Tuesday, December 26, 2006

the truth

I suppose this is as good a place as any to make an admission-I am an addict. The best definition I can think of is someone who has absolutely no sense of proportion in certain behaviors. It is most commonly viewed as a person with a substance abuse. There are those who cannot take one or two drinks. They simply cannot. They know in their minds that one or two is enough, but their bodies crave the substance and override moderation. There are many manifestations of the lack of proportion, and oftentimes periods of dryness trick the alcoholic into thinking they have it under control, and once again can do the "one or two" and go home. After a lifetime of one or two turning into bottles and days, there comes a place of reckoning. It may or may not be enough to cause a change, but the truth presents itself, and usually it comes at a time when there is no denying it. The behavior has possession of the person. It causes them to turn into things that they would never be dry or clean.

One of the behaviors that has (had me) is being overly self-sacrificing in relationships. It's a very good-looking way of trying to force control. But the behavior becomes all-consuming. It grows and gains momentum and every action ratchets up the level of giving to maintain that control. The motive of giving becomes holding onto the receiver, and bitterness and exhaustion ensue if the "generosity" is not met with the proper response. It is subtle, but in a black and white accounting, the amount of time, money, worry, emotional investing and work it takes to maintain is way, way out of proportion to the relationship. It is a way of voluntarily consenting to be used for emotional gratification that disallows any real valuing of the giver. A person who needs this sort of gratification has little sense of their own selves, and likely the receiver problems with insecurity and control as well.

Another behavior that is patently accepted in our society is gluttony. We do not think anything of it. I don't. I think to myself, how in the world can I be ok with eating multiple servings of anything, junk especially, or quantities of food so out of proportion to my body's need? This one is hard to deal with because we typically state the problem in terms of needing to lose a few pounds, not a lack of self-control. If the only reason to address the problem is to look better, the truth is never applied and once again, there is no sense of proportion. I love the feeling of fullness so much that I eat far beyond what I need to be full. The scripture says man does not live by bread alone, but I seem to manage just fine! Not really. I prayed all throughout the day and the evening for help but still found it easy to raid the brimming cookie tins, Christmas stockings, bread drawer, refrigerator...to obey or to be free is not enough for me, so I guess I haven't hit my day of reckoning. Sigh.

We need the truth to be free. I need proportion in my life.


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