I know most of us typically wait until January to do a health detox, but I feel like we all need one right now. And I’m not talking about going on a liquid diet for the next month. I need a soul detox.
Surely I can’t be alone. Does anyone else feel like their soul just needs to eat a salad and have a tall glass of water?
No doubt, this year has been toxic in any number of ways. And a brutally bitter presidential election season has seemed to cap it all off so fittingly. But as we turn toward the holiday season–a season of thankfulness, remembrance, and celebration–now seems like a good time to refocus.
Here are 4 simple ways to detox your soul.
1. Consume content that will orient you toward spiritual healing and growth.
During what has now been deemed election week (as opposed to the normal election day), I watched more TV news than I care to admit. I probably watched more news in that week than I had in the entire year leading up to it.
What’s worse is that as I was watching the news on TV, I was also scrolling through Twitter to see how everyone else was reacting to the news we were all watching in real time. None of it was very uplifting. And yet all of it was strangely captivating.
But I have to tell you, after doing that for a few days in a row, I didn’t feel well. Not that I was physically ill. But my soul was pretty weary.
So if you want a cleanse from all the toxic content that’s been bombarding you, it makes sense that you should focus on consuming content that will orient you toward spiritual healing and growth.
Of course this includes reading your bible. Alongside that, you might also consider picking up a book, reading articles, listening to podcasts, or watching video content that will build you up. Try to find content that will encourage your heart, help you learn something new, and push you toward thinking about edifying things.
You are what you eat. And you are what you read, watch, and listen to.
2. Spend time with people who fill your cup back up.
Another key aspect to a good soul detox is making time to hang out with people who fill your cup back up. With the busyness of your schedule and the limitations placed upon us by a global pandemic, it’s been really easy to become disconnected from any number of meaningful relationships. And that’s probably another reason why many of us are feeling so unwell.
The simple remedy to this problem is to commit to connecting with people who fill up your emotional tank–as a matter of spiritual health and well being.
Here’s how Solomon puts it in Proverbs.
“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.” (Proverbs 27:9)
When you can connect on a heart level with someone over coffee (or even over video chat), it’s like tapping into a wellspring of refreshment. Hanging out, chatting about life, and getting advice from a friend who really gets you goes a long way toward keeping you grounded and recentering your focus.
3. Put your phone down and go outside.
Our screens offer a great many things to entertain us, inform us, and keep us connected. And during 2020, they have become that much more important for helping us continue to work, go to school, and stay connected with friends and family that we haven’t been able to see.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ve noticed a trend of severely diminishing emotional returns when it comes to what your screens have to offer. And yet, it’s kind of like the emotional equivalent of eating just because you’re bored. You don’t really want it. But what else are you doing to do?
It’s in times like these that you should go outside.
Even if it’s just for a ten-minute walk around your neighborhood, going outside really helps detox your soul. Breathing fresh air, listening to the wind, stepping on some leaves and dirt, chatting with a walking partner, or even just enjoying the silence has a way of stilling the restlessness of your heart.
That’s why the Psalms are filled with verses like these.
“On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.”
So the next time you feel restless or beleaguered, go outside and connect with God to cleanse your spiritual palate. When you meditate on the wondrousness of his works, your heart feels a great deal more hopeful and encouraged.
4. Focus on caring for your body.
A number of years ago, I was attending a church event where there was a great spread of food–none of it even approaching what could be considered “nutritional value.” So, basically, it was like any other church event.
But as we waited in line to get our food, a fellow pastor turned to me and said something insightful: “You know, the Church will kill your body to save your soul.”
And he was right. For all the amazing things Christians have done to help people find health and healing for their souls, we have often neglected the importance of the very thing that houses our souls–our bodies.
But your emotional and spiritual health are inexorably connected to your physical health, for better or for worse. And in 2020, it has typically been for worse.
The roadmap to physical decline is well worn. You’re stressed, so you stress eat. Then because your nutrition is off kilter, you don’t have the energy to exercise. All of this ends up affecting your sleep, which then makes you more tired. Then because you’re tired, you’re more prone to anxiety. So you stress eat, and the downward spiral continues.
The good news is that the spiral goes the other way too. But it takes intentionality. And this is something that God wants for you, as penned by the apostle Paul.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, emphasis added)
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is eat a healthy meal, drink lots of water, get a good workout in, and go to bed early. An essential facet of your soul detox might just be a good old fashioned nutritional detox accompanied by some exercise.
A detox for your soul isn’t selfish or frivolous. It’s necessary for you to continue serving Jesus effectively.
If you’re passionate about serving Jesus, loving your family, being a good employee, friend, and neighbor, a periodic soul detox is important for you. When we neglect to care for our own souls, we end up being worse at all those things. You make worse decisions. You’re less patient and loving. And you’re far less productive.
So even if you don’t feel like you have time, make time.
As the saying goes, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.” You need your tank filled back up. Best to do it before it’s entirely empty and you’re stranded on the side of the road.
So may this coming season be for you a season of healing, restoration, refocus, so that you can continue to become everything Jesus created you to be.
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