Cleanse; a period or process of time during which a person attempts to rid the body of substances regarded as toxic or unhealthy. We all have had that conversation with some overly eager health enthusiast who has sworn by a cleanse they have just completed, pressuring you into partaking into their diet of horseradish soups, kale shakes, & ginger teas to shed some weight that they’ve “seen you gain” but what if cleansing is deeper than just physical?
As addressed in the beginning a cleanse is usually in reference to a period of time in which the the person partaking in the cleanse attempts to rid the body of toxic/unhealthy substances but what if those toxic substances are the environment that you are in? The relationship you have? The image you have of yourself? Toxicity can manifest in more ways than just the food we put into our bodies. Our thoughts can be just as unhealthy as a bottle of Coke; Our environment more toxic than gas, and our spiritual walk more burdensome than 15 “extra” pounds.
A lot of times in my personal life, i’ve seen the results of being clogged up in a spiritual, mental, & emotional capacity. Work turns into stress, stress turns into sleeplessness, sleeplessness turns into habit, and habit cements into character; before you know you are miles away from the person you used to be before you were bombarded with life’s pitfalls. We live in a society in which it isn’t hard to take on toxic ways of thinking; Social Media can be incredibly unhealthy in its ability to numb, deceive, and entrap us into images of a lives we wish we had or lives we pretend to project. Our environments can be filled with people, situations which drain us as opposed to uplifting us, day in and day out exposure chips away at our happiness making us feel heavy emotionally. Spiritually we may have burdens that we feel obligated to carry silently despite hearing the old adage “Cast your cares upon him” countless times, we feel too ashamed to address them or to tired to fight them.
If any of these symptoms relate to you in any way; you are in desperate need of a cleanse. Not just of the body but of the mind, spirit, and soul. In my personal experience this is necessary from time to time to truly unload all the toxicity that builds up over the course of this thing we call life. Here are some steps that I’ve found and am finding helpful even to this day; for one week try this three step “Cleanse Challenge”. 7 days. 168 hours. 10080 minutes. 604800 seconds. I promise; It’ll be worth it.
NEXT STEPS: Young Adult Ministry Training
Step 1: Cleanse the Body
“know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19
I used to read this verse begrudgingly throughout my life as it was always brought up by health message speakers trying to tell me that pizza was of the devil; but I cannot deny that what you put into your body affects so much more than just your weight. Food can directly affect how you feel, how you process information, even how well you sleep! Appetite is the key to controlling so much more than your stomach, it’s the lock to clearing your mind.
Challenge? For one week try to change your eating habits. Drink LOTS of water with nothing but fruits of vegetables. It’s really that simple! For one week; water, veggies, fruits. The result? You’ll find yourself feeling lighter, cleaner, clearer and more energetic which will lead us to our next step
Step 2: Cleanse the Mind
“ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8
The terms “brain food” or “food for thought” are familiar, being that we’ve probably heard them used in various contexts throughout our lives but in reality what we feed our mind is extremely important. When you wake up is the first thing you do pray or check your phone? How many times do you check social media throughout the day? What content do you follow? What are you allowing your mind to absorb? How long do you spend reading? Exploring? Learning something new? NO, this isn’t an interrogation, simply an analysis that we all need sometimes. We bombard our mind with so much stimulation that it’s unable to process thoughts organically. Many of our proactive thoughts are replaced by reactive ones; and this causes us to get stuck. Stuck in thoughts that aren’t rooted in reality, stuck in thoughts that are cyclical and non-progressive, stuck in thoughts that tear down as opposed to building up.
Challenge? Feed your mind with a different diet. Take a one week break from social media. Find/Read a book that relates to your personal interests or struggles. Change your visual perspective (Go outside more, watch the sunsets/sunrise) Stay off visual stimulation (Netflix, Phone, Video Games), Spend time around positive energy!
Step 3: Cleanse the Spirit
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.” – Psalm 51:10-12
Being spiritually burdened is one of the worst feelings to have as a believer; feeling drained, tired, and numb with things that should fill, awaken, and invigorate is symptomatic with being spiritually clogged. That fire you used to have feels damped by life and the voice you used to hear so clearly feels like a distant memory; maybe it isn’t even that deep for you, maybe you’ve been working so hard for God that you’ve forgotten to work with him. Maybe church has become a job as opposed to a house of rest, a jail as opposed to a home, a business as opposed to a place of refuge. Whatever the case maybe; we all go through the feeling that David expresses in this Psalm! “Renew a steadfast spirit in me, Do not cast away your presence and do not take your Holy Spirit from me” These are poignant and heartfelt words, words of someone who needs to realizes that they need to cleanse their spirit.
Challenge? From one week; wake up earlier than usual and take 15-30 minutes in the morning to talk to God. Write out your prayers, sing them, read them , say them as long as you are communicating honestly with him that’s all that matters. Be as David was in Psalm 51. Do this every morning and every night for one week.
Step 4: Rinse & Repeat
At the end of the week of doing this challenge, you will feel better but the battles you face won’t end there. Everyone will have a different experience, but whatever your experience is don’t leave it when it starts to feel better continue even after you see change! Repeat the challenges and make them your own until they are a habit of desire not a last resort of need.