Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Allergies of the Soul

I do enjoy spring.  I feel such hope and promise during this season.  I am captivated by the myriad of colors appearing all over the ground.  I am fascinated by the process of the changing and growing leaves, by the cycle of buds turning to flowers turning to fruit.  Spring is simply beautiful to behold.  However, if you are at all like me, spring is one of the most uncomfortable, exhausting, and sometimes painful times of the year.
From the time I was a little girl, I have dealt with seasonal allergies.  The flowers start to bloom, and I start to sneeze.  The trees begin to blossom, and I begin to swell up.  The grass begins to grow, and I break out into hives.  I have taken every medication under the sun, taken allergy shots, purchased air filters, and considered moving into a giant plastic bubble.  I cannot stand the way my allergies make me feel...I am itchy, coughy, sneezy, dopey and a plethora of other symptoms that sound like Snow White's friends. 
This started me thinking of the paradox of spring.  I want to be a part of nature during this beautiful, transitional time.  I want to walk along mountain paths and soak in the majesty of creation.  I want to "stop and smell the roses".  But, this green growth that pops up out of the ground causes major physical reaction in me.  In order to be a part of the world I love, I can take some precautionary actions, like taking medicine and packing lots of tissues.  I can determine whether the risk of physical discomfort is worth being an active part in God's creation.
Spiritually, we all deal with these allergies of the soul.  Anytime there is new growth in our walk, there is the chance of discomfort or possibly pain.  When we take on a challenge from the pastor, when we begin to serve in a new ministry, when we participate in a new Bible study, when we purpose in our heart to grow closer to the Lord, we very well might experience some allergic reactions.  Satan seeks to break us down, and when we step up and answer the call of God, the Enemy is going to come at us with everything he has.  We might start to feel anxious about serving, fearful of branching out, spiritually insufficient or inadequate.  But, these "allergic reactions" are not from God.  The Bible says that "we have not been given the spirit of fear, but that of power" (2 Timothy 4:7).  Those reactions are not God-ordained, they are meant as a way to distract and defeat.  Thankfully, God has given us the medicine we need to combat these allergies.  God has given us the gift of prayer where we can openly share our hearts, needs, fears, and desires with Him.  Then, He's blessed us with His Word where we can search for answers to our questions.  He has blessed us with a country where there is a house of worship on almost every corner.  Church is a wonderful place to find help and support, to learn, to share, and to grow.  And, if you are as blessed as I am, God has given us Godly friends who pass the tissues in the midst of a spiritual sneezing fit.  It is important for us to remember that for growth to happen, for change to come, and for beauty to appear, there will be discomfort.  But, He promises us help for the journey and the perfect medicine to get rid of those pesky allergies.  So, to you I say, BLESS YOU!

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