Last March, I lost a key that was very important to me. I looked "everywhere" - even drove across town to the last place I remembered having it. Eventually, I gave up and reported it as lost to the building owners to which it belonged.
This morning as I put on my coat for the first time this season - what do ya know?! There was the key wrapped around the sleeve of my coat.
I'm strangely organized yet disorganized. There are a million, minute details that are exactly as they should be, yet the simpler things in life seem to allude me. This is not a symptom of getting older because I have distinct memories of this frustrating my mom when I was a child. This trait is something I attribute to my ADHD; at times it really frustrates me about myself, other times I shrug my shoulders in acceptance of "that's just how I am, world, so get over it!"
Is it possible for our annoying traits to become a unique attribute rather than a liability? Paul seemed to think so. Listen to his account in 2 Corinthians:
"Concerning this, I implored the Lord three times that [my thorn in the flesh] might leave me. And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Corinthians 12:8-9
For most of our "less intriguing characteristics," there is an alternative to frustration or being flippant and complacent about how these "thorns" affect us or those around us. Think through this equation:
Holy Spirit * (Personal Responsibility + Lots of Grace from self and others) = Appreciation and Acceptance of my ADHD.
Notice how personal responsibility doesn't FIX my ADHD, and grace doesn't remove my responsibility, but together multiplied by the power and discernment of the Holy Spirit brings about a very unexpected result - appreciation and acceptance!
Personal responsibility regarding my ADHD looks like morning prayers/journaling, ample exercise, good sleep regimens, healthy eating, managing overwhelm in my schedule, and seeking medical or mental health assistance when necessary. Taking these actions, leaves me open to the best parts of my ADHD, like how it awakens my creativity and my energy - and, trust me, most people don't complain about my ability to manage the million, minute details! My ADHD is not a liability but a unique attribute.
But when I stink at managing my responsibility or when doing all I can do still leaves me with lost keys (or something of much greater consequence), I need grace and to possibly even laugh at myself - and I need others in my life who will offer the same (thank you, Ron Wood, for being this person in my life). In the end, I accept and appreciate that these types of things leave me humble and at the feet of Jesus - who is full of grace, love, patience, and power to do something miraculous with the very thing in me that others may see as a weakness.
By the way, today was a laughing at kind of day... like, really? After almost a year this thing reappears?!? That's awesome.
This equation and balance I've found greatly reflect a prayer many of us are familiar with:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. Accepting this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen."
❓ Do you have a personal attribute that feels frustrating to you or those around you at times?
❓ How does the "acceptance and appreciation equation" resonate with you?
Father God, I pray for all those reading today that feel frustrated at themselves, lacking understanding of why we are the way we are or what to do about it. May your grace, love, power, and patience abound within us and over us, helping us to find appreciation and acceptance for these thorns in our sides. May You receive all glory and honor when what was once deemed our weakness becomes one of our greatest assets! Amen!