I am sitting here drinking my after-dinner detox tea. I also call it my “hippie” tea. It’s got burdock root and dandelion fuzz and probably some sort of ground-up insect. It’s not terrible tasting if you put enough honey and lemon in it, and it obviously does what it’s supposed to do.  This stuff is good- it helps my liver and kidneys clean out all the toxins that build up in my body that keep things from working as well as they should.

With each sip I’m reflecting proudly on this good thing I am doing for my body. But I am also thinking about how I wish that there was a fix for detoxing my spirit that were as easy as sipping a cup of tea.

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If you’ve followed my blog (or my life) you know that I battle an autoimmune (AI) disease that has a pretty big impact on my day-to-day life. It takes a lot of management, a delicate balance of not eating the wrong foods, taking the right supplements, getting enough rest and exercise, avoiding stress and drinking hippie tea.  Along with the physical toll, there is a lot of emotional damage that this AI disease can create in in my life as well- like broken relationships, unresolved anger, bitterness, anxiety, a sense of lingering sadness, social isolation, etc.

This disease makes grieving over the loss of loved ones more difficult, it can leave me feeling lonely, misunderstood, alienated, and unwanted. The constant confusion over what is happening in my mind and body is mentally and emotionally exhausting, and honestly, even the most empathetic therapist can’t come close to understanding what I experience every single day.  All this heaviness in my soul, and it often feels that I have no choice but to carry it all alone.  Depressed yet? Hang on, things get better!

I have gone through many years with this disease, and I think the question I battled the longest was, “What is my purpose in life?” I thought for many years that God gave me this disease to knock me out of commission, that this diagnosis was a death sentence. But then, strangely enough, I didn’t die yet!

Life can be difficult though. Often it is all I can do to get up, get to work, do my job with a smile plastered on my face, and manage my diet, supplements and exercise. But there has to be more- something outside of myself, some way that, despite the pain, the depression, the weariness, I can honor my Creator, and maybe make this world a better place.

Searching for that purpose requires me to focus on the good things I do have in my life that I can use to bring about good in this world. It requires me to look beyond myself when I feel my worst and channel those toxic feelings through what I call an emotional recycling process- taking what could be my undoing and turning it into something that can be considered a gift and a blessing- turning toxins into treasures as I yield myself completely to the Lord.

I started with the tiniest of steps; and you know, sometimes tiny steps are still all I can manage. It’s not nearly as easy as sipping a cup of tea, but every step brings me closer to a new goal and makes me stronger emotionally.

See, we all have a purpose. Every single one of us. And we all have our battles to fight- those battles that often feel like we can’t ever win. But I encourage you, when you feel ready to just absolutely give up, don’t! Find a role model, find your inner strength, take those tiny steps and be okay with the smallness of them- because those tiny steps will add up over the long run. Even if you have to do it all alone, do it!

Not one single person is here to merely manage our “symptoms” until the Lord takes us home- we are here to daily be His light in this world, to delight in Him. And no matter what enemies or weapons come against us, we can rest in the truth that He is greater. He will accomplish what He set out to do when He created each one of us.

So when your soul needs detoxing, be encouraged, be strong, and get busy recycling those toxins- give them to the Lord and watch Him turn them into treasures.