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ADHD and Peace at Christmas

Christmas Peace

It’s December, and as some of you already know, it can become the busiest, most overwhelming, and stress filled month. There are additional social get togethers, Christmas fine arts events, potlucks and baked goods to prepare, decorating, and gift buying.

I’ve never been a big believer in Christmas being about Christ. I don’t believe Christ is the reason for the season. I always ask people, “If you didn’t receive any gifts, and you didn’t have a big Christmas meal, and no one invited you to their Christmas parties. If you had nothing at Christmas except Jesus, would you still be happy?” I doubt that most professing Christians would be happy if they didn’t receive any gifts or engage in any secular Christmas activities; and this is why I don’t believe that Jesus is the reason for the season.

I’ve learned that with ADHD Christmas can easily become an overwhelming season that leaves us depleted rather than replenished. The additional stress of having to remember things, planning for different tasks and events, schedule changes, a poor diet of holiday goodies, and less sleep is not healthy for those struggling with executive functions and additional disorders such as depression and anxiety.

If you really want Jesus to be the reason for the season, then give yourself the gift of self care, step back, and use your extra time to slow down. God isn’t calling us to celebrate the birth and life of Christ by engaging in excess consumerism and wearing our self out with busyness. Remember, Jesus has given us his peace, not peace in the sense of an absence of war; because that is not what he was talking about. What he has given us is a gift of internal peace where he invites us to come alongside him to offer our burdens to God. God gives us strength to make it through the day and face any challenge, but we also have to use the wisdom of His spirit in making decisions about what types of burdens we will invite into our life.

God knows and understands that having ADHD limits how much extra we can handle in our life. Let Christ be your focus at Christmas and his peace will be with you. Those hectic days will be replaced with a sense of peace that guides you to make healthy decisions about what to say yes to and what to decline during the holidays.

I encourage those of you with ADHD to give yourself permission to slow down during the busyness of the season. Refocus and make intentional time for Jesus. Every year I re-read the story of Jesus’ birth, John the Baptist, and some passages from the Old Testament where the prophets assure us that our God is a god of fulfilled promises; as He certainly is.

happy_holidays_

 

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ADHD: Spiritual Discipline of Confession

Spiritual Disciplines and ADHD: A Series

Part 4 of the ADHD and Spiritual Disciplines Series: Confession

Confession:Self-examination is a process whereby the Holy Spirit opens my heart to what is true about me. This is not the same thing as a neurotic shame-inducing inventory. Instead it is a way of opening myself to God within the safety of his love so I can authentically seek transformation. Confession embraces Christ’s gift of forgiveness and restoration while setting us on the path to renewal and change.” Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

It seems as if our culture has shifted towards a society of people who avoid acknowledging personal wrongs, or when they do, they justify their actions with self-esteem boosting excuses. There isn’t a human being on this earth who isn’t perfect; and knowing this should hopefully make it easier for us to admit what we have done wrong.

As Christians, God doesn’t embrace our excuses for why we have sinned, but we can have peace knowing that we are not doomed. He doesn’t accept our excuses because He is a loving God and He wants us to approach Him with integrity, honesty, and a heart of repentance. The results of approaching God with honesty is a clear conscience, a deeper relationship with Him, and the transforming wisdom that will come from God’s response to our confession.

Having ADHD means that we will often unintentionally commit wrongs against others on a regular basis; it is the negative results of having challenges with executive functioning, irregular moods, anxiety, and the increased stressed of having attention deficit. God knows the true circumstances and reasons behind the thoughts and behaviours of each person; He knows how ADHD effects individuals and can easily lead to a variety of wrongdoing. ADHD isn’t an excuse for sinning, but it certainly helps to explain why certain habits prove to be more difficult to overcome.

Confession helps those with attention deficit deal with the aftermath of wrongdoing. It allows us to be honest with God and others about what we have done and seek ways of making changes in our self. The act of confession won’t eliminate ADHD, but it can certainly help believers manage their symptoms.

True confession helps lift the shame that those with ADHD unnecessarily burden themselves with. Confession doesn’t bring shame, because God does not shame us, instead He embraces us and reminds us that we are forgiven. He blesses us with his Holy Spirit who empowers us to continue moving forward in the life long process of spiritual transformation.

REFLECTION:

If you are looking for additional resources to help you with this specific spiritual discipline, the following is a link to a Catholic resource on confession. Even if you are not Roman Catholic, there are some great prompts listed for self-examination for you to consider. http://www.netusa.org/guidetoconfession/

 

Joy of confession and forgiveness

I Will Rise!

I’m posting this very encouraging and powerful Reblog here even though it has nothing to do with having ADHD, I think it’s important to remember that as believers we always have a hope. The struggle with Executive Functions , impatience, attention deficits and other challenges will often lead us to fail over and over, BUT, we can’t lose our ability to get back up and rise again, to do otherwise would be complete failure.

Define ‘Better’

This is a great blog post to get you thinking about how we define “Better” when treating ADHD.

Attentionality

“We started a new ADHD treatment for our daughter Chloe, and she’s doing much better.”

If this is your friend talking, or if you’re an ADHD nerd like me, this is a wonderful thing to hear. Oddly, though, no one knows precisely what you mean by ‘better’.  Behavior is complex and varied. Young Girl Reading by Mary Cassatt. 1908‘Better’ could mean a thousand things including more focused, less fidgety, less oppositional or longer attention span. So let’s dig a little:

“So she’s less hyperactive now?”

“No, she was never hyperactive.”

“Less distracted?”

“No. That’s about the same.”

“Less impulsive?” 

“No, she was never impulsive. She has inattentive ADHD, not the rowdy, troublemaker kind”

“So what does ‘doing much better’ mean?”

“She’s sleeping better and less negative around us.”

The parents among us all recognize the positive changes. But I’m not sure the treatment is working. For an ADHD treatment to work–please excuse this ridiculously obvious point–Chloe’s…

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