Stop the Pendulum Before I Throw Up!

My most dreadful amusement park ride experience came at the hands of "The Pirate." The Pirate is a big boat that swings back and forth like a pendulum. I have only ridden on it once. On that one day I lost about $.87 in change, my Polish Sausage Dog (post digestion), and my wits. I can hang with any roller coaster, but the Pirate got the best of me.

My spiritual life can be likened to a pendulum. It swings back and forth, from one extreme to the other. I have been way Baptist or not at all; way charismatic or not at all; I am not sure why I have to be all one way or all the other. I have not yet achieved balance, and I think I know why.

I have what I will call, "Spiritual ADHD." Let me explain what I mean.

I have a stepchild with ADHD. I used to believe that there was no such thing. I believed that ADHD kids just lacked discipline, boundaries, and consequences. After living with Matt, I am coming around in my beliefs. Discipline, etc. can help, but even still, simple commands such as, "Be quiet,""Sit down," or "Eat your dinner" seem to not register at times. The ADHD child's brain activity is so busy that they are unable tro process instructions as quickly. Without his medication, Matt is nearly impossible to handle. One time we forgot to give him his medicine before school, and within 45 minutes his teacher was calling for us to bring him his medicine. I am happy to say that with Matt, there are more good days than bad.

However, I must confess that for awhile I thought he was put on this earth to give me grief, or that I was being punished for something I had done in my life by having to deal with a stepson with ADHD. What I have since realized is that Matt was not put in my life and family to challenge me, but to mirror me. God has used Matt to show me a picture of my walk with God. I have Spiritual ADHD.

Even the simplest instructions like, "Pray," "Give," "Read the Bible," or, "Be still and know" are having a hard time registering, and they have for many years. It is why I swing back and forth on the spiritual pendulum. I have a hard time paying attention to the little things God is doing in my life, so I run after the big things. When I fall flat on my back, I get up and run in the other direction. Back and forth...

I don't know of any medication per se that will help my little problem, save for a renewed determination to yield to Him every minute of every day. Better study practices with the Bible may help, too. What has really helped me is the realization that God doesn't expect me to be perfect. He accepts me as I am. It has taken me awhile, but I have accepted Matt as my child. He is not all ADHD. He makes excellent grades in school, and has natural athletic ability unlike anything I've ever seen. He looks with pure wonder and awe at things in his world that I do not give a second glance to. He sees amazing in the mundane. When did I stop doing that? Did I ever start?

It is amazing how God uses the things we least expect or fear the most to give us spiritual wake up calls. For me, 2006 will be the year that I achieve balance in all the areas of my life: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and financial. Only I am in no hurry, and I am going to acheive this one day at a time.


ADHD is hard for people to grasp. Many people take for granted that someone can sit still and pay attention, or aren't trying to cause problems. This was something that caused me to butt heads with my previous employer. Their thinking being, "If you have ADD then you probably can't do the job." Here's the irony, people with ADD tend to be smarter and more creative than the average person, but because they can't sit still and focus it makes it difficult for those gifts to come out. Now through creating systems, having certain routines, etc. it makes it possible to do this. Sometimes it's just a matter of getting away, saying I'm going to do it, and finding a way to stick to it. I don't pray verbally, but through a paper and pen, as well as using one when I read scripture. That's what works for me anyway.
Todd said…
I have always held that it is not how you pray that matters, just that you do!

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