Day Seven: A simple prayer

I know I was taking time off but there’s a difference between feeling I ought to blog every day and feeling inspired to write. Today it’s the latter and it turns out I have an Internet connection where I’m staying, which I hadn’t expected.

So I came across an old poem last night that I felt compelled to share in case it helps anyone. I think it’s particularly relevant to anyone who has struggled or continues to struggle with disordered eating or any other unhealthy behaviour. It’s from a women’s prayer book called “Prayers from a Woman’s Heart” by Judith Mattison. It was first published in 1972, the year after I was born, and cost 30 pence! I opened the book at a poem entitled “I Need Self-Discipline”. Some of the language is a little outdated and I don’t subscribe to everything it says – plus I think the term self-discipline can sometimes sound a bit harsh. But I love the simplicity of the poem’s first line, which is very easy to remember. If God doesn’t work for you and your issues are different to those Mattison describes, it’s quite easy to write your own version of the poem, as I’ve suggested below.

Here’s the original:

If I really loved you, God, I would not overeat.
I would not destroy “me” – my “me” which can serve you best when I am healthy.
I would not destroy me if I really loved you.
If I really sought you, I would know that self-discipline and will power develop slowly,
Whether in diets or in faith.
I would discipline all my life if I really sought you.
I will change with your help,
Not because my clothes don’t fit,
Nor because I feel uneasy when I feel uncontrolled,
But because I care about you.
Restrain me in temptation, strike down my selfish need
To acquire, to be powerful, to yield, to eat!
Give me the serenity I need to be assured that you love me
So that I will want to take the best care of myself – my offering to you.

I think I’d expand the first line to say “if I really loved and trusted you” but the poem could also be rewritten like this:

If I really loved and cherished (I like the word cherished) myself, just as I am, I would not overeat, or overwork, or overdo it, or overachieve, or overstress, or overworry, or even overblog for that matter. Easier said than done!

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