2008-12-22 - The True Me?
There had to be some mistake. I could not take my eyes off the test results. A recent allergy test concluded that I am allergic to 15 foods and various environmental conditions. Some foods I would gladly give up, like brussel sprouts and spinach. Others, like wheat and dairy, would prove more difficult. Not only was I diagnosed with allergies to several fruits, grains, and vegetables; the tests showed I was also allergic to dust and a variety of trees and grasses. I didn't have any apparent reactions to the triggering foods, and only occasionally had sneezing fits with the other items. I admit I didn't immediately count the news good, or leap with delight, as we're instructed to do in James 1:2-3.
James 1:2-3 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (NIV)
In fact, I questioned my Heavenly father. Why was this happening to me? Where was God when I needed Him? He could have warned me. This was not what I envisioned for my life. How could God allow this to happen, and what purpose did it serve?
The Power of Acceptance
After learning of my allergies, I experienced times of mourning. I was not wearing any dark-colored clothing, nor was I receiving any sympathy cards - but I was brokenhearted. I was grieving the former freedoms I had before the results of my allergy tests. I was mourning the fact that life would require more sacrifice and more effort. I found it easy to resent people who could eat at any restaurant, enjoy the outdoors, or could forgo frequent house cleaning. I struggled with creating ways to make sandwiches without bread. I had to explain to friends why I could not meet them at a certain restaurant, and had to bring my own food, if invited to a family member's home for a meal. I was focusing on the inconveniences, instead of being thankful that I did not suffer severe or life-threatening allergic reactions. I was giving food too much control, which led to more resentment and attention to myself, instead of viewing my allergies with holy eyes.
I began to research hidden allergenic ingredients in foods, and tried - although at times failed - to limit my time outdoors and make a more conscious effort to clean and dust.
In time, an unexplainable peace came over me that it's okay that my curious, limited, and human mind couldn't comprehend the "whys." I just had to concern myself with the "what now." I knew God, my Creator, was concerned with what happened to me. He does not allow His children to stumble or fall. (Psalm 37:23-24) Even if I have to suffer with these allergies the rest of my Earthly existence, I am determined to not let the condition define who I am. As a child of God, I am more than what I eat, and what I breathe in and out.
What are you willing to sacrifice? Has there been something you had to let go of recently? Was it easy or difficult? Try to think of ways to use your experience to help others battling the same issue.
The author welcomes comments or questions on this devotional article.w