The beautiful difference
What I've learned about God and myself as a Christian with learning difficulties.
I’ll be straight with you – I struggle with people.
I don’t understand their feelings, their nuances or their points of view.
I struggle to reconcile when people have wronged me and I am easily offended. I struggle to pick up some social cues, and I find it difficult to speak to people. I am this way because I am both Dyslexic and Dyspraxic. Yes, I am both of those things and I have been told that I am likely autistic too.
How my learning difficulties impact me
Growing up in any situation is difficult but as someone with learning difficulties, life can be especially challenging. Here's a few examples:
- I get annoyed at things others don’t even notice
- I forget to complete the smallest of tasks
- I routinely struggle to follow simple instructions
- I don’t like it when people invade my personal space or chew loudly
- Big gatherings of people are my worst nightmare
The world is a noisy place and every day, I feel like I want to get off of it.
Why I sometimes wish I was made differently
Honestly the guidance and support of my family and my faith in God is the only thing that has kept me going.
I pray to God and ask him to help me deal with people and for him to help me recall key details in everyday tasks.
But despite my faith, lately I have been feeling stupid and my difficulties have felt like a curse. I have spent time wishing I was made differently and I have asked God to take my issues away. I have hated myself for the way that I am different and wondered what value someone like me can add to the world and God’s plans here.
You could call it an existential crisis, you could call it low self esteem and you could say that I lost my confidence. All I know is that the last few months have been more of a struggle then most times I remember.
The powerful lesson God taught me
In this time I have learnt some vital lessons – one of which presented itself in peculiar circumstances.
I have a part-time job collecting golf balls on a driving range; basically the job entails me driving a cart up and down a field collecting balls for hours on end. It’s a lonely job that enables you to do a lot of thinking. And though I love being alone, in times of negativity it can enable hours of non-stop self loathing.
I was driving up and down the range counting my personal insults and praying that my struggles might go away when I literally ran over a flag. You see, just like a proper golf course throughout the practice range there are flags situated in holes and it just so happened that in a lapse of concentration I managed to run over a six foot tall flag.
I heard the bang and clatter and expected it to snap, but I looked behind me and saw that it bounced right back up and it seemed perfectly intact. I then hopped out from the cart and went to see whether the hole was damaged. It wasn’t, but there was a golf ball inside the hole.
Yes, someone had made a hole in one on the practice range and they most definitely didn’t know about it!
The prospect of making a hole in one and being oblivious to that achievement amused me, but it also made me think about a few other things:
- Maybe there are great things happening in me and all around me that I just cannot see yet.
- Maybe God is using what I see as a burden as a blessing beyond the realm that I can see. After all God did say that he made us in his image in Genesis 1:26-27 and he also said in 1 Corinthians 15:49, that we bear the image of the man of heaven.
- Maybe it's time for me to fully believe that God loves me and has made me the way I am for an awesome reason. God isn’t looking down and laughing at me because of my problems, he is right beside assuring me that he has a plan for me and that everything works together for is good.
- Maybe each one of my different nuances is a blessing to his heart. I shouldn’t be ashamed or disheartened, I should be full of hope in the knowledge that God smiles out of love when he looks at me.
Though I struggle and life is difficult; his heart is for me and he promises that he will never leave or forsake me – and it’s the same for you.