I used to love watching Monk. People would talk about how amazing it was that he noticed the tiniest things and he’d always say, “It’s a blessing AND a curse.”
I kind of had a revelation the other day as I was doing some writing. Over and over throughout the years, I’ve been told (in different ways) that I was too sensitive, that I take things too personally, or that I care about things too much.
Yet as I was writing, it occurred to me that my sensitivity was actually what often helps me to connect to other people. I tend to reach out to others who seem to need a friend. Or when I was working, I was good at putting the right people on the right tasks because I was sensitive to their strengths and how much they enjoyed certain tasks.
Yes, my sensitivity can be a downfall when it causes me to take things too personally or to focus on the things going wrong, but I read a great article called How Your Greatest Insecurities Reveal Your Deepest Gifts.
Over the years, I realized that the characteristics of my clients which I found most inspiring, most essentially them, were the ones which frequently caused them the most suffering.
Now, that author is specifically relating his Gift Theory to dating relationships. (It’s his specialty.) But I really saw how many of us stumble because we fail to see the gift behind what might be a challenge for us.
Or what about your child? We laugh that every one of my husband’s report cards said, “Talks too much,” but that talking is considered his strength as a salesman.
I remember going to one of Lisa Whelchel’s MomTime Conference years ago and she talked about how one of her kids was a REAL talker. He talked A LOT, even at inappropriate times, and could get himself into a lot of trouble even with the things he said. One night as she was discussing the latest incident with him, she told her son that she KNEW that God gave him his wit, humor, and gift of gab, yet that when God gives someone a strength, often times Satan will try to find ways to block it or make it into a bad thing. Basically, she was saying, I embrace who you are and this special quality about you, but you’re just going to use discernment so that you use your gift in good ways rather than bad ways.
That’s always stuck with me because I have three boys with the gift of gab and a strong sense of humor.
Carol Barnier also talks a lot a lot about looking for the gift in your child, whether it’s bouncy, bouncy energy or shyness. As parents we have to learn to focus on God’s vision of our children . . . not the world’s. If you get on Carol’s Sizzle Bop email list, she’ll remind you of many great things about highly distractable people.
And do you remember the Beijing Olympics? Michael Phelps wowed everyone there with his swimming. He was like the poster-child for ADHD as a kid. In an interview with Good Housekeeping, his mother, Deborah Phelps, described him as a kid:
He was always full of energy. He’d talk constantly, and ask questions nonstop. He also had trouble focusing in school, and his teachers said they couldn’t get him to interact during learning time. He was always pushing, nudging, shoving, and fidgeting. It was hard for him to listen unless it was something that really captivated his attention, so you can imagine what bedtime was like!
Then she describes how swimming became a great way to channel those qualities:
Swimmers have to develop good time management when they’re juggling school work and hours of practice. The pool itself helped Michael, too. ADHD children need parameters. There’s nothing better for that than two lane lines! Even if Michael’s mind was all over the place, he could focus on going up and down the pool. Plus, water itself has a calming, soothing effect. I think the pool became a safe haven where he could release his energy. But it’s not just swimming that helped Michael; it was finding his passion and channeling his energy in that direction.
If you find yourself struggling with some of your qualities or qualities in your children, why not pray and ask God to reframe those things for you? Ask HIM to give you His perspective and to see if those challenges might actually be gifts in disguise!