Being a mom of a young child is tiring, especially living as an expat who is learning the local language and without any help from the far-away extended families. Despite the challenges in life, I try to stay healthy for my family, which means I tried to exercise and cook nutritious meals as often as possible. I’ve been tuning into information and books on wellness for a while. I can’t help but notice that topics such as wellness, healthy eating, and detox of the body, etc. have been so popular nowadays, for a reason as same as mine, as we all want to stay strong and healthy, to enjoy the beauty of life.
Holistic, healthy living is such a big hit in western culture today. In Switzerland, you can find products labeled bio, organic, vegan, or gluten-free in just any supermarket. Every gym here is packed with sweating people, young and old. Like many others, finding ways to consume low carb, veggie-packed meals, plus going to the gym three times a week, made me feel good. It made me feel that I was in charge of my life, and everything’s under control.
Except it’s not. Something is missing from this health equation.
One evening, I was upset about something my husband did. I went to him and tried to talk to him about it. After spending some time explaining to him, he said to me: “ I’m sorry, I still don’t fully understand what you mean.” An angry feeling rose up inside and a thought suggesting, “He just didn’t want to understand me” came to mind and overtook me. I made a choice right then — a poor choice. I stood up and walked away in frustration.
If I had come to my senses and changed my attitude right after, things would have been much easier. The wisdom of “keeping short accounts” is something I yet to master. Long story short, I kept my bad attitude and let my heart stirred by the negative thoughts towards my husband, and eventually, something untrue and hurtful came out of my mouth. Even though we managed to reconcile at some level before we went to sleep that night, the pain caused by our communication didn’t resolve right away.
After a poor night’s sleep, I woke up in the morning feeling exhausted. My husband didn’t sleep well, either. He had to go to work, and I stayed at home with our son. I can’t tell you how miserable I felt that morning. My son was unhappy about the fact that I didn’t have enough energy to play with him. He was grumpy as I was lying on the floor, trying to get some rest. But not restful at all. After finally putting him down for a nap, I went to the kitchen and fed myself some sugary snacks to tried to cheer myself up a bit. I was unmotivated to make anything healthy that day. It was a day of tons of unhealthy snacks, deficient energy and anxiety, and feeling regret towards my husband and guilt to my son.
By the end of the day, I realized, all the effort I made to stay physically healthy through eating and exercising could be utterly defeated by the toxin of my mind! Just like the excessive refined sugar and starch or food that contains lead one may heedlessly choose for their diet, the judgment and ungraciousness towards my husband last night were the soul food I chose. It was toxic! Then it just contaminated my attitude and feeling until the hurtful words came out, bringing tangible damages in our relationships, my own heart, and junk food to my body, which made me feel even worse. A dead circle. This is not how I was designed to function and live. I need some detox of my mind and choose a different way!
I repented, to my Creator God, for not choosing the nutritious soul food — His kindness and love in the first place. I also asked Him for help, to grow in love and emotional maturity. I apologized to my husband, in a deeper, more vulnerable way, confessed my reckless, toxic choice in my speech. I was reminded of the tried and true ancient Hebrew saying: “The death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21)
Thus I learned, in a hard way, that I need to take care of my thoughts and my soul as much as I take care of my body. How foolish it is if I tried to stay healthy and cook healthy food for my family while hurting and undermining our relationships by chewing on toxic thoughts?
Treading on the trend of healthy living, I suggest adding the missing piece to the equation. For the sake of holistic health, let’s detox our thoughts and feed our soul some life-giving food of hope, love, and kindness.