A little less than a month ago, I started attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings online. Almost immediately, it seemed that my faith and my accumulated knowledge clicked together and for sixteen days, I was able to maintain a self-defined abstinence from compulsive eating/overeating. I was able to exercise and I was on point and productive at work and in my life. I was working hard, but wasn’t struggling, striving, or putting forth effort to do any of these things. I finally felt really connected to God, my self, and the people in my world. I dropped some weight and was told by a couple of people that I was “glowing.” It was an amazing and awesome period of time for me.
Then, as tends to happen, I came bumping down to earth. I caught a summer virus of some kind. Motivation, connectivity, and inspiration went from 10 to 5 then 3 and finally bumped down to subzero. It was not unexpected, although it was kind of unwelcome. I’ve lived long enough to recognize that oppositional forces tend to hold things in a kind of balance and that the level of activity, weight loss, and focus on me, myself, and I could not be sustained for an extended period. And so, I consciously stepped down from the abstinence wagon, fully intending to step back up shortly. Then I got sick. Then I got isolated, then, finally the reversion to my prior state of being and doing and then some of the compulsive eating behaviors began again. This was partially due to the fact that I had let my thinking and focus shift from what God is doing in my life and in the lives of those around me.
At that point I realized there has been a change in the core of my being.
While there was this little voice whispering that I was failing and that it had all come to naught and who did I think I was kidding, blah, blah, blah – the voice was exactly that, little. I wasn’t experiencing the actual thoughts and feelings associated with failure, as has been my wont to do throughout most of my adult life. It was a mere curiosity to realize that I wasn’t experiencing these things, but was merely hearing something in my head, but outside of my self that wasn’t defining me in a way I’d let myself be defined previously. Instead, I have been learning something about me: the me I used to be and the me I’m becoming, but more importantly, the me that I am now.
This morning I had a conversation with someone I consider to be a spiritual mentor and we were discussing what forgiveness is and what it means to “be in Christ.” One of the things we discussed was the “natural” compartmentalization and spatial differentiation that we use to classify, categorize, and figure out the world and our understanding of it. Through this conversation I realized that the separation and dissociation I experience between myself, God, and others is a psychological construct that is inside of my head which keeps me separate. It’s absolutely ok that I fell down, because this journey is about progress, not perfection. It’s fine to be not fine because I have a God, a Father in Heaven who looks at me and sees but doesn’t focus on the faults and the flaws the way I do. Instead He sees me already cleansed, forgiven, healed, whole, and fabulous. He rejoices in every small or big step I take in my journey, the way new parents do when their baby takes the first steps. I don’t need to feel less than or condemned for not doing it right, because it’s a process and not an event. It’s a process of learning and growth.
I’m grateful to be me and for all the things that I’ve lived through and learned from, as well as grateful for things that I didn’t have to grow through and learn from. My life is and has been a miracle to celebrate and I’m learning that more and more each day.