Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What I Learned from Detoxing

I have only recently begun to realize what a blessing (and BEAUTY!) sunshine is! After months of grey, cloudy weather in a new environment (where yes, I had met new people but yes, it was slow going making many meaningful connections), I found myself feeling depressed quite often. But days when the sun was able to wrestle its way out from behind the clouds and peep out for a few hours of sunshine-y goodness reminded me that there WILL always come light, after the darkness!

For the past month I embarked on Detox Diet #...I believe 3! A little background on what exactly "Detox Diet" entails, according to The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health:

In the past 50 years, there has been an increase in heart disease, cancer, and auto-immune or degenerative disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. These illnesses may be directly or indirectly linked to toxicity in the body created during digestion. This toxicity is exacerbated by the excessive consumption of refined sugar, cereals, oils, meat, dairy products, and animal fat that characterizes the modern diet, by food processing and preserving methods, and by the buildup of toxins in the food chain owing to the use of hormones, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics, insecticides, and antifungal agents in farming.
A detoxification diet can facilitate the rapid and efficient elimination of toxins and improve both short- and long-term health (p. 134).

The diet is divided into 4 one-week phases, with different instructions and advice to follow for each. The general gist of the diet is to eliminate animal meat, fats and products (dairy and eggs included), refined sugar, processed foods, salt, and wheat. (Not eating bread is what kills me about this diet!) Detoxification diets should be incorporated into your lifestyle once every 6 months to cleanse your system.

I've usually been very moan-y and grumpy during detoxes past, but it was different this time. I began this diet at the end of January, as I realized that I want to be more aware, more wise more intentional about how I live my life. I want to be a better steward of the physical body I have been given on this earth! So this kick-started my (hopefully) healthy 2010. The Year of Change. haha

I always had an inkling that I had a dysfunctional, if not outright unhealthy relationship with food. This time around with detox made me consciously acknowledge it, not just to myself, but confess it to God. I LOVE FOOD. Anyone who knows me knows that my favourite channel back home is The Food Network and I could literally watch it all day long. I love eating and the way things taste and feel when eaten. I respond to ANY emotion (positive or negative!) by first reaching for something to eat. My mom knows that a habit of mine is just to open the fridge and stare at the food inside... go and do something for awhile and come back and do the same, even if the contents haven't changed. Needless to say, I have struggled with eating disorders in the past as well.

As I cleaned up my diet and talked with friends who for their own health reasons had to have restrictive diets, I realized that DUH- I had made food an idol in my life. This is a big thing for me, because I don't think I have ever truly understood what "idol" meant until now. I idolize the way food can comfort me, I idolize the convenience with which I can take a peek into other people's lives on facebook (and then get caught up in a sometimes hours-long trek through the labyrinth of the social networking site doing absolutely NOTHING productive), I idolize the way I feel needed and wanted in a relationship and the reliable physical comfort of being with a significant other, etc.

The Process and the Hopeful Result
So as I physically cleansed, and felt myself becoming more energetic (I stopped drinking COFFEE, even!) I began to also cleanse and energize my spiritual body.
I have slowly begun (and to be honest, sometimes drag my feet in the process) to "get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word that is planted in you, which can save"[James 1:21].
I've never before been so sensitive and so disturbed at the sin and dirty-ness of my heart as I have been in the past few months. I know that God has used my physical environment, and relational "kilns" in the past several years to refine and shape my character. However, in this season of my life, I feel that the refining fire I am entering into is an internal one, a kiln for my mind especially, to be rid of thought patterns and tendencies but also definitely of the heart and spirit.
Let my heart always be glad of the triumphs AND the trials! Of open doors AND closed doors!
I am so thankful for "progressive sanctification"- that life is a continuous journey toward greater purity, holiness and beauty.

er.. Conclusion...?
I want my life to be lived out of love for Christ, and not for any cause in and of itself.
My desire to serve Cambodian women and girls (or whatever cross-cultural mission field God has planned for me) let it not be because of their destitution, brokenness, or suffering, but because of Christ's love for them in their destitution, brokenness and suffering.
Let me strive for excellence not because it will show others that I am a good Christian, but because God deserves only our best.
Let me reach out to others and care for them, not because I feel that is what my call is, but because God loved them first.

Let our intentions and motivations for all things be purified... cleansed... "detoxed", so that our actions, words, and thoughts reflect Christ's character and love!

Click to watch the Youtube video for "Jeremy Camp - Empty Me"


Lisa said...

I ruv this post. so informational and i'm losing my sense of language

AND ASHLEY, i think i totally have made food an idol in my life too! i never took it seriously until i did this whole 'giving up junk food for lent' sort of thing!! i've pretty much dreamed about sweets and desserts every night and it's been the hardest thing to give up ever. aigoo!! i should really surrender this to God while i have given this all up!!

essle said...

Your post have the information that is helpful and very informative. I would like you to keep up the good work.

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