Reflections: End of the Detox 2014

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“…things always get worse before they get better…”

That’s the quote that best describes what happens during my detoxes.

Oh, most “detox survivors” (hehe) will happily tell you the euphoric experience that is THE END of the detox. The end almost makes up for the shizznit that they just subjected themselves to. Almost. 

By day three, I find myself asking, “Why do I do this to myself? Why?!” Still, I press on – reminding myself of what I know is waiting for me — in the end. But this year, it didn’t get better after Day 3 – “THE worst day” supposedly. No, it most definitely got worse.

Abstinence from food gives you time. Time that gives you sensitivity to the other things that clog and clutter up your life. This year, I threw out a lot of things, arranged a few more, bought some (okay, a lot more) and brainstorming ideas for storage. Its even carried on to the rest of the house. Such fun!

After so many days spent on the porcelain throne (brown gunk coming out of you), you begin to think on other things in your life that might as well be categorised as faecal (i.e. sh*t).

Trite as it may sound, things started getting better once I heard the sermon at Church on “Knowing God” and decided to renew my commitment to spending quality time with God. So, one morning, I found myself soaking in meditation, reading His Word. I was especially invigorated when I found that the devotional was hooking up with the text that I had been fixated on (since Sunday) — Philippians 3 — “to know Him and the power of His resurrection”

That morning, I was surprised by the depths of my hunger – spiritual hunger that is. People often ask me how I am able to sleep on an empty stomach during the cleanse. I tell them, after three days, your stomach goes “dormant” – hunger is forgotten. When you start breaking the fast, your body starts to remember and hunger is “rediscovered”.

Well, that morning, my spirit rediscovering hunger – how long its been starving? I hate to imagine.

God speaks and I usually take to weeping.Tears came and it felt like so much crap was coming out of me. As I poured out my heart to God, he began to fill me…

What’s the difference when a non-Christian goes on a cleanse/detox and when a true believer goes on a fast?

A cleanse/detox/fast all have an element of abstinence. A non-Christian will feel “loss” – loss of food, loss of weight… but only a true Believer will feel full… of God’s love, his sufficiency.

There’s nothing as truly fulfilling as receiving a Word you know was meant for you. The Words were just so rich and full – though I was still fasting from food, I was feasting in the Spirit.

This morning, Day 10 of the detox – I went to weigh myself and had to quell myself from feeling disappointed. I hadn’t reached my goal of losing at least 10 pounds within 10 days. Shy one pound. (sigh)

Still, hadn’t I decided that this was not about weight loss?

Disappointed, I began to confess my petty feelings to God. I confessed to Him that feeling “thin” made me feel beautiful because people kept telling me, I “looked great” even when I knew that it was superficial. Then, the harder admission: I confessed to Him that it was easier for me to be dedicated to my body than it was to be dedicated to my spirit – to my relationship with Him.

After that initial confession, I began to pray in earnest that I would not just be physically lean but spiritually “lean”… Just like in Hebrews 12 (MSG)

1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honour, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

I was harbouring parasitic sins and had spiritual “fat” that needed shedding – these were hindering my spiritual running!

So many things had to go but I didn’t have the strength – so I prayed the text of my devotional in Psalm 25:11, “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.”

So here I am in the aftermath of Detox 2014 feeling refreshed and renewed. I have no doubts that I will probably gain back most of the weight I lost but I plan to get back to my workout routine (was able to start again yesterday!)

But this year, I also feel redeemed and reinvigorated to run this race well. To be physically and especially spiritually fit.

I pray that in the future, I will look back at this blog post feeling happy – not regretful. This is not a resolution – this is a covenant where the Holy Spirit himself is the Coach, the running partner and ultimately the one who will carry me to the finish line. I am reminded that we are all training in grace – training every aspect of ourselves to be obedient to the Spirit. I cannot lose – so long as I am dependent on grace.

“It is the pleasure of God’s people to contemplate the graciousness of this covenant. They see that the law was made void because it was a covenant of works and depended upon merit, but this they perceive to be enduring because grace is the basis, grace the condition, grace the strain, grace the bulwark, grace the foundation, grace the topstone.” { C.H. Spurgeon }

In the words of Christ, “it is finished!”

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Detox 2014 Update

Today being the fourth day on this detox, things are looking up. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

The first two days of the detox went about as normal with no major hiccups. I was fortunate that on Tuesday (the day I started), I didn’t have to come to work. On Wednesday, I had to attend a general meeting at the school where I work – a painful three-hour meeting where I sat right next to my colleague and her steaming cup of coffee.

The third day (yesterday) was the worst. It usually is but this year, more so. This, I owed to the fact that instead of waking up at 7:00ish to drink my first lemonade of the day, I got up too late – the hunger pangs had set in. I had nausea and poop episodes all day. I also felt very weak and was very susceptible to sights and smells of food. Hence, I had to lay off instagram and facebook for a while.

Today I woke up feeling a whole lot better than yesterday. I’m going to do the errands that I was supposed to do YESTERDAY but never got to.

Weight wise, I’ve lost around (5) pounds ( a little slow – a little disappointing). But I had to remind myself that first, I was doing this to cleanse my body not to lose weight and second, I have already lost (10) pounds since a shocking weigh-in last February that alerted me to my urgent need to lose weight.

I did it in the old-fashioned way, by doing cardio at least four times a week (and more). I exercised even while on my vacation in the U.S.

I didn’t really go on a “diet” but I was conscious of what I chose to eat, how much and when I ate.I didn’t deprive myself – but stuck to these principles:

  1. I had to decide how much I was going to eat before eating. Also, I consciously loaded up on the healthier options (if they were available).
  2. Eating time was exclusively eating time – no “multi-tasking” while eating – i.e. no facebook, no texting, no work.
  3. I eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
  4. At the end of a portion, I’d re-evaluate whether I was satisfied (Note: I never ate until I was full. Full means too much)

I challenged myself – to earn my detox by losing 10 pounds before my holiday. And I did! On the last leg of my vacation, I gained four pounds more. But within a week of being back home to my routine, I lost it all again.

This is part of the reason why I felt like I didn’t need to do a 14-day fast this year. Instead, I’m doing a 10-day fast. I will drink my lemonade for (7) days and start breaking the fast on the 8th day (i.e. drink orange juice). By the 10th day, I will be drinking soup and water-based foods – no solid foods yet.

One final reminder (to myself and to anybody else that’s reading this) is that the master cleanse detox is not a shortcut. There are no shortcuts in fitness. In the end, we must pay careful attention to the motivations of our heart and to the things we hold dear.

In Hong Kong there is strong pressure to be “thin”. They don’t care if you have NO muscle tone or that you actually weigh LESS than you ought to be. You must be slim or diet trying. But I don’t want to be slim, I want to be fit. I want to be strong. For what reason?

My body is God’s temple and I am a part of His royal priesthood. My first priority above all else is to be able to glorify Him in every aspect of life – including my health – so that I may be used mightily for His Kingdom – whether I am singing, teaching or doing anything else.

Are We Free?

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On this, our Day of Independence, we must ask ourselves the all important question: { Are We Free? } or make it even more personal { Am I Truly Free? }

In reflection this morning, two things permeated my thoughts:

  1. It seems we only trade one master for another – one shackle for another. Whatever freedom is, it is not earned through human struggle.
  2. Those who fought for our freedom did win (and praise God for that!) But eventually, they died – succumbing to the ultimate tyrant.

As I walked to work, the Lord began to reassure me by reminding me passages in His Word – I would encourage you to go through them with me. I feel strongly that these words are intended not only to encourage me but others as well.

He reminded me of { Galatians 5 }.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

He led me to 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

And finally, fire seems alight in my blood as I read Romans 8 (Please go and read it in its entirety! Here I am including the parts that really spoke to me)

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.  For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

He has set me free to live in true freedom – freedom through the finished work of Christ and through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (NOT through my own effort.) Freedom does not come from struggle. We are not merely called to “abstain” from the flesh but to abide in Christ. He is our only hope for salvation.

And from these readings I feel a mighty roar from within me to say these words:

I am no slave. Sin and death have no claim over me. By His blood and resurrection, the chains were broken and I was reborn into freedom. 

I am no orphan. I am a Child of God – daughter of the Most High – CO-heir with Christ. By His Spirit, I call the God of the Universe “Abba” and of this I am sure, He will answer me.

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It is sobering and a little strange to be reminded that although our forefathers won the battle against “foreign invaders”, that freedom was short-lived for they all eventually died anyway.

Furthermore, as we look at our people, can we really say that we have been freed from slavery? In our corruption and greed, we have bound ourselves to an even worse master.

But CHRIST fought our Ultimate Enemy { Death } and defeated him. He died but on the Third Day, rose again in victory – and now, in Him, we live!

On this, our Day of Independence, we must ask ourselves the all important question: { Am I Truly Free? } — and if you are in Christ today, let me tell you the resounding answer:

Whom the Son sets free is FREE indeed!

John 8:36

Spirit Speaks by All Sons & Daughters

Shackles by Mary Mary

Break Every Chain by WorshipMob

Forever by Kari Jobe