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  • Writer's pictureJen Allee

Blog #17 Old Habits

When my son was two, he was diagnosed with a severe peanut and tree nut allergy. We were sternly warned to read every label and not allow him to eat anything made in a nut facility. When asked if he would outgrow the allergies, our doctor just chuckled.

“No way. He’s too severe.”

It was a tad overwhelming at first, but in time we adjusted. We learned to read labels, consult restaurant managers, and tote epi pens around. Cupcakes were always on hand for birthday parties and cookies were kept at school for class events.

At age five he had his second round of testing and reacted even stronger! We had yet to use the epi pen, so we were told to keep up our efforts, maintain our nut free lifestyle and come back when he was ten.

He turned ten last October, but honestly, I forgot about taking him to the allergist. We know the drill; life without nuts is how we roll. But he woke up last week with mysterious hives all over him and it prompted me to make an appointment. Had he developed new allergies?

We arrived at the office and the nurse, who didn’t know his current allergies, came in and pricked his back with 48 needles. She came back ten minutes later and matter-of-factly said, “Well, he is definitely allergic to dust mites!”

I said, “So nuts and dust mites?”

She said, “Nope. Just dust mites.”

Wait, what?!?!

I tried to explain to the nurse that he has a severe peanut/tree nut allergy. She just laughed and pointed to his back that was showing no reaction WHATSOEVER. The doctor came in, examined him and very calmly told me something rare had occurred. He had outgrown some strong, life altering allergies. He went on to say only ONE other child in his ENTIRE practice had every done this.

We were stunned.

We still have to confirm it with a can of assorted nuts in his office, but could we really not have to be a nut free family anymore??

As all of us in the office were reacting with smiles and looks of baffled joy, I caught a glimpse of my son. Several emotions were washing over his face at the same time.

Surprise, confusion and fear.

For as long as he can remember, he had been told nuts would kill him. They would cause his throat to swell and he wouldn’t be able to breathe. And, now after all these years, he is being asked to willingly put them in his body? And be excited about it?!

Old habits die hard.

And he has a habit of being afraid of nuts.

We deal with habits, too. We create them because we’ve been told to or assumed there was no other choice. We live with…

· insecurity because we have never known or had confidence modeled before us.

· bitterness because we can’t imagine ever forgiving that person.

· fear because we can’t fathom courage of that magnitude.

· control because we can’t trust anyone with something important.

But then something happens and our circumstances change. We taste of confidence, forgiveness, courage and trust, yet we still drift back to old ways of relating, reacting and responding. Why is that?

Old habits die hard.

Even when the habits no longer need to exist.

But what good is it to taste of a new way of living, yet not live into it? It is like getting a gift and never taking it out of the package. I am learning that having a change in circumstances is not enough. It requires great faith to alter how I live in regard to that change. I need confidence to treat my insecurities differently and courage to respond differently to fear!

It is not about overcoming one situation, relationship or issue. It is about creating new habits that move old habits into the foreground. That requires a daily, dependent dose of faith that has to come from Jesus. On my own, unfortunately, I will stick to the same old habits that lead to the same old results. Sigh.

We haven’t scheduled the PB&J party in his office yet. He is still nervous. And I get his fear. Is that test really accurate?? I feel it too, as his mom. We both need courage to live into a freedom that might be available.

Old habits definitely die hard, but I’m confident new ones are worth the effort.

Be Intentional

In what area are you ready to create a new habit? Ask Him to show you a specific step you can take today.

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