ADHD Prayers: God, Did You Get That?

 

Confession time! Sometimes praying together in groups is really difficult for me. It’s not that I don’t care about the prayer requests of others, it’s more of an issue with paying attention and staying focused.

There were times when I would be in a group of at least ten people. We’d be sitting in a circle, each of us presenting our requests for prayer. Each of us with a back story to our requests for divine intervention.

As I mentioned, I care about each and every individual that asks for prayer, but by the second or third person my attention span would start diminishing. I once made a habit out of writing down every request in a mini-notebook so I could remember everyone’s needs during the week, but even that began to take great efforts in focusing. Doodle, doodle, write, doodle, doodle, write…grocery list, to-do lists, and…back to writing prayer requests.

Eventually it would be my turn to share. I would start out on point but within a few sentences I would be on my ADHD rabbit trail of thoughts. Sometimes I would pause and think to myself, “What was it again that I’m asking for prayer about

Soon it would be time to pray out loud. Prayer time would take on a stomach turning feeling. It was knowing that I would have to sit silently listening to between ten and twelve people praying. I would now have to be still in my seat, or worse, sitting on someone’s living room carpet, cross legged, toes numb, trying my best to sit upright and not doze off.

Were these thoughts and actions appropriate from a Christian woman in the midst of prayer?  No, they weren’t; but the reality is these were the thoughts, actions, and feelings I experienced. I wish ADHD was an excuse, it’s not, but it certainly is a cause and a reason for my struggles with staying focused and paying attention during group prayer times. There were people who told me confidently that this issue was a spiritual battle; it was spiritual warfare they said.

I would love to blame my issues with focusing on that ever-so distracting horned devil and his pitchfork, but the real issue is and remains a problem resulting from ADHD. Having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is not a spiritual attack from some evil supernatural force. As I continue to work on mindfulness and meditation techniques, my ability to focus during prayer has increased, but I still have a long way to go. There are those with ADHD who have no struggles with staying focused during long sessions of prayer requests and praying; I consider those of you in this category lucky!

Power of Prayer - Max Lucado

ADHD becomes a spiritual battle when you let others convince you that your symptoms are not real. Or when people accuse you of not “trying hard enough”. It becomes a spiritual battle when people call you lazy. The spiritual battle continues when you fall into the vicious cycle of self-doubt, resulting from years of embarrassing mistakes or a series of memorable failures. The spiritual battle is sometimes that feeling of rejection and loneliness because you once again unintentionally pissed someone off and are now filled with anxiety, guilt, anger, and hurt. You can say, “I’m sorry”, but you can never say, “I won’t do that again,” or “This is the last time I _____,” because you know that with ADHD it is never the last time that you’ll be late. It is never the last time that something stupid, embarrassing, or oops, will ever come flying out of your mouth. It will never be that last time that anxiousness, worry, and fatigue has made you a prickly person to be around.

You see, it’s not ADHD that is a spiritual battle, it’s the emotions and feelings that result from dealing with this disorder that create spiritual struggles. Your disorder is not a sin.

Thankfully God is everywhere, and He is always there to listen to us in prayer. I may not have been able to be fully focused during group prayer times, but God is understanding. I trust that my prayer time, regardless of how often I have to refocus myself, is welcomed by God. He is faithful to us, even those of us with ADHD prayer requests. The disordered thoughts of our prayers exit our minds and mouths, and get straight to God all clear and in order.

Adhd and faith challenges

Advertisements

ADHD and Gossip

monkey gossip

Happy Belated New Year! I’m not sure if it’s actually belated seeing as we are only two weeks into the year, but somehow wishing someone a happy new year past the first week of the year feels a little less exciting.

As a person who needs structure and a schedule to function at my best, I am happy the holiday season is over and regular activities have resumed. I hope you had a good, if not, great Christmas with some time for rest in between.

I worked throughout the Christmas season and it was not a pleasant time for me. My employers have “security” cameras almost everywhere in the building. When staff are bored, which is quite often, they like to watch what their co-workers are doing on camera and report every little exaggerated detail to management. Having both ADHD and an anxiety disorder made this job feel almost unbearable. If there is one thing many people with ADHD have a difficult time with, it’s boredom.

Boredom in the workplace is a great motivator for office gossip. I worked at gossip central. This would have been a great way to pass the time and bond with my co-workers if I had actually enjoyed gossiping and spreading malicious information about others. I took no part in the game of gossip because I learned a great lesson from Dr. Phil over a decade ago. The great doctor once said, “People who gossip with you, will gossip about you.”

“He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy conceals a matter” Proverbs 11:13.

Being bored and the need for mental stimulation can easily lead a person with ADHD into a gossip situation. Who doesn’t love an exciting story! Who doesn’t want to know who did what and why? Gossip might sound great in the moment, but it causes harm to people’s reputation sometimes instantly, and sometimes slowly over time. Gossip is always wrong because the intentions of the activity is to emotionally harm another person personally.

Gossiping can be sign of passive aggressive behaviour, vindictiveness and insecurity. Gossip harms another person by isolating them, possibly telling lies about them, disregarding their privacy, and disempowering them.

1 gossip

Engaging in idle talk about others is asking for trouble if your ADHD symptoms involve excessive talking, unmanaged emotional regulation, the need for constant excitement and stimulation, and problems with memory. You might even be a target of workplace gossip due to your symptoms. Are you often late with assignments, or late for work; are you forgetful; do you often misplace items needed for doing your job; is your work space cluttered and messy? With ADHD you are an easy target for gossip, so it is best not to engage in it.

When people start gossiping, don’t contribute to the conversation. If you are in a position of power or influence, use it to stop the gossip. If someone is complaining about something someone else has done, encourage that person to speak to the individual or to take time to think about what’s bothering them.

“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

During times when you are tempted to gossip find other things to do that draw you away from the gossipers or the gossip it self. If gossip occurs during break time, focus on your food and beverage. A full mouth can’t gossip. Be careful not to let off steam by talking to co-workers about the person you are upset with. It can be difficult at times, but it is always in your best interest not to speak poorly about a co-worker. Discuss work issues appropriately and with the appropriate persons. The intention should be to clarify and solve a problem. If you’re not interested in solving an issue, then you’re gossiping.

This isn’t an easy area to address. The temptation to gossip can be strong during certain situations in the workforce. My hope in writing this blog post is to help serve as a reminder to those of us with ADHD who have to deal with gossip in the workplace. Let’s share our frustrations with God first instead of with others.

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit” Psalm 34:13.