P R E S E R V E D: New strategies for old battles

By Shewanda Riley

RileyI consider myself an experienced warrior in the fight against allergies. Having suffered from allergic reactions to pollen, dog and cat hair, ragweed, etc. since I was in elementary school, I’ve gotten accustomed to sneezing, coughing and blowing my nose throughout the spring
and summer months.

However, last year I switched to a plant based diet and the most amazing thing happened: I went through the shifts from fall, winter and spring seasons without one sinus infection, upper respiratory challenge or case of the sniffles. Having experienced at least one and, in some cases, all of these yearly for the last 30 years, I was ecstatic.

Because of my body responding so positively to the “clean” diet, I was even able to stop taking my daily allergy medicine altogether.

However, even though I’m currently not dealing with any allergy symptoms, I can still feel the changes in the season. Previously, I was able to sense the change in seasons based on how my body responded to things that were in the air. Even though allergy symptoms frustrated me, I actually came to see them as a good sign.

For example, allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes are our bodies’ ways of protecting us from the “invaders” as some like to call allergy triggers like dust, pollen or pet hair. Even though we don’t see them, our bodies’ responses let us know that the allergy triggers are there.

Allergies also are an unhealthy overreaction to things that are a part of our normal lives. Allergies warn us much like the Spirit of God.
My past allergy fights remind me of how we sometimes fight against the Spirit of God. Manyof us have had the experience of walking into a place where we instantly didn’t feel comfortable.

That funny feeling, regardless of what we saw with our own eyes, was God communicating to us. These awkward moments are often God’s way of protecting us from things, people and places that mean us no good.

I Corinthians 2:9-11 says, “However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit
of God.”

Spiritual discernment will often let us know the heart of God concerning changes in our lives. Some of these changes are ones that we spent many nights praying for. However, some of us overreact to the Spirit of God (and fight the change) or worse, ignore what we sense but don’t know how to respond to. One of the best lessons we can learn is to trust and willingly submit to the Spirit of God.

Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends.” Email her at preservedbypurpose@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.

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