Allergens

From mid-May to mid-July, I stand among those who endure the seasonal affliction of allergies. I think grass is the culprit. Our grass seems to grow most aggressively the same time my allergies are most active. I should do better to avoid the grass, but considering it surrounds my house like a regenerating green army, I think I’m stuck.

Allergies are a funny affliction, and no, not in the “ha ha” way. They simply are unnecessary. Technically, an allergic reaction is really an over-reaction by your body to external stimuli. This occurs when a  person’s immune system reacts negatively to normally harmless substances in the environment. There can be very little warning whenever this happens. According to Wikipedia, “this reaction results in an inflammatory response which can range from uncomfortable to dangerous”.

Fortunately for me, it was never dangerous, but it was annoying. And much worse when I was a kid. I remember waking up in the morning with my eyes glued shut because of the puss that came out and dried during the night. There were times I had to stay inside because my eyes almost swelled shut. I would endure long sneezing sessions, and the roof of my mouth would be incredibly itchy with little relief. There is a commercial for one of the allergy remedies where a guy breaks off a prong from his rake in desperation and furiously scrapes the roof of his mouth. I know exactly how that feels. They captured that feeling perfectly.

Allergies are so unnecessary! The body over-reacts to something that is not a genuine harm or threat, and yet it responds as if there is. And so it can profoundly affect the day-to-day life of a person, especially the ability to enjoy the outdoors. It affects social interaction, sleeping, exercise, work, play, etc. Some people react severely to allergens, whether it be nature, food, fragrances or animals. Ironic isn’t it? The reaction to a perceived threat is actually much worse and far more damaging than the allergen itself.

Worry and anxiety affects our lives the same way. Often it is not tied to a genuine concern or threat. Rather, anxiety is an intangible, vague fear about a possible outcome, in an imagined scenario, with unlikely results. This kind of fear slowly eats away at our defences, until it affects how we think and live. It can have profound effects on us physically, emotionally and spiritually. And yet, like allergens, anxiety is so unnecessary! It is often based in a false reality, not rooted in what is true. If only there was a spiritual remedy for this affliction!

The biblical book of Hebrews speaks a lot about fear, and what God’s response is for us. The writer gets to a point in their life where they could say,

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,

“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”

So we can say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper,
so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-7 (NLT)

Did you notice the parts in quotations?  The writer of Hebrews is quoting scripture. The first reference is Deuteronomy 31:6,8 and the second is Psalm 118:6. Scripture is useful and helpful to us when we deal with fear, or anything else. It reminds us who God is, and where He is in our lives. It builds faith in us to live as Jesus would live. Think of scripture as a kind of spiritual allergy pill!

Every morning in early summer, I take a daily antihistamine. This little drug blocks the receptors in the body that react to allergens. For example, pollen molecules will enter the body and attach itself to these receptors, which then sound an alarm to the immune system that there are intruders. The body will then react to flush out the intruders, which is why our eyes run, nose runs, triggering sneezes, itchy skin, etc. What the antihistamine does is get to the receptors first, and are designed to take that spot and block it, so the pollen molecules just keep floating by.

Truth behaves like an antihistamine in our minds. If we have already inoculated our thinking with truth, when anxious thoughts and lies come our way, there will be no place them them to land and take root.

So, fill your lives with what is true, get out there and enjoy life just as God intended!

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