Time for a Paradigm Shift?

milkFood Substitutions

Because of a dairy allergy, coconut milk substitutes for cow’s milk. Because of a gluten intolerance, rice-based products substitute for those made with wheat flour.

“That’s got to be hard,” many people say to me. “No, it’s really not,” I respond. “I’m used to it.”

But the comment always reminds me of the beginning of the journey when I constantly felt frustrated. I looked at store shelves and even my own cupboards and saw only what I couldn’t eat.

Over the past five years, my paradigm regarding food shifted dramatically. Through this process, God also taught me more about Himself.

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” (Qui-Gon to Anakin, Star Wars, The Phantom Menace)

cookiesAfter diagnosis of a food allergy & several sensitivities, I slowly adjusted my eating habits. My attention now goes to what I can eat, and I think little about what’s not on my menu anymore. When I focused on what I couldn’t eat, I felt deprived. When I focused on what I could have, I discovered new and enjoyable experiences.

In the Christian life, focusing on what God offers brings exciting and eternally beneficial experiences well beyond anything the world offers. What you “can’t” have no longer becomes what you want.

“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)

Ice creamIf I eat dairy or gluten, my digestion immediately slows almost to a stop. If I keep eating them, my body fails to get needed nutrients, and eventually adrenal fatigue and depression set in along with other unpleasant reactions. The consequences range from immediate and uncomfortable to severe and debilitating. I must live with a zero-tolerance policy regarding gluten and dairy.

I must also have zero-tolerance in certain areas of my spiritual life if I want to remain spiritually healthy. Days need to begin with prayer. Regular fellowship and worship need to exist. Bible study must happen frequently & regularly. Compromising in any of these areas leads to consequences that are devastating.

“Simply the thing I am shall make me live.” (William Shakespeare)

Upon first discovery of my food allergy and sensitivities, I felt like my life was horribly complicated. I struggled to figure out what I could and could not eat and felt not only like a burden when eating with others but an outsider as well.

Now I realize my diet simplifies my life and makes me healthier because most unhealthy foods filling so many dinner tables don’t find their way into my house much. Restaurant choices are limited (cross-contamination), but these limitations also simplify choices and save time. Once I accepted myself physically with regard to food limitations, I realized that simplicity was a gift that helped me and my family lead healthier lives.

As I learn to accept who I am spiritually, my life becomes simpler and more focused. Instead of wishing I was someone else with different gifts, talents and abilities, I find peace and contentment with who I am. Accepting myself as God created me is having wide-reaching impact on my life.

“[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

The integration of so many substitutions into my life also leads me to be more aware of the life-giving power that substitutions can have. After all, they created a healthier me than has ever existed.

The biggest truth that these substitutions bring to light for me involves the substition of Jesus for my sins, for everyone’s sins. No, I don’t think of this every time I make a food substitution, but I do think of it often, especially when I reflect on the journey my health and eating have taken over the past five years.

The connection between my eating and spiritual journeys exists as one of the major reasons I truly believe God wants to be in every detail of our lives. He also wants to use every detail to shape spiritual paradigms too.

DISCUSSION: How has God used a situation or journey in your life to make a paradigm shift?

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14 Replies to “Time for a Paradigm Shift?”

  1. Great thoughts. Embrace our strengths and overcome or adapt to our weaknesses. One cannot focus upon just one without hurting yourself because of the other. If you only try to build up our weaknesses our strengths suffer; and if we focus only on our strengths our weaknesses still expose us to danger. That is one reason teamwork helps in our relationships in life as well. Complementary connections make for strong mutual relationships.

    1. Balance is definitely important. And you\’re so right about teamwork & complementary relationships playing a role in that balancing of our strengths and weaknesses. Great point!

  2. Love the application Kari. how many times do I want to be healthy physically while still putting in undesirable food into my system? And how many times do I do that spiritually as well? Thanks for the perspective also of not brooding over what you can't have but enjoying what you can.
    My recent post Disappointment

    1. Garbage in, garbage our, right? The opposite is also true. Scripture so many times instructs us by basically saying, \”get rid of the bad & put in good.\” Oversimplification, I realize, but it helps me tremendously. God has given us so many good things to enjoy. Let\’s not waste those gifts! Thanks, Bill.

  3. It's always about focus and attitude isn't it? I share your food struggles. I don't know if I can call them allergies in my case, but I certainly know my body isn't happy if I eat things like baked goods and pasta. I love your analogy. It's like the difference between "get to" and "have to." Blessings!
    My recent post 12 Qualities of a True Friend

  4. I do feel bad both physically and mentally when I over eat or eat things I should not and the same is true spiritually that I feel bad when I do those things I know hurt my spiritual well being. To treat both the physical and spiritual the best I can results in peace for my soul. When I do not my soul is in turmoil because I know I am my worst enemy and on one can do the damage to me that I can not out do myself.

    1. Great point. When we don't take care of ourselves physically and spiritually, we become increasingly vulnerable not just to our ourselves but to the scheming of others as well as the evil one himself. As we'll get at more in our August focus, we owe it to God to be our best selves physically in order to be able to be our best spiritually. They are a partnership, a team if you will.

  5. Excellent connection here between your diet and the paradigm shift we must make in our lives as a whole. I struggled for many years with my mindset, comparing myself to everyone in a negative way. It wasn't until a few years ago that my mindset began to change in a time when I was exploring how God had uniquely gifted me.

    I learned that the things we are passionate about and that come naturally to us are often a struggle for others. In fact, they come so easily to us that we dismiss their value. Prior to this, I had downplayed my skills in video production, writing, photography, etc. because they just came naturally. When I recognized that not everyone has those skill sets, my paradigm shifted completely.
    My recent post How to Lead in a Passive Culture, Part 1

    1. Thanks, Chris. Oooh, comparisons do take us to a very dangerous place if we let them. When we look at each other as integral parts of a the whole body and we realize the necessity for each part, we can not only better appreciate what others have to offer, but what we ourselves bring to the picture as well. We are all unique masterpieces created by God, and to diminish the giftings He gave us is to diminish the value He places on us. Having the level of self-awareness that you express here, Chris, is so importance. It allows you to appreciate each masterpiece, yourself included, more through God's perspective rather than through your own thinking. Thanks for sharing this. I think you're struggle is a common one that many people can relate to, myself included.

  6. “Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” Love this quote. Love the way you approach this topic Kari. My battle right now is this issue of food, not being allergic to any of it but just bad eating habits. I am reading a book titles, We were made to Crave…interesting and very revealing and absolutely the right timing for me. To have over come so many strongholds in my life and now to let this issue of food become my focus. Great post, will probably copy this one for future use. God is pouring good stuff through you…truth that speaks loudly…keep it up. We…no I need it.
    My recent post I Will Praise Him

    1. You are not alone in this battle, Betty. You have the Spirit of God working in and through you to know the mind of Christ and to allow you to overcome the desires of your flesh. God's timing is amazing for sure, and I battle with not pushing my own timing and getting ahead of God. That never works out well. Thank you for the encouragement too. I need it!

  7. I have so many areas I could point to, but I think one of the biggest would be through our adoptions. And our domestic adoption and international adoption brought different shift in paradigm on how the Father sees us and reveals Himself to us. Good thoughts here, Kari. Thank you.

    1. Great example! The adoption of our youngest changed (and is still changing) our thinking in many, many ways. In fact, I've written about it before on this site. Thanks, Jason.

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