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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Communion Meditation For 03/06/2012

Have you ever known someone who refused to seek medical treatment when it was apparent they needed it?  I was the poster child.  You see I have a condition known as ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  You’ve probably heard of it.  A lot of young people have.  I had it as a young man but my ADHD, unlike most people, continued into my adult years; not only continued but really accelerated/exploded.  I live with an extreme end of the spectrum version of ADHD.

I was diagnosed in 2005 and fiddled with controlling it with medication, but one of the insidious aspects of ADHD is a very skewed judgment when it comes to oneself.  I have a tendency to think “I’m ok now, I don’t need those meds”.  ADHD, like any medical condition unchecked, wreaked havoc in my life.  I have lost three times more jobs than most people will ever hold.  I have a string of damaged relationships a mile long.

About a year ago I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I made an appointment, dragged myself to the Veterans Hospital and plopped down in the plastic molded chair and explained to the doctor that I wanted help with two specific issues.  One, I, like Paul the Apostle, always say and do the things I don’t want to do.  I have no filter; no impulse control.  Two, I have a temper the size of New Jersey, and although I have never been violent, I hate that I explode and yell when I’m angry.  If you know my wife and two beautiful daughters you will understand why this broke my heart and helped me find the rocky bottom.

Sovereignty stepped in at this juncture.  The doctor was a Christ follower.  She would give me some tools and help me bring these issues under control if I would commit to seeing through the treatment plan.  I couldn’t quit and I couldn’t cheat.  I felt like I was signing enlistment papers again, and that wasn’t far from the truth.  The next couple of months were by far the hardest of my life.  I dreaded appointments.  I dreaded the exercises and homework she gave me.  It was excruciating peeling away the onion layers of who I am, how I’m wired up and why I act and react the way I do.  It was painful extraditing deeply entrenched behaviors and thought patterns and learning new ones.

As the treatment progressed the doctor identified a third issue that had to be addressed.  I was an amazingly well defended fortress.  I had defense mechanisms for every word, every situation and every relationship existing or possible.  This had caused me more heartache and failure than all the other aspects of ADHD put together.  More onion peeling, more tears, more extraditing and supplanting.

I wish I could tell you I was healed at the end of the agreed upon treatment period but like the lyrics from an old song, sometimes he calms the storm and other times he calms the child.  ADHD still rages and roars in my life but I am not defeated. I have the tools to cope, manage and dare I say overcome.  The doctor had me read a couple books during my boot camp and the last one was on grace.  I found the concept of accepting myself as I am incomprehensible.  I intellectually knew this was a slap in the face to Jesus but I couldn’t get out of my own way.  I had to learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

That is why we come around this table weekly.  It is a reminder to start by accepting ourselves and others as we are, forgiving ourselves and others and agreeing not to stay as we are as we leave this place.  Instead we agree to allow Christ to change us; to continue to learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  Let the starchy powder on your tongue and the tang of the juice remind us today that we were bought at a price; accepted as who you are and destined for transformation as children of the King.

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