In college, when I attended Palm Beach Atlantic University while living with my two bests, my first class of the day during fall semester was Spiritual Formation. I know the name of that class sounds funny, but it was honestly one of the best/most memorable classes I took. The main book we used for the entire semester was Richard J. Foster’s The Celebration of Discipline. He split our class up into small groups that we would meet with at the beginning of each week to discuss what we learned from the chapter we were supposed to read and practice the week before. It was odd, having to do that for a grade… but I discovered a new facet of faith that I do believe was a part of the beginning of my sanctification process.
My favorite chapter ended up being the one on the discipline of simplicity. At first, I dreaded the thought of reading through that and remember fearing what it would require me to do. But, after a day of unplugging my life so to speak, I discovered a peace and tranquility that I’d not quite felt before. I didn’t use my phone or watch tv that day, and I didn’t eat out. I made food at home, didn’t fill my time with plans, and spent the evening sitting on an abandoned life guard tower at the beach by my house. I read, wrote, prayed and listened to the waves crash onto the beach.
I felt like I could breathe.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take that “homework” and really implement it into my life. It’s taken years to slowly discover what makes life more simple and find the courage to apply it. But that chapter on simplicity has stuck with me ever since.
Several of you reading know my battle with self-image and comfort eating. It was a back and forth fight for so long, and sometimes it rears its head. I’ve gone from mantra to mantra, diet to eating plan, always trying to fix the symptom and not the issue.
As my beliefs about my worth have been changing and being made whole over the last year or so, the need to have some elaborate eating or exercising lifestyle has left me.
Right before I got pregnant, I had begun to struggle again, as I felt physically yucky all of the time and wanted out of my skin. Life was a bit chaotic at that time, as we were I’m the process of buying a house during the holidays. Cooking healthy meals wasn’t a priority. Instead of hopping on pinterest to find the latest diet craze (like I’ve done so many times before), I googled “drinking water”. I knew at that time, I wasn’t drinking enough water and wanted to be encouraged to do better at that.
Just more water intake, that’s all I wanted to try.
I stumbled over some articles on drinking fresh squeezed lemon in a glass of water every morning, and the exhaustive list of benefits that it provides for the overall health of the average human being was enlightening. So, I decided to start there. I was going to drink lemon water every morning when I woke up, along with two more glasses of water before breakfast, and I was going to keep surrendering my image and worth in prayer.
1 full glass of water with squeezed juice from half a lemon (or a whole one, if it’s small).
After less than a week, I noticed an overall change in the way I felt. Choosing to start my day with water and lemon made me more aware of how dehydrated I had become, and how good it felt to start my morning waking up my body by hydrating it. I became more aware of what I was putting in my body, and was more intentional about getting at least 64 ounces of water a day. Cravings for certain things disappeared, and my regular bouts of fatigue were gone. After several weeks, it hit me that my migraines and body aches were completely gone. I dropped 5 pounds in a few weeks, but didn’t know it until I discovered I was pregnant and weighed myself. I also noticed that my eyesight improved, and haven’t needed to wear my reading glasses in a long time.
I know this sounds really weird, but it felt like my cells were being nourished.
Obviously, I’m not able to show normal results over an 8 month period, because I’ve been pregnant for most of it. But I decided to carry on this new discipline into my pregnancy, and I think it’s helped in a lot of ways. Pregnancy comes with a lot of physical discomfort, but a glass of lemon water actually aids in the aches and pains. I still drink one glass of it when I wake up, and will often drink another glass later on in the day when the afternoon fatigue hits.
This may be one of the first disciplines/habits I’ve started that I’ve actually stuck with. It’s just a part of my every day life, I don’t even think about it anymore (unless we are out of lemons, and then I take notice). It was a simple choice paired with the understanding that no action is going to change my heart, and it is working. If nothing else, my body is hydrated and my migraines and aches are either at a minimum or non-existent. I know that there’s more good stuff going on inside my body as a result of the awesome junk that’s in lemons, (read about the benefits and myths over at the Wellness Mama Blog), but I don’t really care to focus on those. I feel better. It’s made my existence more simple; freed up some physical energy to spend on living life.
If this is something you want to try, I think that’s great, but ask yourself some questions first:
1) What is my motivation for doing this?
2) Do I believe that I’m enough?
3) Am I surrendered to the fact that disciplines HELP us navigate the heart issues, but do not ultimately cure them? If not, what do I need to surrender?
Now, go drink some water