Dietary Restriction

We recently learned that our daughter is lactose intolerant. Let me tell you, I had no idea how hard a dietary restriction was on a four-year-old.

The first week, I felt like I had to make her “a special” meal for every meal… apparently I overuse dairy in my kitchen. Luckily, she was a champ and thought making a special spaghetti was pretty cool…  

I made some adjustments in the kitchen, gathered some dairy-free snacks, and life seems to be moving smoothly…

Until we are out in public and someone offers my kids a treat. Chocolate, cookies, muffins, donuts, cheesy crackers… guess what they all contain- dairy…

Even when they do try to accommodate (and I really do appreciate it), she still feels cheated… I can’t really blame her. What kid wants to eat pretzels while her sister is eating a chocolate chip cookie???

My poor daughter doesn’t understand. She knows she can’t have dairy. But she really wants it. She knows a belly ache is coming if she eats it, but she still really contemplates it.

The world does not really care about her needs. It’s a fact- she can’t have dairy. Yet, everywhere she goes, people will be eating dairy products. I will continue to be the “mean-mom” who tells her she can’t have it, while allowing her siblings to have some. I know it doesn’t seem fair, but they don’t have the same needs. 

There are many people who are just now learning about her dietary needs and trying to accommodate. They are looking for treats she can have and offering them instead. I know as more and more people come alongside her and understand her dietary needs, it will be easier. But the world will still offer diary… a lot…

dietary restriction

I have definitely felt like my daughter during some of spiritual pruning.  Sometimes I know the area God is working on me, and I am striving to align my will with His. But then I see other Christians doing the same thing God is leading me to NOT do.

It doesn’t seem fair. It doesn’t seem right? Why is God choosing to convict me of gossip while the ladies in the front of the church are sharing not so great information about another member of the church? Why is God convicting me of my love of food, yet every gathering has an unlimited supply of junk food.

The world doesn’t care about our convictions. The world cares about themselves. Knowing this, we can go out in the world prepared to battle that sin.  But it feels different within our Christian circles. We are following the same God, who is a personal God, yet works on us each individually.

The truth is life is not about other people. It’s about God!  The Holy Spirit is leading you in this way so that you can grow closer to God. Your job is not to understand but to submit.  

You have no idea what God’s plan is. Maybe your conviction will change your behavior and help spread His light. Maybe you will help inspire a conviction of other people. Or maybe you will be the safe person that this person can turn to once the Holy Spirit reveals a similar sin to them.

Instead of thinking it’s unfair, pray. Sanctification is not meant to be fair; it’s meant to be personal.  Pray for the strength to overcome this sin. Remember to keep your eyes on the Lord. You cannot ask a neighbor to remove their speck while having a log in your eye. My relationship with God is between God and me. God is completing a good work in you and is faithful to carry it out to completion. 

Guess what? He’s doing the same thing in every believer’s life. It’s our job to love other Christians, walk beside them, and help them in their walk. Remember your convictions are your convictions. Share those convictions, but do not push them. It’s not your job to change another person, that’s God’s work. Clean up your own spiritual diet and allow God to do what only God can do.

We all have a spiritual diet. What we fill our hearts with is very important. Use those spiritual disciplines and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Read you Bible. Pray. Meditate. Yes, even if that means waking up early or staying up late. Find a time. Do it.

Gather for fellowship. We have a very real need to be surrounded by like minded people. Iron sharpens iron.  

Share your testimony. Share your God moments! Share your struggles.

When God first called me to share my testimony. I straight up told Him I don’t want to. I cried wondering what people would think. I cried knowing just how hard it would be to share the pain I have endured.

Then God showed me the Garden of Gethsemane. Guess what? Jesus didn’t want to do it either. He begged His Father to let this cup pass. But He submitted, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”  

I, too, submitted. I learned that sharing my testimony may help others. But really, it’s helping me. It’s showing me just how active God is in my life. It’s helping me recognize His activity. It’s helping me leave the old life behind and embrace the sanctification process.  It’s helping me be open in all areas of my life. Yes, being open about my shortcomings, struggles, and faith has also helped some other people do the same. But really, this was about obedience and growing closer to God. Not just about helping others. 

Share your testimony. Share how God is active in your life. Someone else may see their new convictions as a “dietary restriction” and needs to see you holding your head high walking with the Lord. They need to know they are not alone.