ways to work through feelings instead of eating.
Does this mean I can now abandon my eating program, the 12 steps, Spark, and Weight Watchers? No, not at all. In fact these tools and gifts I have been given are even more important. God lead me to all these wonderful tools, gifts, and people to help me not go back into my past.
Yes, I am a new creation, a new person, a new me. Why would I want to do anything to go back to my "old " way of thinking and acting, Why would I want my addiction to other people, places and things rob me of the joy I feel today? That would be an insane thing to do. I an finished with insane behavior.
Thank you so much for making me a new person when I accepted you as my Lord and Savior when I was 12 years old. I have renewed that commitment many times throughout my life, and each time I become more aware of your teaching and your love for me. I can never thank you enough, but I can continue on this journey of Temple Maintenance. When I want to overeat, help me to remember to take you hand and hold on tight so I won't be temped to act on going back to that "old" person again. That Elayne is gone foreve. Praise God !
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
" If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing , he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.---Galatians 6: 3-5
For me, my pride can limit my capacity to be honest, and it is a critical element in doing my fourth step work, making my searching and fearless moral inventory.
As I was reading more of my Step 4 material, I discovered that DENIAL has many faces. I counted 7 of them, which I will list here.
1. Simple Denial: To pretend that something doesn't exist when it really does. For example, discounting physical symptoms that may suggest the presence of problems.
2. Minimizing: To acknowledge a problem, but refuse to see its severity. For example: Admitting to an overindulgence of food when there is in fact.
an addictive behavior with my food. I ate the whole box of cookies, and tried to hide the evidence.
3. Blaming: To recognize the problem, then blaming someone else. For Example: Blaming others for my tendency to overeat.
4. Excusing: To offer excuses, alibis, justifications, and other explanations for our own or others' behavior. For example: Well, I had to eat that cake or my friend would have been hurt since she baked it for me. or Calling in sick for a partner when the actual cause of the absence is that the partner is drunk.
5. Generalizing: To deal with problems on a general level, which typically avoids personal and emotional awareness of the situation or conditions. For example: Sympathizing with a friend's unemployment when you know the underlying cause is irresponsibility. or Saying I just don't feel good when I know I don't feel good because I overate.
6. Dodging: To change the subject to avoid threatening topics. For example: Talking about the weather when is discussing the overdrawn checkbook, or discussing the weather when I know I need to admit that I binged again.
7. Attacking: To become angry when reference is made to the existing condition. thus avoiding the issue. For example: Arguing about work conditions when the boss addresses tardiness, or Arguing about the dishes I have to wash when it was my overeating that left most of the dishes sitting in the sink to begin with.
For me, taking a personal inventory is like cleaning a closet. I take stock of what I have, examine what I want to save, and discard what is no longer useful or appropriate.
1. First I learned that I am not a "bad" person . Overeating is NOT a Moral issue.
2. I learned I was filled with DENIAL, a form of dishonesty about my disease. I could stop overeating any time I wanted to. I just wanted to eat more because it tasted so good. I would stop after the next piece of candy, and the next, and the next, and so on.
3. I was filled with false pride. I thought I coul do this myself. Not true. I needed help.
4. I was and still am a procrastinator. " I'll start back on track tomorrow. I promise tomorrow will be the magic day. Of course, tomorrow never comes. It's always today.
5. I learned that my eating disorder combined with my rationalizations, "I don't have a problem", "I can do this myself" and "I'll do it later.", all caused me to become overewight. The fourth step is forcing me to take a look at myself and face the facts. My very survuval demands that I work on them.
I got started by taking a pencil ,paper, and a clipboard and began writing down some very personal things. These included a list of people I was angry with and why. I also wrote a list of my fears as well because they are instructive as to the nature of my defects of character. And yes, I also wrote down my depest secrets because the adage that we are only as sick as our secrets is true. I had to admit that to myself.
It was important for me to remember that my inventory is not a long autobiography...I don't have to account for every moment of my life. The purpose of a searching moral and fearless inventory is is to find out where my problems are. To deal with my procrastination problem, I began writing a little something every day. At first it was for only 5 minutes, and I was answering a question about myself.
This step is very important im my plan for recovery. If I do not complete this step to the best of my ability, I will continu to use food as my god and as my comforter. This has to stop so I can live.
The wonderful news is as I work on myself I will become stronger and will get to know my Lord better and better. It is He who gives me strength where I am weak. As I reflect on my past, I will be learning what to keep and what to throw away. I am becoming a new creation in Christ. When I become full on His Word and on His Love I will not want to eat what is not good for me. I will know when I am physically full, and continue to be spiritually fed. I will not over eat today.
Next I will be looking at Resentment. What resentments am I harboring and why?
Thank you so much for continuing to give me strength and courage to take a good look at what is inside my heart. This inventory is the only way I can truly and honestly check out my strengths and weaknesses, and learn what I have to do change or discard of them. Only you can help with me with these decisions. Help me to also remember to take the time to write down my good qualities as well. You have given me many gifts, and I want to be sure I am using them for your Glory, and not my ego. See, for me EGO is Easing God Out. I never want to ease you out, God. Without you I am nothing. With you I can do all things ..Nothing is impossible when you and I do them together.
Love from your daughter,
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