“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
As many of you may already know, this semester has been a rough one for Sarah and I financially, even as we grow in our relationship to God and draw closer to Him through Jesus Christ. We had a loss of income shortly before discovering we would need to pay for this semester out of pocket. We have had a rough go, but God has been faithful and true!
Last month I made a post proclaiming how God provided for us through an anonymous donation to my student funds. This month, He worked in a way only an omnipotent and omniscient Being could!
So I got paid on Friday, and Sarah and I had calculated out how much I’d be making after taxes, and planned our finances around that. We paid some bills and got essentials accordingly, but when we got my check, it was $75 shorter than it should have been.
We were devastated and shocked, not knowing what happened or what we would do with rent looming over us. We noticed there was an extra amount of money missing on my paystub under a WGA title.
After talking to my boss, and him getting ahold of his financial people, they discovered that there were at least three paychecks of mine over this past year that had wrongly had a wage garnishment taken from them, and that the mistake had happened through a clerical error, being applied to the wrong Brent through his financial company.
So today when I got to work, I had checks waiting for me with the extra funds that were wrongfully held, right when we could use them best to catch up on some bills that were in arrears!
All glory and praise to God most High! Glory to the God, the ultimate Provider! God has been using our financial situation (which we got ourselves in by our mistakes) to not only teach Sarah and I how to value all He provides, but also as an opportunity to pour out His blessings and to encourage us to continue to trust Him to provide all things, and follow Him even when all else seems dark and hopeless.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I spent this past weekend having a much needed mini-getaway with God. The following is my reflections on this past weekend and all God’s been teaching me (though I’m sure there’s plenty he showed me that has slipped through the cracks) and I hope it can bless you as it has blessed me!
After some reflection upon my ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), I have came up with a sort of analogy:
Think about thoughts as water flowing through a faucet.
With a non-ADHD person (here I almost said “normal person” but Normal is only a town in Illinois) you can presumably turn that faucet on and off as necessary, and thus stop the flow of thoughts.
For someone with ADHD, however, there is a leak in the faucet. Regardless of where we like it or not, there is usually a constant flow of thoughts. Sure we still have ways of making the flow increase or decrease, and there are even times when it stops (though the moment you realize it is not there is the moment you destroy it, kind of like with humility). For the most part, however, it is always going. Even when it isn’t there, the simplest observation, the slightest provocation and it can be off to the races with the flow of thoughts.
This is why when we are trying to do to something we don’t like or want to do (whether just at the moment or at all), it is easy to get distracted by that steady stream of thoughts, and in so doing focus our attention on something, someone or somewhere we would rather do, be, or simply focus on.
We don’t always mean to either. I know there have been plenty of times when my wife Sarah was speaking to me and something she said sparked a stream of thoughts that caused me to stop listening to her and focus instead on that rabbit trail my thoughts traveled down. Sometimes I catch this quickly and simply refocus to what she is saying. Then it is simply a matter of figuring out if I can puzzle together the missing pieces of what she said, or if I have to ask questions to fill in the gaps. Other times I am not so lucky and get distracted for too long to know what else she said, and simply have to be humble enough to admit that I got distracted by a thought.
In any case, For those of you who know or care about someone ADHD, I ask that you remember that there is a constant background flow to our thoughts, and humbly beg your patience when dealing with us. This near constant flow also causes us to be more apt at interrupting than others. The flow just want to be voiced and wants to interject every “excellent” insight on all aspects of existence it excessively exegetes. This last sentence by the way is an example of my flow in action. One of the little things I enjoy in life is alliteration, and so a constant background task my brain is unconsciously doing is looking for ways to express myself through alliteration (another example of how that flow plays out in my life is all the excessive asides I tend to take in both my writing as well as speaking with full-on sentences in parentheticals, such as this one, which are generally unnecessary yet in many cases informative afterthoughts I still want to express).
One thing about ADHD that will be helpful to understand is that the name is somewhat of a misnomer. It is not that I just have this constant deficiency of attention in everything, but that our attention is far more easily harnessed on things we enjoy or desire. When we are focused on something we really like or want to do, whether that is writing an article about how your own insane brain works, or building the world’s most powerful biodiesel boat (hey, I’m sure someone out there is doing it), we can channel our stream of thoughts to focus on whatever our object or objective is, and we can unleash that flow in a way that is hard to describe to non-ADHD individuals outside of calling it a hyper-focus. This hyper-focus can be pure ecstasy, and is sometimes overpowering. It is easy to be overwhelmed with excitement, especially when we want to share all our amazing insights with others (which again makes us more apt to interrupt). Learning to live with it, let alone control it, can be a distressing and daunting daily drain. We must constantly work on harnessing it for good purposes, missions, and goals, and at the same time stave off negative side-effects that threaten to hinder or wholly harm our positive efforts. We ask those of you who live and/or interact with us to have patience with us and try to be understanding. It is almost as difficult for us to be this way as it is for you to deal with it. Please bear with us through both the blessings and the curse of our disorder, because one of the negative factors about having ADHD we must deal with is that our disorder is “invisible” to most people. If someone has a physical disorder, it is generally visible to others, and people recognize this person has certain limitations on what they are capable of. Many mental disorders are “visible” in a similar way, in that after interacting with them it is obvious that they have a mental disorder which limits certain things. Most people affected by ADHD, however, appear “normal” (for lack of a better yet succinct term), or maybe slightly eccentric, but our disorder is not obvious to others who observe us. We appear to be fully functioning, yet most of us struggle with things like disorganization, procrastination, tardiness, absentmindedness, thought or verbal dyslexia, word-vomiting, “laziness” (in that we can have a hard time doing or getting into mundane tasks), and a whole host of other symptoms and problems people think we can/need to just “get over” but can’t (at least not without great effort and difficulty). These are only a few thoughts on the topic, but this is something I wanted to share with others, to hopefully help you or someone you know better understand what it is like having a mental disorder that is oft times misunderstood and/or outright dismissed. One of my pet peeves is when I hear someone say “oh, I’m just AD(H)D today” or “that kid is so hyper he/she must have ADD” or some similar statement. These statements are simply ignorant and insensitive to those of us who have this disorder, and they are the result of a lack of understanding of what it truly means to have ADHD. I don’t profess to be an expert of the topic, and don’t fully understand it myself, but with 29 years of experience having it, I hope I have given you some sort of insight that may help you better understand those with ADHD. Having ADHD can be a great blessing if we can harness the positive aspects while at the same time reigning in the negative aspects.
Caveat: I want to make clear that I am not a psychiatrist or physician, and as such have no true insights into what bits of what I’ve said truly stem from my ADHD, and what just stems from the way I’m wired. As such, please take what I’ve said with a grain of salt. I am speaking here in the third person for those with ADHD with only a lay person’s insights based on what I’ve experienced and reflected on in myself, and from my experience with others who have ADHD. If you or a loved one you know had ADHD, and something here doesn’t resonate with you it is probably just something in the way I’m wired , though it is possible that our ADHD is just symptomatically expressed differently.
Please comment below and share with others your own insights into this topic, either as a first hand ADHDer, or as one who interacts with an ADHDer.
When dark is the mood and damned is the man, the night is full of terror. Woe to him who knows Him not, for even some who have prophesied in His name will not be known on the day when all is done. Shutter at the thought and be wise, for when dark is the mood and damned is the man who is not Known, time will be at its end, and eternity before us.
I shutter at the thought of things for which I once wept, and shall once again weep with Him who watered wailing weary widows with tears for the world that turned away.
Praise Him who helps us home. Praise Him who shows us the way. Praise Him who rose that day. Praise God that Yeshua Messiah, Jesus who is called Christ, came, showed us how to be, and died at the hands who one day exalted him, and the next executed him. We all damned him that day, when the mood was dark, and damned was the day that the One died. But blessed be that day when He who died Rose. And in so doing redeemed us all. And in so doing unleashed a power that we can grasp if we follow the One who showed us the way when dark was the mood and damned was man.
Even when the dark is all around, and all you see is terror, pain, suffering, unfairness, coldness, harshness, remember the light that shows us that way of Love that so paradoxically works in ways we cannot possibly fully weigh, that in giving we shall receive, and in clinging we lose all. The first shall be last and the last first. the humble will be exalted. Everything is not as it seems. You have to look beyond the obvious, beyond the observable, and see the Way the One showed us. His way is the way of pain, rejection, loss. But it is also the way of Life eternal, Zoe life. Are you better than your master? Is the work done and the Word spread that we should sit here comfortably?
WAKE UP! We all need to reexamine what is important in life and see that we work towards that, whatever it may be. Put another way, the things you work towards are the things that are important to you. If that is a nice tv, a comfy home, a nice ride, etc., then go for it, but know that these thing are not the way of the One. He said sell your things and give to the poor, not accumulate stuff and live comfortably. The harvest is great but the workers are few.
WAKE UP!! That includes you mister maestro of the mouth, you whacky word wizard, slinging sentences together thinking you’re clever, you need to wake up, because you are writing this for a reason. You have lost your way, and you need to wake up. Time is not your friend, my friend. It is on the rails revving ahead, and you are no longer a wistful kid wiling away the days till you hit adulthood. you can’t simply slip through life on what little intelligence you have left. You are putting this out there for a reason. A wake-up call to yourself. Time to start rolling with Christ and stop fighting against your chains, and start surrendering them to Him, so that he can untangle you and set you free like a cat with too much yarn, all tangled up and fussing against the One who only wants to set you free. Stop scratching at His hand cause He wants to take away your favorite toys, and start following Him who showed us the way to true Love, who gives us joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Notice that happiness is not on that list. This is because we aren’t promised we would be happy, we are promised we will reap what we sow, and that even when we sow so many seeds, we must persevere through all the muck of the world, and wade through the weave of weeds in order to have any kind of harvest. It is a marathon, not a sprint. If we keep quitting when things get hard, or if we settle for mediocrity in life, for a comfy job, and a roof over our heads, we will ultimately amount to nothing. Blips of nothingness, living comfortably numb, thinking we are saved when he will say “I never knew you, depart from me you who do evil.”
Pain is a beautiful Gift from God.
If you do not understand this statement, then I offer this post as a gift to those who wish to understand more about pain through the insights God has granted me on this topic. I am not perfect, nor do I know everything. I simply wish to share this insight so that others may benefit from what I have learned. Knowledge greedily guarded helps no one. I feel part of my calling as a Christian is to #SpeakTruth and #SpreadLove, and so I try to do that by sharing the knowledge God has granted me, and trying to live by it myself. As I said, I am not perfect, and I don’t always practice what I preach, but a flaw in me does nothing to negate the truthfulness of the statements (where there is truth, I may have some of this wrong!). Just because it is spoken by an imperfect man does not taint the truth of the message. Let him and/or her who has ears hear, and may the Holy Spirit guide those who choose to read this, that they may learn and grow from these insights I share.
Pain was created by God, and he has graciously given it to us as a gift. As with all gifts, it is either given or received. As such, there is both a right way and a wrong way to give it as well as a right way and a wrong way to receive it.
I find it amusing how often we ask God for the bit and bridle. We Americans pride ourselves on our freedom, and hold it in such high esteem, yet how often do we feel lost, crying out to God to just show us the way; to just tell us what to do? How often have we asked God to give us the answer, or worse yet, simply asked Him to take care of a situation/problem/sin/annoyance for us? We want God to do it for us rather than show or teach us what to do. This is what I mean when I say that we want the bit and bridle. We want God to control us and/or take over, rather than have to go through the trouble of learning our lesson and growing from it.
It is currently 1:40 a.m. on December 27th, and I am making my first post in almost a month. I have realized that writing blog in the manner that I do takes some serious time and thought. I was hoping to blog on a more regular basis, but it is hard to always find the time to think through the topics then sit down and write out my thoughts and review them for errors. Part of my problem is that I write these large posts on difficult topics, topics which are dear to me, and I put several hours into each one. This takes time, and sometimes time just slips away from me. I really do hope to keep posting and commenting on a regular basis, but life gets busy, and so time will pass without posts, but please be patient, and I will try to keep this blog fresh.