I recently completed a 30-day cleanse/detox. I’ll have to admit, that was one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Harder than hiking up Canyon De Chelly in the dead of summer. Harder than giving natural birth to three children. Without drugs.
I ate things I never dreamed I’d eat. Things I swore I would never eat. Things that smell “bad”. I drank concoctions containing things that tested my gag reflex. And I didn’t eat ice cream the entire time. Not. One. Bite.
And the warm Himalayan cleanse that kicked the whole thing off……well, let’s just say nothing about that. That tale will make your hair stand on end and cause grown men to cry for their mommies.
Needless to say, my taste buds were challenged. I also learned a lot about what the human body needs and what it doesn’t want. I discovered what foods supported which organs and the systems they cleanse. But I think the spiritual lesson was the thing that impacted me the most. I was blindsided by revelation.
It was during the detox that our oldest daughter Gabrielle experienced a medical emergency. Gabrielle was diagnosed with Type1 Diabetes when she was 5 years old and over the past 23 years we’ve had several scary moments with her. We experienced one of those moments when her husband Scott called us at 2am to say she was non-responsive. As Bill and I raced to their home, we prayed. We got there before the ambulance and began to do all we knew to do, as we asked Jesus to help her. The ambulance arrived and it was a very intense 20 or so minutes as paramedics worked with her to regain consciousness. By the time it was over, it was well after 3am and she was headed to the hospital with Scott and we were headed to our house with Josiah.
As we crawled back into bed with Josiah, Bill and I both stared at the ceiling. The adrenaline was flowing. Our hearts were thumping and our minds were racing. Reviewing the scary images of her wide-eyed, blank stare. Replaying the sound of shallow breathing. Repeating the memories of scary times gone-by. Asking the “what-ifs” and then trying not to answer them.
And in the darkness, I whispered to Bill that I wanted to make a fat-boy breakfast. Bacon. French toast. Eggs. Orange Juice. Maybe waffles. It made sense. Everyone was awake. Danielle and Stefan were up. Scott and Gabe would be here shortly. Dylan could come over because Danielle has woken him up too. We could eat together and be thankful all was well. Bond. Recover.
That’s when Bill reminded me we were on the cleanse and in the process of detoxing. Smoothies with interesting ingredients were on the docket for breakfast.
What? Oh, but these are extenuating circumstances, I said. We’re all awake, I said. We’re all hungry, I said. To which he replied that we were going to stay the course. We were too far in to throw it all away.
I asked if he was sure, because I was certain a family breakfast was in order. And it would be just for breakfast. I didn’t want to toss the whole thing out the window.
No. We don’t need a fat-boy breakfast. We need to eat our scheduled detoxing smoothie and stay on track.
I could feel a yearning for bacon. My taste buds insisting on it. My body demanding high-fat and sugar. My mind assuring me that this is what I needed. It would soothe our jarred souls. It would make it better. It was all I could do not to get up and start cooking something.
And as I laid there in the silent dark, I realized what I probably would have never discovered otherwise. (If we had not started this cleanse/detox, we would have made the biggest fat-boy breakfast ever and never gave it a second thought.) My mind and body was looking to food to comfort me and help me through a stressful situation. There was no denying it.
Never in a million years would I have thought that I was looking to anything other than Jesus for help. Maybe earlier in my journey with Jesus; but not now. Now, I consciously invite Jesus in the center of everything. Or so I thought.
And to that point, I had done that in this situation. We prayed in the car on the way over. We talked to Jesus as we worked to help her and as the paramedics did their part. We thanked Him on the drive home, telling Him how grateful we were that she was ok and all was well.
But now, lying in bed with jangled nerves, I was looking for something else to help me. To divert my attention. To comfort me. I was physically, yet subconsciously, calling out to bacon.
I was stunned. I laid there dumbfounded as Holy Spirit pulled back another layer of my humanity to reveal a questionable spot in my heart. I have declared that Jesus is the Lover of my soul. I have proclaimed that I don’t need another lover, that I only need Him. I have stated that Jesus is at the center of it all. And now I discovered that maybe bacon was in my heart, jockeying for position as first. And I was cheering it on. Lobbying for its success.
I was so thankful that Bill insisted we remain committed to the cleanse/detox. Otherwise, I may not have discovered this tiny idol hiding in my heart. Now don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with bacon. Or a fat-boy breakfast. The problem was – although subconsciously – I had turned my thoughts away from Jesus before I had completed the process and was looking for the comfort of food. I wanted food for more than just fuel to power my body. And anything that attempts to do the work of Jesus in my life – anything that I look to, to fill the role of Holy Spirit in my life, is indeed an idol.
And I don’t want to have anything in my life that will weasel its way into His position. Nothing that will try to act in His stead. Nothing that will attempt to do what only He can do. 1Corinthians 10:14 (Amp) Therefore, my beloved, run [keep far, far away] from [any sort of] idolatry [and that includes loving anything more than God, or participating in anything that leads to sin and enslaves the soul].
So I ran. I immediately confessed that I wanted to choose food to help me through a stressful time. I repented of allowing food to even be an option in my distress. And I asked Holy Spirit to be all He ever promised, and be my Comforter in that moment.
I’d like to tell you that instantly everything changed. While it did change, it was a battle to remain in bed and let Holy Spirit do His work. I had to choose to turn my eyes on Him and away from the thoughts of the recent events AND the thoughts of crunchy bacon. I had to choose to give and praise Him through the struggle until peace blanketed my soul.
I never did fall back asleep. It was a process of several hours before I was OK with drinking our prescribed smoothie that morning.
So, while I did not enjoy Gabrielle’s diabetic episode, I am thankful for it. [Ephesians 5:20 (NLT) And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.] Because in it, an idol was uncovered and I have an opportunity to make changes that will take me deeper in to Abba’s heart. I was able to see the promise of Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) come to life for me again: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! I was able to again experience Holy Spirit as a true comforter. John 14:16 (Amp) And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— His comfort lasted far longer than the endorphins of a binge. And He doesn’t add inches or give heartburn.
The experience was worth it.
And I’m happy to report that Jesus did come to our aid that night. Gabrielle had quite an encounter with Him. Maybe she’ll share her story with us here one day.
I’m also happy to tell you that we completed the cleanse/detox. And it was worth it too. Lots of benefits gained. A few pounds lost. And valuable lessons learned. But I still don’t like broccoli.