This diet requires eliminating all carbs and sugars for a month. I thought this would be no big deal, but I was wrong.
By day three, I felt terrible. No matter how much I ate, I always felt hungry. I was told that my body and mind needed retraining. I had become accustomed to needing carbs and sugar to feel full, and I was detoxing.
A few years later, I experienced this same thing in a very different context.
In January, Steiger (the ministry I am a part of) committed to seeking God twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. With missionaries all over the world, this would be a challenge - but one we were excited to take on.
A couple of weeks into the new year, I had yet to commit to our new prayer focus fully. I had all sorts of excuses: my kids kept getting sick, I already had a personal prayer routine, and I always felt behind on work. I barely felt like I had enough time as it was–how could I possibly give up more?
All the while, my stress grew and I felt increasingly anxious, yet I still kept making excuses.
Finally, I’d had enough and gave up. I said to God, "Alright! I don't have the time, I'm not sure I even want to do this, but I give up. I'm going to dive in and seek you!"
That week, I devoted myself to the prayer chain, and things got even worse. I felt more stressed and I was less productive. I remember feeling upset and thinking, “God, wasn't this supposed to fix everything? Why are things worse?” And then it hit me - I was detoxing.
My decision to seek God in this way exposed how self-focused and self-reliant I had become.
For every follower of Jesus, the process of taking what we know and putting it into practice can be difficult. Our human nature does not go down without a fight - and that was what I was experiencing - a willing heart but weak flesh. Still, I pushed through, and as time went on, I began to experience a new peace and power that I was previously lacking.
I felt lighter as I focused on who God is, and that apart from Him, I can do nothing. I felt my grip loosening on the plans I had made, as I remembered that God’s ways are infinitely better than mine. As I resisted the urge to tackle my long list of “to do’s” and instead pray, I could think more clearly, and joy replaced the subtle dread that clouded my mind. This experience was both painful and amazing at the same time.
I know this battle is far from over. As fallen human beings, we are prone to wander away from dependence on God, and back to self-reliance. It is a lesson I will undoubtedly be learning my whole life. Detoxing from myself is a painful process, but on the other side is a content heart and a fruitful life - a trade easily worth making.