If we’ve ever shared a meal, which i hope we have, one of the first things you’ll learn about me is that I have food allergies. The past 4 or so years has been a continual battle of eliminating foods, minimizing interactions with environmental allergens, and lots of trial or error. And I’m up to about a dozen or so various allergies.
There’s never a day when I’m not aware of my various allergies. I read the labels and ingredients of most everything that I eat or products I put on my body. I have the pollen count sent to my email and I’ve woken up to swollen eyes 3 times this month.
Even so, I tend to downplay my food allergies. I apologize to waitresses for my completely custom orders. I let friends off the hook when they forget that pizza is basically the epitome of Satan to this dairy free, gluten free, tomato sauce sensitive person.
But recently, and I do mean very recently (like 2 days ago), I had what I would call my day of epiphanies. Suddenly, everything was starting to make sense in a spiritual way. I began to think of my many allergies as blessings because of the many lessons they’ve taught me.
- Boundaries. One of the greatest lesson I’ve learned is how to set boundaries for myself. I say no to the pasta because I know it’s not good for me. This closely correlates to my life right now as I learn to set boundaries with people and technology, in order to make physical and spiritual rest a rhythm in my life.
- Actions Have Consequences. I don’t always abide by my allergies. Sometimes I eat the kale, I play soccer in the grass, and I eat the almonds…and I almost always have some type of reaction. Allergies give clear consequences to clear decisions. This is a helpful guiding principle because sometimes daily choices of intimacy or distance with God do not produce results that are as immediate, but the consequences remain nonetheless.
- Idols Come In Many Forms. I love food! I always have and I probably always will. Good food can certainly change my mood. Consequently, not getting to eat really good food can negatively affect my mood. Food allergies caused me to submit what I love back to the Lord and use it as a tool to make me better, rather than a source of emotional dependence. My food allergies have showed me that food should make me healthier and keep my body working properly. Food is good and food in its right place can be glorifying to God.
- What Love Looks Like. If acknowledging food allergies is a love language, I would be a 10/10. Love is a friend making rice instead of having rolls. It’s your entire family eating GF meals so that you can enjoy it too. And it’s the friend that talks you out of partaking in the free pizza (instead of into it). Every time that someone sacrifices their comfort for me, it is like an affirmation from my Father in heaven that I am seen and known and loved.
- I Matter. It’s simple, yet so profound. I’m allowed to feel a bit left out when I show up to a party and there’s nothing for me to eat. I can ask that people not diffuse lavender essential oil because the smell makes me sick. I don’t have to be okay with the candle scent that makes me itchy all over. I matter, and not just because I take up space, but because God knitted me together and these allergies come with the package.
All in all, I’m realizing that even allergies work together for my good.
And God is for me.
**Forgive me if I still have the occasional bite of cobbler or pie. It’s a process and I’m still learning.