Healing autoimmune disease requires a holistic approach to nourish the body, mind, and spirit. Here’s how our faith and personal relationship with God has led (and continues to lead) us to autoimmune healing.
We are big fans of the question: “WHY?”
WHY are we big fans of this question? (Good question – 😉)
Because, when you think about it, asking yourself “Why?” over and over again helps you get to the root of just about anything – health or otherwise. You want to figure out what’s causing your autoimmune disease? Just keep asking why. For example:
You are just diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, and ask your doctor…
“Why do I have Hashimoto’s?”
“Because you have thyroid antibodies and your thyroid is being attacked.”
Most people stop here, and take the medication, and continue to feel like crap. But, if you take it one step further and ask…
“Why do I have thyroid antibodies?” ←That is where the magic is. You pull on that thread and you’ll find the answers you need to heal.
The answer to this question of WHY is also responsible for the driving motivation behind healing from autoimmune disease. If you have a wimpy answer to your Why, then you’re bound to fail at some point because the willpower game is only so strong.
Most autoimmune healing requires a complete overhaul of dietary and lifestyle habits, and you are constantly working against a world that doesn’t necessarily support those types of changes. You need a strong reason to push through the adversity.
Sometimes, your Why will evolve over time and become stronger as you learn and grow. That is exactly what happened to us.
What started off as just a simple will to feel better has now grown into the ULTIMATE Why – the unfailing reason behind why we live the way we live and do what we do, and I’m here to share it with you.
We share much of our path to autoimmune healing on this blog, and we’d be missing the most important part if we left this out. Please remember this is very personal and unique to us, as many others may find that their faith impacts their autoimmune healing differently.
So without further ado…
How Our Faith and Relationship with God Drives Autoimmune Healing
“The First Principle and Foundation teaches that we’re made to live the ‘first thing’ (a life of praise, reverence, and service to God) by using ‘second things’ (the other things on the face of the earth) only insofar as they help us to live the first thing. Not only that, it teaches that if a second thing becomes an obstacle to living out the first thing, then we should rid ourselves of it. To find the right balance between this ‘using’ and ‘ridding,’ Ignatius says, “We must make ourselves indifferent to all created things.”
In this excerpt from Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Fr. Michael Gaitley is referring to the The First Principle and Foundation of the early Jesuits, which he calls the secret to their zeal.
Upon our personal conversions/re-conversions to our Christian and Catholic faith, this First Principle and Foundation played a huge role in our quest for autoimmune healing. Not only did we want to feel better (because feeling like crap sucks), but we also felt we could provide more service to God if our bodies and minds were functioning at their best.
I’m not saying it’s not possible to serve God when you are ill. You most certainly can. It’s just a lot easier when you feel well and can think clearly and aren’t sleeping for 12-16 hours a day.
So, while there is no guarantee of healing, we knew we at least had to try. I could only imagine Jesus asking us why we didn’t try, if not for us, then for him. And you might be thinking, “Jesus does the healing.”, and my reply would be “Yes he, does.” But sometimes he does that through the path he offers us, and if we don’t choose that path, we might never find healing at all.
Thus started the purge of those “second things” from our life.
Our relationship with God helped us to LET GO of our attachments to all the things that made us sick, because we were no longer focusing on just ourselves, but on him.
We evaluated all things through the “indifferent” lens and faced the (sometimes harsh) reality that some of the things we clung to were either making us sick, or were keeping us from living for Jesus rather than ourselves.
Junk and inflammatory food. Toxic relationships. Social media. TV. Love for money. Stuff of all kinds.
Our faith helped (and still continues to help) us let go of our attachments to these things and allowed us to see them for what they are.
- Food is nutrition and the fuel for our body, nothing more, nothing less, freeing us from food addictions. This also came with the realization that God provided us food since the beginning of time – real, whole foods that come from the earth and they are delicious and nutrient-dense.
- “Stuff” is just that – stuff, and therefore we embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle (i.e. less stuff).
- Technology is helpful, but is not beautiful so we shouldn’t stare at it all day. God’s creations, however, ARE beautiful and that’s where we decide to immerse ourselves instead.
This quest to let go of all “second things” led us down a path of purging, which only strengthened our faith and love for God. And now, years later, there is no way to encompass just how faith impacts our daily lives and autoimmune healing, but I will try to sum it up…
How Our Faith in God Leads Us to Continuous Healing
1. God is a God of LOVE.
Faith allows us to see that God is the most intelligent, divine and loving creator. Our bodies are one of his most awesome gifts to us. Think about it – think about all the things that our human bodies can do. It’s nothing short of amazing.
- Human breastmilk CHANGES its composition to meet the individual needs of the baby the mother is nursing.
- Our eyes can distinguish over more than a MILLION different colors.
- The liver can literally regenerate itself even if 2/3 of it is missing, and it can do that sometimes within 1-2 weeks.
- The body can heal a BROKEN bone. Just mend it right up. Sometimes stronger than before.
(For more amazing things, see this list which only captures a tiny portion.)
And you know what those last 2 things prove?
It proves, without a doubt, that God designed our bodies to heal. It is one of the greatest gifts, and when you start to see your body in his light, you begin to understand just how awesome of a gift he gave us.
Even the things we hate the most about autoimmune disease (symptoms) are the gift we need to know that something is wrong. Can you imagine if we didn’t have those? Can you imagine if our body was destroying itself without us knowing until it was too late?
So, considering he gave us the ability to know something is wrong AND also the ability to heal, you have to wonder… did he also give us the tools we need, too?
2. God provides us everything we need to heal.
Food. Water. Nature. Sleep. Fasting. Rest & relaxation (Sabbath).
What we find now is that the majority of people, to find true healing, will resort to many, if not all of these things in some form. What many people call “alternative” medicine isn’t alternative at all. It’s really just going back to using what God intended us to use.
This realization led us down the path to discover some of the more life-changing treatments we’ve used for reversing our autoimmune issues like homeopathy, food, herbs, grounding, CBD oil, nontoxic products, etc.
Because our medicines are provided by God and many, if not most, come from the earth, we’ve taken on an entirely new perspective on what it means to be stewards of the earth, which inspired our Christian Hippie post.
But, despite all of these gifts he’s given us, there’s still the reality of suffering. Some of us will find complete healing, others partial healing, and some may find nothing at all. That is the reality of the world in which we live, and it is hard to grasp especially on the bad days.
We are all bound to have bad days.
So what part of our faith gets us through those?
3. God gives us eternal life.
There’s a quote from St. Therese of Lisieux hanging in our living room. It says… “The world is thy ship, not thy home.”
I love this quote, and strategically placed in a heavy traffic area. Visitors read it and you watch them ponder… what does that mean?
This world is like the womb… we spend just a short time in it, and don’t want to leave out of fear of the unknown, until we are born and see that the other side is beautiful.
We take comfort in knowing that Jesus is waiting for us on the other side. When we get there, we want our Lord and Savior to say “Well done my good and faithful servant,” so we can spend eternity with Him with no more suffering, no more pain, and no more autoimmunity.
He gives us crosses to bare here on earth, and we are to fulfill his mission for us, but what he has waiting for us on the other side is so beautiful, I don’t think we can even fathom. We will never want to go back to our world here.
So despite our bad days (and boy do we have some bad ones), we just keep going. Not for us. But for him. For our kids. For fulfilling whatever it is he placed us on this earth to do.
Because of these 3 things, God is at the center of our autoimmune healing.
And because reversing autoimmune disease is a holistic process that touches every aspect of our lives, he is also at the center of our lives. There are so many places we could get stuck, but as long as we stay close to Him, then everything seems to fall into place.
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits. Consider me, and my husband, Frank, your autoimmune disease health coaches. Are you ready?!