What loving someone with ADHD has taught me about being like Jesus.


Hi there. A preface – ADHD is kinda like this:

ADHD

The love of my life has ADHD.

That means that he can’t pay attention to what he wants to when he wants to.
That means that he can’t think through what will happen if he says what he’s thinking sometimes.
That means that he can’t sit still and listen to one voice for hours.
That means that he can’t always calm down his anxiety, because he can’t see clearly enough.
That means that for years he was treated poorly.
That means he thinks much less of himself than he should.
That means that he’s a brilliant man, who hasn’t always been able to live freely in that.
That means that he’s a person. A wonderful, wonderful, incredible person, with an illness.

ADHD is hard. Anyone who says that it isn’t or that it’s just a great benefit to their persona has probably not been treated, or hasn’t been stopped to be shown what their lives could be. I am not inferring that people cannot live life and be happy with ADHD. I am just saying that I stand in the position that a person with ADHD can’t know they need help because they don’t know how much better they could use their gifts if they actively treated their ADHD. Without being shown, that is. Jesus helped the sick. As we all should.

I used to be incredibly annoyed by people with ADHD. Like most people, I had no idea what it really was. I’ve made plenty of jokes about not being able to pay attention, and calling that ADHD. I used to think people with it were tactless, weren’t raised right, or had parents who just didn’t know how to discipline them. Or that they just talked more than I could handle. Of course, that can also be the case, but most of the time, it isn’t. It’s just being human with a brain with ADHD, and me wanting my life to be more comfortable.

Then I met this man.

He totally annoyed me. In fact, I knew that he had untreated ADHD, and I didn’t want to date him because of that. (I know, look at me thinking only inside the box.) I had had a few intimate relationships that didn’t go well and the other in those relationships blamed ADHD. I just didn’t really want to walk down that path again. But then I never went away, and he never went away, and it became something “we” faced rather than something just “he” faced.

I know what ADHD is now. And it’s not his fault. Nor is it his choice. Had I gone away, I wouldn’t have grown in my faith (the whole point of life) the way I have. And I would have missed the most fun, challenging, crazy, awesome, beautiful adventure of the past couple years. So I’m really glad I didn’t. And I’m glad I’ve learned these things:

1) Jesus is patient. I thought I was a lot more patient than I inherently am. 
Myyyy goooooodness, don’t pray for patience unless you want to learn how to be patient. And don’t expect to be able to handle medication trials and irrational anxiety really well if you’re not Jesus. Because I’m not Jesus, and handling those things are (were) really difficult. I definitely thought I was a patient person. And in some ways I was. Namely, when I fully understood situations, I was waiting in line or looking cool on a summer day. But when it comes to MY personal time, I wasn’t the best at that. Jesus is working on it. Thanks, ADHD!

2) I definitely apparently really don’t have a clue what is best for me. Jesus does. 
This fits well with the patience lesson as well. I didn’t exactly plan on having ADHD in my life forever. I was going to have a perfectly calm household where we ate nice popcorn in our perfectly clean living room each night. Where we each have 5 best friends and no tears. Nice ironed clothes and lots of perfect energy. Haha. That’s a little dramatic. But I wasn’t envisioning that we’d get to come up with awesome ways to work around forgetfulness for all of our life. But I also didn’t imagine having someone who wants to dance with me in the kitchen like a fool all the time either. See, Jesus knows better than me. And being organized is really actually super fun. Color coated post-it notes anyone?

3) Jesus makes people awesome. And as Christians in America, we’re bad at seeing that sometimes. 
One of the most challenging pieces for someone with mental illness of any kind is social interaction. I find that Christians (Sorry for saying this outright if it offends you.) are definitely cool with you being around as long as you’re working to “overcome” your issues by “letting Jesus have it.” When every issue is a spiritual one and they can just read the Bible and it should go away. And as long as we can all meet over coffee and they don’t have to deal with you crying, or being anxious, or fidgeting while you’re talking to them. But that’s not what Jesus did with the lady who touched his robe. He knelt down and talked with her. Just something I’ve learned that we can all do better – stop thinking that people are how they act. And sometimes we need medical care. That’s Jesus too. It’s just my job to show up and love. Not say how people need to be outright.

4) Jesus is LOTS of fun. 
Seriously. If you want to know that Jesus is fun, just try to get your brain to do something that it can’t. Usually it won’t work. But there’s always room to laugh. Everything doesn’t have to be straight laced and “perfect” to be absolutely wonderful. And sometimes the sheer unexpectedness of ADHD makes life lots of fun. I definitely see Jesus in new ways I wouldn’t have been able to before.

5) I cannot rely on my significant other to be my strength. But I can rely on Jesus. 
There have been lots of times when Ray wasn’t able to give me the attention that I needed because he just couldn’t. He didn’t try to be that way. He wasn’t a man that was just zoning out. He just couldn’t because his brain didn’t let him. And that was almost more annoying than just being able to blame someone. So I had to just go sit down with Jesus and let Him be who He was. And you know what? I’ve learned a lot about grace and Jesus’ love for me. And I’m so thankful for that.

6) Praying needs to always happen. 
ADHD has taught me to pray. And then pray some more. And some more. And some more. And to keep praying. And I’ll continue. Cuz it changes everything and makes the impossible possible. I prayed for healing for Ray. God sent me and taught me to be supportive and kind. Healing is happening.

I’ve learned tons, as we both have, but there’s a short version of what’s on the plate these days. We’ve been blessed to find some meds that work, and have been able to work through a lot of healing because of that medication slowing things down for us. And life is a lot less crazy. But I promise, there are going to be more crazy days. And those are going to teach me about Jesus, and love too.

I’m excited for that.

…because love wins.

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12 Ways to Maintain a Bad Attitude for Your Whole Life


So, today is one of my best friends’ birthday. His name is Dustin. He and I had the same kind of cancer in the same leg when we were little. I was 7, and he was 11. We did everything together – played, talked, threw up, had major surgery; everything. He lost his leg to the cancer, and a lot of his lung. And so did I. But we also have a lot of photos, and we’re smiling in them. Because our mothers and selves, decided that regardless of what was going on, we were going to be positive and enjoy our lives. Dustin died when I was 12. He was sixteen. Our attitudes are still positive.

In honor of his birthday, I’m going to get on my soapbox and preach about the ways we maintain a bad attitude and waste our lives.

1. Wait for everything to be perfect. 
What does that even mean? Perfect changes every day with the color of your skin, the latest fads, who you meet, what you process from your childhood, and the kind of house you just saw on TV. I will just blow that up for you now – it’s only as perfect as you make  it. Fiercely look for the positive in situations. And it would be wise to get used to life being a mess. Because it always is. Put on your best shoes, get ready to get them muddy, and jump in to see what happens.

2. Quit before you see the ending. Aka, avoid at all costs.
This lines up pretty well with number one. This whole world is full of quitters. When you have cancer, you don’t really get the choice to quit. It decides for you. Life should be like that. Cuz when you’re dying it will be. And I will tell you that walking away when someone needs you, when you’re afraid, or when you feel like you’ve failed is an excellent way to make sure that no one ever needs you, everyone is afraid of you, and to fail yourself, and others. Just stick around even if you don’t know what to do. Life has a way of working itself out if you leave your heart in it and bring your good attitude.

3. Hate yourself.
Most specifically, I mean get up every single morning and look in the mirror. Find every piece of your body and mind that you hate, recite every word that anyone ever said to you about how you looked, and then work to combat them with changing your clothes, combing your hair, and all around aiming to be whatever level of perfect they set for you. THAT IS DUMB. Every single person in this world is busy living up to some standard of someone. All the while, the person who set the standard is trying to live up to someone else’s. IT DOESN’T MATTER. You’re a soul. Just go fly, soul. Haters are always gonna hate. But it’s because they hate themselves. There’s no need for you to hate yourself too. It’s really not so great to fit in with all the people who already hate themselves.

4. Take your aggression out on others. 
In the house in which I grew up, we were allowed to be whatever mood we wanted to be. We were not, however, allowed to hurt other people because of our mood. So if I was mad at something, I didn’t get to redirect that at the safe place – my mom. I mean, I did, for a while, until one day she just looked at me and told me she didn’t like me anymore, no matter how much she loved me. She’s a great mom, and that was a pretty swift wake up call. If my own mother didn’t like me, there is a good chance that no one else would either. And it wasn’t her fault. (She again likes me after I stopped being mean.) People are not punching bags. They are not responsible for your happiness. I mean, if you’re happy, unwaveringly lift people up. Don’t quit. (see above) But for your aggression, find a real punching bag if you need to. And then go punch it until the emotions are taken down enough notches to have a real conversation with someone who will share wisdom with you. But leave your walls with the punching bag and let go of your aggression. Being mad about someone or something doesn’t do a thing to them…but it ruins you and your life. Also, anger isn’t a safe place. It’s a lonely place.

5. Never take ownership for your mistakes. 
This is a perfect way to pretend that you’re perfect. And it’s a perfect way to keep everything locked inside like poison. Every person you hurt will carry that hurt because you have legitimized the mean things you did to them. They’ll think of your bitter words when they look in the mirror in the morning. Being disconnected from your reality is not okay. That’s a great way to continue to be disengaged and distant. Because you know, even though we all pretend we’re perfect on facebook, we’re really not. And no one really likes someone who thinks that they are and can do no wrong. No one likes to get blamed for someone else’s pain all the time either.

6. Always blame everything on everyone else. 
This is a great way to continue to never take ownership for your mistakes. The guy at the grocery store didn’t smile at you. What a loser. So negative. Your mom didn’t call you soon enough on your birthday. Work was challenging because your coworker was mean. Your toe hurts because you hit it on a curb and the city built the structure wrong. We can all pretend that we don’t do that, but oh, we do. And the thing is, you see what you want to see. And you see what you feel. So pay attention. If you’re blaming the whole world for your pain, it’s probably because you’re putting yourself in that painful place all on your own.

7. Never let anyone love you.
We all have bad attitudes because people don’t love us, right? Wrong. We have bad attitudes and that makes us hard to love. How are you in any more trouble than the rest of us? We all have our hard stuff. And just because it’s hard and someone or something hurt you before doesn’t mean everyone is going to be a twit and hurt you again. Or they might. But that’s how life works. It’s better to love and get hurt than to live in the lonely place where you keep yourself. People just want to help. You have to let them. And be prepared – they may not help just how you want them to. But it may be how you need them to.

8. Never listen. 
This is an excellent way to be in a bad mood forever. Never listen to what anyone says. When they’re talking, always be thinking about how dumb what they’re saying is and be waiting for your turn to talk. Because obviously that’s what needs to happen for you to feel better. Wrong. People hate people who don’t listen. And that’s a good way to make sure that you never have anyone to listen to you again. Yeah, you need people to lean on, but you might learn a lot if you hear what they say and apply it to your own life.

9. Always think about yourself. 
You’re walking down the street. What are you thinking about? Yourself? Well, stop it. Just, stop it. Think about anything else. The trees. The water. People who need prayer. Your shoes. Jesus. Anything. I promise that the more you think about yourself, the worse your attitude is going to be. Life comes from helping someone. When things are hard, go help someone else. Call a friend and ask them how they are. Do anything but think about yourself and what you think you’re missing in life.

10. Never be pleased. 
Always let your emotions lead what you say. Never speak out of logic, only emotion. Complain whenever you can. That the food doesn’t taste good enough. That the service isn’t fast enough. That your hair isn’t nice enough. Whatever you can complain about, DO IT. I’m totally kidding. Stop complaining. You won’t feel better doing it. When you’re about to complain, stop. Whatever it is you were going to complain about, find something positive to say about it instead.

11. Don’t be thankful. 
This is an awesome way to be in a bad mood always. Don’t be thankful for stuff. Always focus on what you don’t have and never on what you do. Also kidding. Stop doing that. Focus on the positive. Don’t think that you’ll be ignoring all your sad thoughts and that they’ll build up or something. No. Just fill your mind with good things, and the negative will come to the surface manage-ably. Whatever it is you’re upset about, stop being upset about it and find something in it for which you are thankful.

12. Try to hide from God. 
This is the capstone here. The best way to have a bad attitude forever is to hide from God. Cuz then he can’t change you, and you can wallow until you die. Continue to think that He can’t heal, that he won’t come through, that if you keep your heart locked up you’re safe, or that you’ve done too much bad stuff. Nah, focus on the truth. And see the positive in Christ every day. I promise you, that will set you free. Your joy will turn into happiness, and pretty soon you’re going to be known for being the person that is happy. And all of a sudden everyone will want to be around you. And that will create a positive cycle for you to live in.

But, it has to start with you. No one else makes you happy all the time. But you can make sure you’re much happier with the way you think. You need to do what you need to do inside yourself. Happy day, all!

…because love wins.

This is a lot harder than I want it to be.


If you’re a follower of my blog (ohhhh, hheeeeeyyyy!) you’ll probably remember this post: I am a woman. My best friend is a man. We don’t intend to get married, and it’s awesome. 

And you probably mostly remember it, because now we’re dating. See, here we are!

Image

Gotcha! We were planning to date when I wrote that last blog post too.

JUST KIDDING.

For real, we had no idea. In fact, I would have said that we were fighting against the idea. At that point, we knew everything faulty about each other and didn’t have any interest in having to take care of that person and their messiness. Nice and selfish, right? Haha. And on and on that went, until finally, God was like, “Yo, stop fighting me, I’m GOD.” And now here we are.

If you’ve talked to either of us in the past 5 months, we’ll tell you that this has probably been among the most personally challenging times of either of our lives. Throw together two leader-like individuals who have been through quite the variety of hard things, undissected pasts, some deep fears, and lots of hopes and dreams, and you’ve got pretty much a ridiculous mess.

We’re generally pretty intense people. We both hate conflict, (we’re learning), and have dug through just about anything that could be dug through probably about 30 years before most couples dig through things. I’m totally kidding, I have no idea. But we analyze everything like 30 million times more than we need to. That much I know. We’re also learning about what to do and not do with that.

Seriously, this relationship has been a lot harder than either of us wanted it to be.

But, it’s also been very good for us. Because conflicting deep heart issues have proven that love is literally the only thing that can win. And I don’t mean like, the feelings “oooo, I love you and everything is butterflies!” I mean, the part of us that sits at Jesus’ feet and says, “I have no idea how anything will work. Could you make that make sense?” Two perfectionists trying to perfect the other person will kind of leave someone in that place.

What we’ve learned is that Romans 8:28 (God uses everything for the good of His children.) is indeed true. It’s all for the good. It’s all for healing. And it’s all to bring us closer to Jesus. Cuz I’m not perfect. And neither is he. But that’s the point. We can’t navigate something perfectly that’s made with imperfect people. We need Jesus. And then even though we don’t know the future and we don’t know how to understand stuff, we have Jesus, and He has shown us that there still remains nothing we can do without His guidance. That makes the hard worth it.

…because love wins.

10 Things American Society Uses to Turn Men Into Boys


I’ve always been best friends with guys. It’s a long story as to why, but regardless, it’s taught me a lot about them. From the age 5 to 50. The relationship before the one I am currently in was abusive, painful, and needed to end when I ended it. While I felt the pain, the reason the hurt existed by that guy was not because of his choices alone. It’s a bunch of things. It’s what American society does to and about men. So here are 10 ways that America messes up men.

Heels

1. It teaches them that they can have what they want, when they want it. Usually sex.
I’m not saying that all Americans aren’t this way (women included), but I am saying that men live under this belief most of the time. How can they not? Have you watched TV? What happens? The man thinks the women (usually all of them…) are “hot” (ew, such a gross word.) and then picks one that he wants, talks sexually to her, and then gets to have sex with her. Making him the king and her the prize. That’s not love. 

2. Pornography.
The ever-present-but-never-talked-about-issue of nearly all men. In college I came out of my nice naive state and learned how intense this stuff is. The most current statistic is that 68% of men take part in pornography each week. From what I can tell, I think that number should be much higher. And it’s devastating. It’s not real, but after so much absorption in it it’s nearly impossible for a man to even know that. Their brains and minds are taught that they can again, have whatever they want, when they want it. And that sex is an act, not a showing of love. Not an experience of love. Untying that in the mind of a sex addict is not something easy to do.

3. Women should be size zero. With D-sized breasts. And a thigh gap. And that’s what they’re worth.
So men don’t spend a lot of time around real women. I mean, they do. But society, and porn, and movies have them living in their heads a lot. So they may see a woman, but they may imagine them to be something else, or inherently think they need to look some other way than how they do. Because most women who are healthy have body fat, no thigh gap, and whatever sized breasts. But society (see Target’s ad mess up) doesn’t seem to think reality sells. Though they haven’t really tried that for a while.

4. Men don’t need to lead their families. 
Enter, sitcoms. Enter, The Bachelor. Enter Pop music. What is a man anyway? According to society, they’re someone who sits on the couch and watches sports and then picks what women they would like and can go to the club and pick any shorty they’d like. To use as they’d like. All while looking like some prize to these women to swoon over.

juan5. Men have lots of muscles. 
I don’t even know the origin of this. But I do know that men are just people. And while they like to pretend that they’re not insecure, porn lies about them as much as it lies about women. A strong man is not one who can bench the weight of his girlfriend times three. It’s someone who would step between anyone and his wife to keep her heart safe.

6. The need for “Bro-time.” 
I’m not saying that men don’t need men time. But what I am saying is that time with other men should not be spent as an “escape from your girlfriend or wife’s crazy mind and unrealistic expectations.”

7. Lack of vulnerability. 
Ask a man how he is. Any man. He’ll probably not tell you that the real deal is that he often doesn’t feel good enough, doesn’t know how to kick his sex addiction, and doesn’t know if he can be a good enough significant other or father. That’s because America doesn’t like vulnerability unless it has really big dramatic background music in the climax of the movie. And it’s usually not the man crying.

8. Men don’t need support. 
Check out Superman. Or Spiderman. They just fly around and save the world and aren’t supported by their women. They’re just always saving the women. Why those women can’t deal with anything on their own, I don’t really understand. But I do know that women need to be a lot better at holding their men up as the head of their families. Just tell them you’re proud of them. Just thank them for loving you. Just let them know you love them.

9. Men can’t have family and work. men
It’s like robbery on television or in the news to take a man from his career. How dare he be asked to come home and have dinner with his family? Shouldn’t he be respected for going out and “providing for his family?” Yeah, he should. But it’s also good for him to come home and be loved on. Men need that. Families need their man. To just be there and loving.

10. Men are everything. 
As much as women are expected to be something, men are too. But men aren’t perfect. A perfect man is the one who knows he’s not perfect, but lays his heart before Christ to be made perfect. The one who doesn’t know how to lead, but knows how to be led.

I’m not bashing. But I am tired of seeing men hurt. Because when men hurt, so does the rest of the world. If you’re a man who has stopped being a boy after the world tried to make you one, keep standing in that. If you’re a woman, don’t be afraid to be respected like you need to. And to support your man like he needs. We’re all just humans. And we all just need love.

…because love wins.