On January 21st I began a “sugar detox” eating only berries, lemons, vegetables, wild caught fish, organic chicken and grass-fed beef, nuts, seeds, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, herbs and spices. Although I only use honey, coconut sugar, coconut nectar, dates and real maple syrup as sweeteners, those are still sugar and the body just needs a break from that in order to reset the digestive system and cleanse away anything that is not beneficial. And, truth be told, more than I’d like to admit, I will skip a meal and just have dessert, so I knew my body needed a reset. The plan was to stay on the detox until after the 15k Double Bridge Run on February 2nd.
The day before my sugar detox was to begin, I came down with the flu. This turned out to be such a blessing because it forced me to eat really healthy and kept any cravings for sugary foods at bay. I also received a timely word of encouragement from a good friend:
…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… - Hebrews 12:1-2
This was just the word I needed to encourage me in “throwing off” things that were hindering my hearing from God and running the race (of life) that He has marked out for me; in doing the work that He has prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). I was spurred on to stick with my detox to clear my mind and cleanse my body, while the flu was enabling me to throw off/sweat out other impurities through the fever. It also gave me an opportunity to just simply rest and when I felt able, to fix my eyes on Jesus by looking to God’s word. Because, really, there is just not much good on TV when you are homebound for 3 days straight and syndicated episodes of Reba (I greatly enjoy that show!) are only on for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening.
As I looked to God’s word, fixing my eyes on Jesus, I was reminded that we endure cycles of suffering and restoration. I knew that the flu was a time of temporary suffering and that God would restore. As the pounding headache faded and my body began to feel strong, I had the Double Bridge Run in view. After spending nearly two weeks on the sugar detox, I felt strong and able for the run even though I had not spent time training. The day before the run, these words leapt off the pages of Deuteronomy:
…you have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey and go… - Deuteronomy 1:6-7
I asked God to help me daily, hourly, moment by moment turn and fix my eyes on Jesus. Little did I know that the very next day, during the run, I would have a perfect picture of what it is to fix your eyes on the sun (Son). The morning of the run, the temperature was 39 degrees...brrr, that is COLD! With a gunshot start, I began to make my way through downtown Pensacola towards the 3 mile bridge to Gulf Breeze. Running across the bridge, I felt strong and the clear blue sky allowed the sun to shine brilliantly, sparkling on the water. One thing I noticed as I faced the first mountainous hill was that if I looked ahead at the incline I became focused on what it would require of me to overcome it, yet when I looked towards the sun, I was so taken with its beauty that I didn’t even notice when I began the ascent up the hill. There were times when the sun was so bright that I had to close my eyes and just put one foot in front of the other, continuing in faith that as I ran towards the sun I would persevere. The encouragement of friends in the race and bystanders along the way helped spur me on to keep a steady pace to the end. Then, the next big hurdle came and it seemed more steep than the previous, but just as with other matters of life, God is faithful to His word:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. – John 14:26
I was reminded of the last hurdle and how I was given the power to overcome it, my faith was renewed to believe that this too could and would be overcome. I just needed to press in to the journey, the race, God had marked out for me and know and believe that it was for my good. The momentary pain of conquering the obstacle was only slight compared to the glory of crossing the finish line in 80 minutes and 25 seconds.
As I waited with the crowd for other friends among the 4,000 runners to cross the finish line, I thought of Hebrews 12:1 and the “great crowd of witnesses” cheering us on. The excitement in the crowd as runner after runner made their way to the end of the race was contagious. There is nothing more exciting than watching someone endure and receive the prize….in a race and in life.
To celebrate, I had a chocolate shake with a grass-fed beef burger and baked sweet potato fries.
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 frozen bananas
cinnamon, to taste
cocoa to desired chocolateyness
1 Tbsp honey
ice cubes, to meet desired amount of thickness
Combine all ingredients in a Vitamix or high-powered blender. Blend until well combined. Pour into glasses and enjoy! Serves 2.