The end of October is the time of year when Americans dress as weird looking creatures parading the neighborhoods. Of course, life resumes to normal the day after Halloween, except for the sugar hangover. What I found interesting as I started a twenty-one-day diet cleanse is how much of a constant creature I am. A creature of habit and in some negative ways. We all have ‘em, those areas that need improving.
I love the word Shalom—a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. I’ll place an order of Shalom, please! Don’t we all want such a complete, peaceful life? Lucky for us, it is possible. Jesus Christ gives me a wholistic peace, but I’m filled with holes so I need a constant refreshment. And let’s face it, we live in a constant battle of chaos where we can all benefit from creating and keeping healthy habits.
I found that a cleanse or fast goes much beyond health benefits to the depths of my heart. It can really be a fast track way to identify unhealthy patterns. Fasting doesn’t have to be about giving up food, but could also include things like: cutting certain types of spending, digital use, or try a week without speaking negatively about anything.
I want to encourage you today to grab a buddy, pick a category of fasting/cleansing. Set aside an amount of time, and just see what happens.
I’m so glad my friend and I are doing this cleanse together so we can encourage and talk through the experience.
This week I realize that I have serious work to do. This goes without shame, but with a motivated mentality.
Replace Old with New
I’d like to update my dishwasher or my computer, but that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s all about the heart. Eating only fruit, veggies, and supplements for a the first week led me to identify some deeper issues in other areas of my life.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil 4:8) The bible encourages me to think about all the amazing things in life instead of what I am lacking.
With a good attitude, I started my cleanse by first replacing my typical breakfast of yogurt and berries with an Organic Lemon Ginger Green Drink recommended by my friend. She claims miraculous health benefits. I said to myself, “Self, no matter what this drink tastes like, I’m downing it.” Guess what? It was actually delish! As a result, I didn’t crave my morning ritual of caffeinated black tea-never did acquire the coffee taste. So far, I replaced my breakfast with a more excellent choice and benefitted.
Keep Replacing Bad with Good
Midday, still just on day 1 of my cleanse, I was busy texting as I walked to the kitchen and unconsciously opened the snack drawer. As if I woke out of a slumber when my hand touched the bag of pretzels, I asked myself, “Was I hungry? No.” Most of my snacks are organic, not super unhealthy, but did I need it? What else was I doing out of complete default? I replaced my snack with a few prayers—not because I worried about eating packaged foods, but I realized I wanted God to reveal ways I lived like a zombie in default mode.
As I journeyed into the 4th day of my cleanse, I was inspired to write specifically the areas where I wanted improvement. Just as soon as I decided to take a step towards changing some of my behavior, something my husband said triggered me to spew negative words at him. Oops! That wasn’t good. After a few hours, my heart softened as I admitted the way I communicated was not ok, and I apologized for being very unkind and unloving. As my body cleanses the toxins, I’m realizing my heart needs a purification and reset as well. For a true heart cleanse, I always ask forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ, and when I do, I feel set free again. I replaced guilt with love and I feel peace.
Patterning Ourselves to Reset the Patterns
It’s a little painful on many levels to fast, but the benefits outweigh the intense difficulties. I plan on the intensive type cleanse or fast at least once a year. But I’ll be hoping to do it again with at least one friend. Basically, friends spur me on, encourage and keep life fun. I’ve learned it’s important to be gentle with my faults—no self-deprecating thoughts allowed, and no guilt needed when as I honestly assess my situation and give in to becoming better. Resetting patterns is necessary.
Baby Steps are Significant—Little by Little Creates a Gigantic Leap!
I haven’t finished this cleanse yet, but like a winepress, the more I am pressured and squeezed out of my comfort zone, the sweeter the return. Not only for my good, but so I can be helpful and loving to others. We can do great things! It takes intention, motivation and encouragement, but little by little, we will progress. I believe we can grow better as we get older. “Keep it up my friend!” Said my friend, and so, I’m passing that simple inspiration on to you!