I had no malice in my heart as a second grader when my teacher told the class to be quiet. The rest of the class obeyed. My short attention span contributed to my cluelessness.
The next thing I heard was a harsh, “JUDY!”
My heart began beating out of control. I felt my body temperature rising. Suddenly on center stage, I didn’t know my part. The slow motion milliseconds seemed like eternity.
I remember my teacher being a nice pleasant-faced woman, but at that moment I saw a statue-faced mannequin piercing my seven-year old soul. I heard another stern “QUIET” directed only at me.
Since then decades have passed along with subconscious memories and over-compensation on many levels.
I managed to live a majority of my life undiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Yes, I’ve home-schooled my four children and continually struggled with managing my home and relationships before an official diagnosis and treatment was ever considered.
I admit my skepticism after being thoroughly tested by a psychologist who told me, “Judy, imagine trying to run a marathon with a broken leg.” That was his version of my functionality without treatment.
I said, “Really, Doc? Aren’t you being a bit dramatic? Haven’t I done just fine all these years?” That was my version of my functionality without treatment.
I realize everyone has blind spots and limited self awareness. I just needed to make the connection that MY blind spot here could be one of my symptoms. Aha! I followed up with research, meds, and battery of post tests. Yes, I needed treatment for something I’ve been living with all my life!
I embrace the imperfections of my brain.
I usually have a pencil or highlighter in my hand while reading. My Bible looks like a coloring book with certain words and passages in orange, yellow, or blue. I’ve written my prayers to help me focus. I’ve learned to be aware of my family’s experiences of me. I’ve become mindful of my own scattered thoughts and no longer automatically expect others to follow my rabbit trails. I sometimes unintentionally over-medicate by drinking more caffeine than I should. I’m typically hyper-focused with clients in my office. I welcome treatment medically and cognitively for my ADD! It does make a difference.
WHAT I PONDER AT THIS STAGE IN MY LIFE IS THIS:
I’m learning to pay attention to what I’m paying attention to.
Read that sentence again slowly.
I’M LEARNING TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I’M PAYING ATTENTION TO.
I ask the Lord almost every morning as I sit by the flaming gas fireplace in our living room,
“where is my heart being stirred?” . . .
“what has energized me over the last 24 hours?” . . .
“what am I excited about?” . . . .
”what person, event or interaction has occupied my energy?” . . .
“what has lingered on from my dreams?” . . .
“what emotions am I feeling?” . . .
“Lord, where have you shown up?” . . .
“How have I responded to You when I’ve noticed your Presence?” . . .
“what blocks in my life are keeping me from noticing?” . . .
“WHAT AM I PAYING ATTENTION TO?”
What I normally do is write in a quality bound journal. The date and time goes at the top of the page. My observations are written in list form. Some days the list is long. Other days, it’s short with only one or two items. I may include a reference or phrase from Scripture to ponder further.
For me, this morning space in my day is intentional awareness of God’s touch on my own soul. His gentle invitations to me is totally opposite from my teacher’s stern face. He understands my distractibility like no other. He knows my heart and calls me His beloved.
May you pay attention to what you’re paying attention to.