Posts tagged Detox
Detox(ed).
photo by Love Be Photography

photo by Love Be Photography


detox
[noun dee-toks]
1. treatment designed to rid the body of poisonous substances


 

DARK AGES & DRUGS OF DISTRACTION

[Read Parts One & Two of My Detox Journey: Here and Here.]

If you haven’t been with me since day 1, I’ll briefly catch you up to speed… The Lord put this slightly-crazy, 30-day detox journey in my heart. So for the last several weeks, I haven’t eaten grains, dairy, or anything with unnatural preservatives/flavorings, etc. I’ve also been abstaining from social media (Instagram and Facebook to be exact) and limiting TV time (no more binge-watching and zero news cycles).
 
I feel like I’m in the dark ages. I am a caveman (cavewoman?) wandering around the empty lands. What are all of the people doing? Am I missing everything? What on God’s green earth did I do before social media? How did I spend my free time? How did I wait in a line without reaching for my phone?

For the love of milk and honey, I cannot recall.
 
Life before Instagram and Facebook and Netflix is a blurry wisp of a memory, but I suppose I did productive things like homework and talked to people in real life (Although I do vaguely remember watching the entire box seasons of Gilmore Girls over and over. I will never be ashamed of this).
 
To be honest, I have failed the point of this detox in some areas. Don’t get me wrong: I have not cheated once (I am a first-born, rule-following Pharisee), but there were some days that I missed the mark on the whole “be still and wait on the Lord” thing. (Hello, my long-lost friend, Pinterest. Ahh yes, I think I will re-read all of my favorite fiction books.)
 
Replacing my habitual drugs of choice with another numbing distraction was far from the plan. And goodness, the timing of this little adventure could not have been worse or more perfect. That may sound confusing, but God’s timing often works out that way, doesn’t it?

Satan’s attacks were relentless over this past month. All of my vulnerable spots were tested. I found myself crying all of the tears, feeling all of the hurts, and asking all of the questions. Where I normally would’ve turned to technology to ignore the hard things, I was forced to take an honest-to-goodness look at my soul. And I didn’t always love what I found there.

Praise God for grace. Even amidst all of my shortcomings, He shows up and loves me still. He is teaching me big things. Good and hard and beautiful things. My prayer list is growing longer because He is pointing all of the areas I’m holding onto with clenched fists.

I suppose that’s what it looks like to walk with the Lord, though. You release one area to Him and then He points out another. It’s almost annoying. And it’s fully liberating.

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I’m on the home stretch now. I can see the beautiful, Instagram-filtered finish line. It seems to be covered in a mountain of cheese, although it’s possible I’m hallucinating at this point. 

It’s a funny thing, really. I thought this detox was going to be a fight. I planned out my attack, put on my armor, picked up my weapons, prepared for battle. I readied my shield for the arrows and prepared my war cry.

And, after all these days, it turns out: this detox looks more like surrender. I am unclenching my fists and laying down my armor. I am giving away my weapons. I’m bringing out my white flag and waving it joyfully.
 
I’m boasting a mile-wide smile with outstretched arms—because He is in control of it all. 

 

 

FRUITFUL FINDS

I'm always looking for sermon, podcast, and book recommendations, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few of my favorites from the past couple of weeks with y'all as well (and feel free to send any my way that you've been loving)!


To watch (or listen): Quest for Truth by Passion City Church

This conversation between Louie Giglio, Ravi Zacharias, and Vince Vitale is so insightful and relevant. They are all so brilliant and wise--I can't even deal. I loved hearing bits of their testimonies and stories (Vince was an atheist in academia and Ravi was a suicide-attempter in India) while learning from their beautiful perspectives. 

To read: Garden City by John Mark Comer

The subtitle of this book is "Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human," which sums up the main discussions. While I don't agree with everything the author says (per usual), it's one of my favorite books I've read all year. It felt like God was speaking gentle reminders to me through the often-witty and gospel-filled words of John Mark:

“That’s why Sabbath is an expression of faith. Faith that there is a Creator and he’s good. We are his creation. This is his world. We live under his roof, drink his water, eat his food, breathe his oxygen. So on the Sabbath, we don’t just take a day off from work; we take a day off from toil. We give him all our fear and anxiety and stress and worry. We let go. We stop ruling and subduing, and we just be. We 'remember' our place in the universe. So that we never forget . . . There is a God, and I’m not him.”

To sing: Cages by Needtobreathe

You know when you listen to a song for the first time and it just hits you in all of the tender places? This was that song for me. (It's been on repeat over here.)

"We're a band of outsiders
Spend our whole lives chasin'
Trying to climb a little higher
But the high just faded

Went looking for attention
In all the wrong places
We were needin' a redemption
All we got was just cages"

 
Alex FlyDetoxComment
Why You Should Risk The Consequences

 

DIGITAL BREAKS, BREAKOUTS, AND BREAKING UP WITH FEAR

 

It's been 12 days since I've scrolled through Instagram or eaten a piece of bread. Can you sense my slight panic from over there?

I’m in the middle of this 30-day digital and junk food detox (you can read more here), and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it. To sum up my observations simply: the past two weeks have been weird and hard and full of glory.

I’ve cleaned the house every day and gone to bed at about 9 PM every night because I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO. I finish work early pretty consistently because I’m not wasting my time scrolling. I’ve read 3 books already, and I’m only two weeks into this thing. I think I’ve spent more time talking to God than I have all year. I haven’t needed my inhaler once and my insomnia is basically non-existent. I am so tired of cooking already. I reach for my phone out of habit and then see the absence of Instagram and Facebook, so I frustratingly throw it down (this happens a lot).

 

A brief backstory/confession: when I first felt the Lord nudging me toward this detox, I thought it was a little crazy but reluctantly decided to obey. I put it on my calendar. I wrote down all of the details and shared the plans with my husband. I wondered if I should see a therapist or a doctor because this idea was slightly insane. I started buying paleo-approved groceries and praying about the process.

A day or two later, I was contacted by a few different people in the wedding industry about the dates of some of my design work. And guess what? All of the important dates were in the middle of my detox plan. (For those unfamiliar: whenever styled shoots happen in the wedding business, it is clear that contributing designers are supposed to post about the photoshoot to increase page views and networking opportunities. Basically, I could be missing out on lots of business or future collaborations if I followed through with my detox plan).

I thought through my options:

1) I could change the dates of my detox and start after the important wedding launches.

2) I could take a brief break from the detox to post about the photoshoots and then hop back off social media again.

3) Or I could keep going as scheduled and risk the consequences.

So, I was thinking about these options and leaning toward changing the dates. I hadn’t started yet, after all, and it was the smartest thing to do from a business standpoint. It felt like a good compromise.

But then I heard a voice inside me, “Alex, do you really trust Me?”

 

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt the voice of God before, but whoa—it is an experience. I knew what the Lord was leading me to do, and I wasn’t super thrilled about it.

Dr. Charles Stanley preaches a beautiful challenge frequently, “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.” I want to live like that—no matter how difficult it is for this practical, analytical, rule-following soul of mine. Like the old hymn says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way…” 

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Something weird happened as Kevin and I started eating clean. About a week in, both of our faces started breaking out pretty badly. I remembered that the same thing happened when we did the Whole30 a while back, so Kevin did a bit of research. Apparently, breakouts happen to a lot of people as they start cutting out the artificial foods. It is a sign that the toxins are trying to leave the body. All of the good stuff starts pushing the bad stuff out. 

I think God is using this media fast in a similar way. He is healing places I didn’t know were bruised. He is uncovering sins I didn’t know were buried. He is calling me out upon the waters, and I am hesitantly stepping forward. He is answering all kinds of prayers that I’m usually too busy to pray about. He is revealing the importance of spiritual disciplines, and I am no longer too distracted to pay attention to Him. He is pushing out fear, worry, and bitterness and then replacing it with more trust, peace, and forgiveness. God is pushing away the bad stuff for His glory.

Don’t get me wrong: His glory doesn’t always feel like our good. I don’t want to pretend that you can just give up a few things for a limited time and life falls into place because that is not the Gospel (and that’s definitely not what is happening here). Most days have been uncomfortable and unsettled. Digging up sins is far from fun. Obeying the Spirit is almost never the easier route. I’m learning to be okay with all of this, though, because God shows up in the uncomfortable places. Awkward conversations are happening in the most beautiful, glory-filled way, and I can’t shut up about everything God is doing over here.

Friends, if you feel the Lord leading you into something, follow Him. Take the step. Make the leap. Ask the questions. Pray the prayer. Bring out the shovel and do the digging. Put your faith in Jesus, and risk the consequences.

Because there’s no doubt about it: He is a good, good, Father.


FRUITFUL FINDS


I'm always looking for sermon, podcast, and book recommendations, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few of my favorites from the past couple of weeks with y'all as well. I plan on continuing this recommendation section in my future posts, so be on the lookout for these links if you want to add more intention to your week (and send any my way that you've been loving)!

To watch (or listen): Work and Rest (Sermon by Matt Chandler)

To readGoliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio

To sing: The More I Seek You (Kari Jobe)



A Cheap, Fast Faith
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A CHEAP, FAST FAITH.

It’s no secret that we live in a fast-paced world. We are all in a hurry and searching for a quick fix, running through drive-thrus while reading self-help books. We have all the information we need at the touch of our fingertips. We repeat the word busy over and over again— like that is what we are meant to be, like busyness qualifies us for a trophy and a few gold stars. And we, as a generation, have never been more distracted, medicated, or depressed.

We want the easy way out of everything—marriages, meals, fears, finances, faith. So we sign the divorce papers, head to the fast food restaurants, take a few pills, make a few bets, post an inspirational verse. And we still feel stressed-out, worn-down, and empty.

We eat a bag full of fried chicken and complain when we feel sick. We binge watch Friday Night Lights and then wonder why we feel distant from God. Sometimes we do these things simultaneously, which ends with rubbing a bellyache and mumbling, “Clear eyes, full bellies, can’t lose.” (I’m not saying I have, and I’m not saying I haven’t).

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Here’s the thing, friends: I’m tired of the easy route and all of the distractions and demons that come with it. The junk food has left me with acid reflux and asthma. The social media scrolling has been filling up any downtime. The constant news cycles have left me feeling overwhelmed.

The world seems to be full of screaming matches, and I can no longer hear God through all of the shouting.

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We know that Satan wants us to look around for the easy button. He wants us to be busy enough to ignore the tugs from the Spirit; he wants us to give up, succumb to fear, and head down his wide path. He wants us to buy into the world of distractions and comfort.

So what do we do when the enemy is attacking and the whole broken world seems against us? What do we do when we are riddled with anxiety and fear and arguments and spiritual warfare?

 

We remember Truth. And we allow Him to lead us in that hard, glorious, life-giving reconstruction. We must seek out the One voice that matters and then obey it above everything else.

This is the truth that the Lord keeps revealing to me: God did not invite us into a cheap, fast faith. He invited us to walk with Him. To wait on Him. To trust Him, step by step. To take up our crosses and follow Him. None of this comes naturally to us, of course. So we must show up in our battle gear. We must train our weak muscles. We must be ready to focus on His glory in the good and the bad and everything in-between. And while I am confident that God has already won the war, we still have some difficult earthly battles to fight.

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I don’t know exactly what a training regimen looks like for you. It will most likely involve digging into the Word and spending a lot of time in prayer...because I’ve repetitively found both of these to be necessary for rediscovering Truth and allowing Him to lead.

For me, even though there’s nothing particularly wrong, lately I’m finding myself to be more anxious than peaceful. I’m finding myself holding fast to my own plans instead of trusting that His ways are better. And I desperately need some blank space for God to show up and re-train my gaze on Himself. 

So I’m in the beginning stages of a massive 30-day detox—a physical, mental, and spiritual overhaul from all of the processed junk and lies I’ve been buying into. I’ll be turning off the news, deleting the social media apps, changing the radio station, throwing away the Cinnamon Toast Crunch (I know, I can’t even deal right now).

But I’m also adding more of the good stuff; I’ll be cooking with fresh food, studying the Word, singing worship songs, listening to what God is teaching me and writing it down. These are life-giving things for me, even though they require patience and time and (probably) tears.

This detox is not about me working my way into heaven or blaming the world for all of my problems. This is me, attempting to shove the stuff I have placed between me and God aside—so that I can see Him clearly again. I sin because I am a sinner, not because there’s a lot of sin in the world.

But just like all of the processed sugar negatively affects how I feel, the mindless scrolling and depressing news cycles and constant media bombardment have been sending me into a downward spiral. The physical and mental burdens have been running rampant, and it’s hard to see God from behind those piles of junk.

Just the other day, I was telling Kevin about my plan for this overhaul. He was quiet for a moment (which is rare) and commented, “Wow, next month is going to be really hard.”

“I think that’s the point,” I said.

No soldier ever went into a battle thinking it would be easy. And they definitely didn’t march on the battlefield without a few basic training lessons.

Put on your armor, friends. We’ve got a battle to fight.


WANT TO JOIN?

Honestly, I hesitated in sharing this detox plan with you. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back or earn praises. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite—I am sharing in vulnerability that I need an organized plan of action so that:

-I might allow God to take the driver’s seat and start trusting that He knows the directions.

-Prayer might be a reflex instead of a last resort.

-A Jesus-flame would burn brighter and stronger.

Like I said, I also hesitated to share this with you because I don’t know what you need in your walk with God (and there is no foolproof formula even if I did). My sister can eat an entire pizza without the smallest twinge of a stomach ache (I’m jealous). I know a few strong people taking anti-anxiety medications under the watchful care of therapists and doctors, and they are better kingdom builders because of modern medicine. I have friends who juggle insane schedules and still seek the Lord first. Detoxes may look different for different people. 

But if a 30-day media & junk food break sounds like it might be a good path for you, I would love to hear from you so that we can cheer each other on throughout the month! 

THE PRACTICAL POINTS:

Food:

Kevin and I have done the Whole30 before (you can read about my experience here), but this time we are opting to eat Paleo-approved meals for 30 days straight (starting on July 6). Paleo is a little friendlier to the budget, and it is also more practical to implement after the month is over. *We are not viewing this as a diet, but as a detox.

Media:

I’m not disengaging from the world completely, but I will be cutting out Instagram and Facebook for the month. I won’t be watching the news (I’ll be reading it), and I’ll be scaling back on TV. However, I will be available through call, text, and e-mail. I’ll be showing up to life in person, and I plan to keep showing up here—if I feel led to share any of this journey through jumbled words and stories. 

Expectations:

I’m not really sure what to expect. I just know that I’ve been craving blank spaces and quiet mornings, intentionality and more time in prayer. And if I don’t give myself some guidelines to refocus, I will continue to wander around in circles while trying to do everything myself.

I’m most nervous from a business standpoint, to be honest. So many of my clients find me through social media, and I won’t be posting there for an entire month. But God is a provider, and I am attempting to release my biggest worries along with my smallest ones.

I hope to approach meals a little more slowly and methodically. I hope to make a habit of prayer as a first resort. I hope, when it’s all over, I will be refreshed from the media break and eager to engage it again with joy. I will definitely be tired of doing the dishes. 

I know God will show up, because He always does—sometimes we just need to notice Him.