“Like a dog who goes back to his own vomit, so is a fool who always returns to his foolishness. Have you seen a person who is wise in his own sight? Know that there is more hope for a fool than for him” –Proverbs 26:11-12.
My daughter and I just finished a 24-day cleanse/challenge. My nutritionist doesn’t like to call it just a cleanse, because many ‘cleanses’ are unhealthy and focus on starvation. We could eat well–just not processed foods, gluten or dairy (but we could have eggs and plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit). Within 12 hours of beginning, I texted my nutritionist and exclaimed, “I MISS CHEESE! This doesn’t bode well for me for the next 23 days, does it?” *sigh*
I actually ended up enjoying the process. Challenge drives me and motivates me. To say that I’m competitive understates my inner drive. When I played tennis in high school, I used to go out in the Phoenix summers and practice serves … at noon … when no one was on the courts … because it was 115º. If I started losing in a match during the season, I’d deny myself water at the changeovers. When my body would start screaming from near-dehydration, I’d converse with myself, “You thirsty? Try winning a game.” I’d often come back to win. Bonus points that it freaked out my opponents most of the time.
So, this week, the
competition healthy cleanse ended. And I won … And I feel the benefits in my gut. I stayed committed to the regulations. I felt better than I have in years (which makes me think that I have at least some kind of gluten-sensitivity). I swore I would continue the habits. Until the night after the cleanse, the thought of more hummus or salmon made me a little ill, and I remembered that I could have a grilled turkey and swiss sandwich and creamy tomato soup. Oh, it was delicious! But, I felt the effects in my digestion and renewed my intention to maintain some of the cleanse habits. Until the next night. This time, white rice sushi paired with milk chocolate chips sprinkled in a tangerine yogurt (technically, it was Greek yogurt, but looking at the sugar content on the label didn’t help make it healthy). Then, my nutritionist texted me to schedule a follow-up appointment so I don’t lose momentum. I haven’t told her yet about my ‘iron-will’ since the cleanse…. Today, my husband took my daughter and I out to celebrate the end of the restrictions. We had butter, biscuits, linguine, scampi and fried shrimp (yes, on one plate … per person … don’t judge me!). At least I learned to eat only about half of what the restaurant served us. The rest, I packaged up and brought home for my son to snack on. He still has a metabolism.
So, now I’m learning that old habits really do die hard. And I really do need a support system. And a plan to keep me on track. My iron-will isn’t so strong without competition.
Spiritually, we need cleanses, too. Times to assess what’s really going on inside of us; and if there are some belief systems that worked in the past, but have become unhealthy over time. We need to work on our souls, not just our bodies, for our lives to work well with others. I find more and more I need to evaluate how long-held doctrines affect my spirit. Am I exhausted because I’ve too long held certain beliefs that no longer offer my spirit and soul good nutrition? Have I lost a sense of joy and wonder because what used to satisfy my desires, my more mature system has outgrown and my needs have changed? We need a plan for our spirit to maintain a healthy pace of growth. We should look for a support system that will encourage us to process beliefs–and adapt or change any beliefs necessary to draw us closer to God.
Adjusting our way of handling our spirituality takes humility to admit that we can’t make those shifts on our own. We need each other to offer grace, perspective, and support–because we will flounder, at times. We can’t treat living like a competition where we have to ‘beat out’ someone else in the race. Instead, we can look at life as a challenge that we train for, and try to progress beyond our last effort. If we surround ourselves with people who have the humility to admit that they, too, need us to help them, then we can all succeed.
For now, I will contemplate how my physical and spiritual systems react to situations and sustenances; and ask for help in assessing what needs to change in me to make my whole self healthier.
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