Jesus, Me, & ADHD

use me

I am in a really weird season.  It’s not bad … it’s just weird.

I am learning a lot about myself.  I’m reflecting on my past and the error of my ways.  Not in a downcast type of way … but just reflecting on areas with the blinders off, so to say.

They say hindsight is 20/20, right?  So I’m just kind of gazing back down the path that I have journeyed for the past 4 years. The Spirit of The Lord is so near.  He is showing me the areas where I have ran ahead of Him.  He’s showing me the really disgusting places in my heart.  He’s showing me the difference between expectation and anticipation.  He’s revealing how my mouth has said, “more of You, Lord and Less of me” but truly my heart was saying “Me, me, me, me, me.”

I see now just how self aware I became once I gave my life to Christ 10 years ago.  Self awareness is not a bad thing but it is when it becomes an idol.  As my good friend, Dr. Jason Brooks said to me recently, “As much as we like to talk about the concept of “freedom in Christ”, ultimately we just exchange one prison for another…the prison of sin and death for the prisons of “comparison, compromise, pride, jealousy, doubt, fear, worry…”” Self awareness has made me obsessed with myself and what I can accomplish, what people think, how am I viewed, and on and on … so much focus on me to the point where I literally couldn’t have a conversation with someone without holding my breath.

Of course I didn’t know this until now.  I never meant to be that way.  I never wanted to be that way. So now this weird season has left me with such gratitude, an overflow of love just gushing out for my precious Heavenly Father, but also with a grieving spirit.  I guess you could say I’m being humbled although as soon as I write about being humble I think that deducts from the humble meter.  :o)  You get what I’m saying though, right?

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD is a chronic condition including attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. That sounds so serious … As much as I don’t ever want to be diagnosed with anything I realize there are a lot of things in this life that are out of my control.  I am also aware that no matter what – I mean NO MATTER WHAT, God is on the throne, it doesn’t change Who He is, and it doesn’t change who I am in Him.

People with ADHD seem like a hot mess!  We’re unorganized (and yet I cravvvvve organization!), we have difficulty focusing, we’re forgetful, fidgety, crazy excited over silly things, impulsive and a whole slew of other things.

I was actually relieved to find out that I have ADHD. There are so many things that make sense to me now, like why I read 5 books at one time and never finish any of them.  Why I start 15 projects at once and then get discouraged because I haven’t accomplished anything.  Why I have always hated board games, puzzles, crafts, and anything else that makes me sit still, wait my turn, and takes longer than 1 minute without something exciting happening. Why I put everything in piles and then get overwhelmed because I can see everything that I’m working on and need to do but if I put the piles away I’ll forget what I’ve done and need to do. AHH!! The madness!   But I’m so relieved.

I’m relieved but I refuse to let ADHD be my identity or my crutch.  Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).  I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  So knowing what’s going on helps me to target specific areas where I need to be extremely intentional and use tools to help me be successful in areas where I suffer.  But this doesn’t mean i obsess over ADHD, read everything there is to know about ADHD, in every conversation share that I have ADHD … NO!  I want to be educated but I don’t want to become ADHD. That’s not who I am.  ADHD does not trump Who God is.  It’s not like God is sitting back on His throne completely perplexed like, “Dang! I did not see that coming.” No way!  God is in control so why should I worry, fear, and try to fix this on my own?

As we walk through life there are things that will try to attach to you and embed themselves in your identity. If you don’t catch these things as they slide in before you know it they will take your feet right out from under you.  No matter what happens in our lives God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  The same God Who parted the Red Sea is still alive today and He’s not out of miracles.

Does that mean He can remove ADHD from me?  Absolutely!  Do I think He will?  No.  Not because I doubt Him but because I know His power is made perfect in my weakness.  I know that He wastes nothing. I know that as I live my life with this mental disorder I can rely on Him to give me strength to endure and overcome … and He can receive all the glory.  Also, how cool is it that while my sweet son is journeying through Sensory Processing Disorder, his mama’s been walkin’ around with ADHD her whole life?!?! I feel like we’re bonded so much deeper now. :o)

My prayer in this season has been “Whatever it takes” and I stand firm by that prayer.  It is an open handed prayer that some days I pray through clenched teeth and tears streaming down my face – but I trust Him and know that He works out all things for the good of those who love Him.

My pastor said today, “The question is not does God love us, the question is do we love God?”  My answer is yes.  I love him.  I trust Him.  He’s never let me down and He won’t start now.

So here’s this weird season. Among other things, a season where I find out about my birth father (I’ll post about that another time), a season where I went from 0 to 5 sisters (I’ll post about that another time too), a season where I’m diagnosed with ADHD and yet another season where God is faithful. I’m excited to see how He’s going to use this for His glory.

He is faithful. Always.

-April

Sweet Release

release

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I gave my life to Jesus 10 years ago.  Everything changed.

I was secure and sealed with The Holy Spirit and had a desire to know Jesus more but my life actually got extremely messy.

I became incredibly insecure for the first time in my life.  I started going to church and couldn’t connect no matter how hard I tried.  I eventually realized that it’s because I wasn’t good enough.  I was completely broken. I was messy and I needed someone to help me.  I needed people to walk with me and love me.  They didn’t accept me raw and real so I put on the plastic “Christian” covering, lifted my nose up, and learned how to perform.

I watched how the church leaders conducted themselves.  I sat in small groups and perfected how the churchy women talk and share in small groups.  Every once in a while the real me would bust out and totally overshare something I was struggling with. I would get the stares of “whoa! Girlfriend does not know boundaries.”  You’re darn right I don’t know boundaries!  I’m brand new to this.  Why don’t you talk with me, teach me, tell me about scripture and other resources that are out there?

I slipped. I felt stupid.  I learned to clean that up quickly by suppressing it.

I learned how to show up to church every Sunday, big smile, and fluent in christianese. I learned how to lift my hands in worship and pray publicly. My performance was believable.  I started ministry, did good works in the name of Jesus, and wore myself out trying to help.

I never knew I wasn’t being real.  I thought this is what being a believer looked like.  All the “good” Christians I know have something to ‘show’ for their loyalty to Jesus Christ.  I wanted my “I follow Jesus” badge too!  God never told us to obtain the badge.  He simply wants our hearts. That’s it.

You know what I realized?  The act is exhausting.  I was insecure because I was focused more on me than on Jesus.

I made a public name for myself because I was more focused on how I can help God (all about me) instead of just resting in Him and letting Him use me for His glory.  The success of me helping God was based on how many followers I could get on MY social media pages, how many people read MY blog, how many people signed up for MY newsletter and how many ‘likes’ one of MY ‘anointed’ posts would get.

I experienced so much fear and anxiety because I was focused more on me and how I felt than on Jesus. I can teach you how to control a panic attack but that doesn’t address the root of the issue, which is fear.  Perfect love casts out fear.  That’s what I know.  I can’t explain the ins and outs.  I can relate to believers battling anxiety and depression but at the end of the day, if there are not true health issues, I believe your problem is fear.  Fear breeds anxiety and anxiety breeds more anxiety.  Pray and believe. God’s got the answer.  I don’t.

You know what I’ve learned and am learning now? The Church is messy and we’re just as much apart of the mess … but we’re getting renewed day by day and our King Jesus is coming for us soon!

I’m learning that the scripture has already told us that there are people among us that claim to know Jesus but their hearts are far from Him.  I’m not concerned about exposing the people whose hearts are far from Jesus … I just know I don’t want to be one of them. I can’t control what everyone else is doing.  Heck, I can barely control what I’m doing.  I just want to keep my eyes on Jesus and let Him navigate my journey.

God never told us to put our hope and faith in The Church.  Church (the people and the building) can actually become idols in our lives and I’m realizing now that the people have been idols in my life for a very long time.  The fact that I could not connect deeply with people in church left me empty.  It took my focus off of Jesus and put it right back on myself. What am I doing wrong? Why do people not want me? Am I not doing enough? Because obviously the badge for christian achievements comes from having all these cool christian, hipster friends.

I think we’re looking for approval from the Christians around us rather than from Jesus.  We’ll never be good enough in the eyes of another flawed human being but we’re already good enough in the eyes of Christ. I don’t want my spiritual tank to be filled by people, activities or good works.  I just want it to be filled by The Holy Spirit.  I believe if we’re filled by Him our lives will be a response to Him alone.

So I’m not focusing on The Church (the people or the building).  I’m focusing on Jesus. I’m being intentional about Him and Him alone. Do you know how simple that sounds and yet how often we overcomplicate it?

I’m not mad at believers who didn’t embrace me when I was new to the faith. I just know that I want to embrace those that are broken even if they’re not prim and proper or experiencing immediate changes in every area of their life RIGHT AWAY. I know that Jesus will direct my path and I can trust Him and His timing.

So now the pretty plastic wrapper has come off. I can breathe. I can trust. I can live abundantly through precious Jesus.

Free indeed,

April

The Blank Line

father
This blank line now has a name. That name is linked to a person who I have never met. This blank line leads to siblings that I have never met. This blank line leads to a story that has now been shared with me after 30 years.

It’s like this hidden piece of my life has come to the surface. That feeling of “you’re not good enough” and “no one wants you” now makes sense in a weird way.

The past few days have been confusing and I’m still processing. I can feel the enemy jerking at my identity but I can hear The Holy Spirit saying, “This does not change Who I Am or who you are in Me.”

Last September I posted this … almost as if it was prophetic for this season of life where the hidden details would be revealed… and it still stands true today:

“I had to get my hands on my birth information since I’ll be going out of the country soon and need to get my passport. I hold this birth information in my hands and see a blank line under “Father’s Full Name”. This blank line offers me many choices. I could choose to be a victim who doesn’t know who her birth Father is… But I choose not to. This blank line does not identify me. This blank line does not determine my future. I have never lived as an illegitimate child. I choose not to wear that burden. My Heavenly Father is more real than any blank line on a birth certificate. My mother decided to keep me… what a sacrifice at such a young age and God provided me with an earthly father figure (who I will ALWAYS claim as my dad) who stepped in and bridged the gap … but even if He didn’t – I would still be okay.

Don’t let your circumstances determine your destiny. Don’t let the enemy ruin you or discourage you by whispering his stupid lies to you! You are worthy and valuable! You were created for a purpose. You are not a mistake! You are HIS and He will cover any blank line in your life.

He is a father to the fatherless. He is good and faithful. Always.”

 

No Title (I got nothing)

A woods bible

This past Sunday I ran away.  I escaped for some time in nature.  When I was a kid you could not keep me in doors.  I would run and jump freely, unafraid of falling in a hole.  I would roll down the hill, unafraid of what might be on the ground, I would climb trees, unaware and unafraid of how weak certain branches might be. I remember playing hide and seek with my neighbors and hiding under their porch steps, which no one would EVER do because spiders were under there. I didn’t care. I wasn’t afraid.  I lived freely.

So back to Sunday.  I walked around, alone and very aware.  I was aware that I had no one to talk to.  I was aware that it was a humid day and my breath seemed shallow.  I was aware that I was out of my comfort zone.  But then…

But then I started to focus on God.  I thought about in the beginning when God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve and what that must of been like.  I saw a butterfly with vibrant colors fly by and thought of how God created such beauty here.  This earth is broken.  It’s a shadow of what’s to come and yet it still captures such incredible beauty.  I started to focus more on God and His character and my awareness of everything else started to fade away.  Right then and only then – I experienced true peace.

It’s been about 10 years since I’ve lost myself in nature alone. I feel like when I showed up on Sunday God was waiting with open arms, like “There you are.  I’ve been waiting for you.”  He met me with such tenderness and walked with me.  It was truly refreshing.

We are so busy ‘these days’.  Although I still have prayer time and walk with Jesus daily there was just something about escaping away from it all and meeting him alone in nature that brought so much comfort to my heart.  Being with him there in the ‘secret’ place allowed me to fully focus on Him.  It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about my problems, it wasn’t to get a to-do list from Jesus, it wasn’t about seeking answers … it was only about Him.

I am being reminded to observe where my focus is.  It’s amazing how simple God makes it and how easily we overcomplicate it.  I am so guilty of overcomplicating this relationship with Christ.  It’s foreign to know that he wants me … like for real – for real … just me.

What I do? … Nope. Just me.

My efforts? … Nope. Just me.

My accomplishments? … Nope. Just me.

The good things I do in the name of Jesus? … Nope. Just me.

He truly just wants me.

The rest of that stuff pours out naturally from a heart that is overflowing with Christ’s love.

I want my life to be a response to his love, not an exhausting to-do list to keep God’s love and acceptance for me.

Ugh. Break EVERY chain, Lord Jesus! … While I keep my eyes on You.

Here is a note that I posted to FB while spending time in God’s presence.  I posted this as a reminder to myself and others:

I’m desperate to be free.

There is an enemy who is constantly striving to put me in bondage.

I never fit. I never have.

I have strived and performed for far too long.

I want to break the rules (not the law), I want to take the road less traveled, I want to make mistakes because that’s part of my story. I want to be me. I want to be who God created me to be and not a replica of someone else… this good little girl who performs in fear that love would be taken away, or that I might be scolded, or judged, or called stupid because heaven forbid underneath the paint I might freakin’ be human.

I want to run after Jesus wholeheartedly and recklessly abandoned. I don’t want to be an assembly line Christian. I don’t want to be a Christian dipped in gold. I want to meet this broken world where it’s at and say- “Look. Here’s my filthy mat that I once lay on until Jesus told me to get up and walk.” He has come to give life and give it abundantly- right here, right now, right where you are, right where I am.

So here I am. The real me. Vulnerable and desperate for an encounter with the Living God every moment of my life. We are afraid to be real because we’re fearful it may push people away. I’m tellin’ ya- the performance leaves you more empty and alone than you could ever imagine even when you’re surrounded by people.

This is a season of healing in my life. My prayer for this season (and I’m sure the rest of my life) is “whatever it takes”. This broken heart is all He wants. He wants me. He’s only ever wanted me. … Just as I am. Perfect in His eyes and free indeed.

A woods

OVERFLOW OF THE HEART

download

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
Luke 6:45 NIV

Have you ever been around someone and when you leave from them you feel exhausted and maybe even depressed? Think back – what were y’all talking about?

I used to be involved in toxic friendships.  They were guilty.  I was guilty.  We gossiped, we laughed at the misfortune of others, we could always find information that was truly none of our business and talk about it for hours.

We were “believers”.  We claimed to know and love Jesus.

Ugh.

As my relationship with Jesus got real my heart started to change.  I started to feel conviction when I was apart of these conversations.  I would still partake and push past the conviction but you can only straddle the fence for so long until you have to choose a side.

I went over – to Jesus.  I lost everything.  I gained everything.

I decided to keep hanging with my toxic friends and I would just be good during the awful conversations.  Yeah.  That’s didn’t work at first but eventually I got better with practice. I would sit quietly.  Awkward.  The words to agree and add to their nonsense was painful.

Eventually they started to notice I wasn’t joining in.  You know what happens when you don’t join in? You get attacked.  All of a sudden “you’re too good” or “you’re all holy”.  You become the sandpaper.  When someone is stirring up drama and you don’t participate, they have no one to share with and so their words bounce off of you and come back to them.  They honestly see how gross it is but they don’t want to stop.  Instead of recognizing how gross their words are and making a change, they will turn on you. They want to get mad at the person not going along with the mess anymore.  They want to get mad at the person who is bringing it to their attention that what they’re doing is wrong.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

I grew away from these relationships.  I chose to not associate with these type of people in close relationship.  I didn’t like who I was when I was with them.  I didn’t like how I felt when I left them.  I also started hanging around ‘healthy’ women who did more with their time than talk about other people.  It showed me that healthy relationships DID exist.

The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  Period.  Point blank.  It doesn’t get any clearer than that.

If this message lights a fire inside your heart and you feel convicted … I want to encourage you to turn away.  I want to encourage you to run the other direction.  You are better than this and there is MORE to life than this.  There are healthy relationships and you can be apart of them.  Ask God to show you your heart.  Ask him to reveal the areas where you have spoken toxic words and WHY you speak them.  What’s the root?  What’s making you crave that drama and speak those negative things?

I was simply broken.  I was insecure. I felt abandoned.

When I played in the puddle of drama I felt accepted.  I felt apart of my group.  … but I also left feeling worse than when I showed up.  The words coming out of my mouth were a side effect of the stuff in my heart.  Resentment, anger, jealousy, hurt, bitterness, trust issues, … a bunch of stuff that God doesn’t want there.

You were made for such a time as this.  Don’t waste it being hindered by toxic relationships.  It’s time to lay your heart open before Jesus and soar.

Your friend,

April

Get Up!

bethesda

John 5 has been on my heart since this weekend.  In John 5:1-9 Jesus has an exchange with an “invalid” (sick/ill) man.  It’s only 9 verses of scripture but it has rocked my world.

Check it out:

John 5Amplified Bible (AMP)

Later on there was a Jewish festival (feast) for which Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Now there is in Jerusalem a pool near the Sheep Gate. This pool in the Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porches (alcoves, colonnades, doorways).

In these lay a great number of sick folk—some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)—[a]waiting for the bubbling up of the water.

For an angel of the Lord went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was afflicted.

There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years.

When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?]

The invalid answered, Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come [into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me.

Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk!

Instantly the man became well and recovered his strength and picked up his bed and walked.

A few things stand out to me here.

1. The man was going about his normal routine. He had been ill for 38 years.  Today was a normal day. The man was not on some spiritual journey to get better.  The man was simply waiting near the pool.

2. Jesus approached the man.  The man was not looking for Jesus.  The whole start of this scripture is about Jesus going to Jerusalem and Jesus noticing the man. Jesus saw the man could do nothing for himself.  He was helpless.

       The definition of helpless:

help·less
adjective 
unable to defend oneself or to act without help.

3. Jesus asks the man does he want to become well. Why does God ask us questions when he already knows the answer?  The answer is not for him to hear, I think it’s for us to hear.  When we speak aloud we prophesy over ourselves.

4. The man responds with excuses. The man doesn’t answer with just a simple ‘yes”.  The man gets wordy with why he can’t get to the pool to receive healing.  We do this, don’t we?  Instead of just addressing the issues directly (which usually stem from us) we start dragging people down with us to point out all their flaws and how they’re hindering us instead of just taking simple responsibly for ourselves.

5. Jesus tells him to get up, pick up your mat and walk.  Jesus doesn’t even respond to the man’s excuses.  Jesus doesn’t rub the man’s back and enable him.  Jesus, who approached the man in the first place, comes with a question – do you want to be well? – and then comes with a directive – “Get up and walk”.  Super simple.

6. Instantly the man is healed.  The man took Jesus at his word.  He didn’t make more excuses or sulk in his disabilities.  The man moved.  For 38 years this man was ill and in an instant, after an encounter with Jesus, he got up and walked.

I’m tellin’ ya! I read this and it just leveled me.  God is so faithful.  He approaches us.  We don’t even have to run after him.  We can just be going about our day and all of a sudden Jesus is there.  I’m not sure if you have caught on by now but when Jesus is there – things change.  The atmosphere changes in the presence of Jesus.

This scripture removes the pressure for me. The pressure to be “Christian enough” is removed.  The truth is – we’ll never be enough, we’ll never do enough good, we’ll never read our Bible enough or pray enough …  but Jesus is enough.  I don’t think Jesus calls us to do more, I think Jesus wants to come along side us in our every day stuff, our every day junk and let himself be enough.  He won’t leave you there, invalid.

Jesus is not about rules. He’s about relationship.  Our lives should be a response to our relationship with Jesus.

Where has Jesus approached you today?  What questions is he asking your heart?  Is it time to get up and walk?

Blessings my friend!

April Poynter