“When you finally accept that it’s OK not to have answers and it’s OK not to be perfect, you realize that feeling confused is a normal part of what it is to be a human being.” – Winona Ryder
It’s hard to believe it’s September already. The kids are back in school, family vacations time are over, soccer and baseball leagues are in full swing, and fall is just around the corner. The chaos of summer has been replaced by a renewed sense of rhythm. Time for moms like us to exhale a little bit, right? The truth is some of us can but some of us can’t. Life just seems to be nutty year round. Such is the case for me.
Since school started in August, I have been following doctor’s orders and having my youngest son evaluated for ADHD. We are just beginning our journey of discovery of this condition and I can already see we have a long way to go. Maybe you can relate to what I’m going through. I had no idea there would be so many appointments with so many different doctors in so many different places just to get a diagnosis that I already suspected. Not to mention meeting with school staff to set up an education plan and regular parent-teacher conferences. Quite honestly, I’m completely exhausted and we’re not even finished yet.
The internet, and Pinterest in particular, have been very helpful in educating me about it. There are so many amazing resources out there to help parents understand what their child is going through and how moms and dads can be the parents their child now needs. All of these articles are wonderful and I’m thankful for every one of them. But what I’ve found so far has made me hit pause and take a closer look at the people around me, not to mention at myself.
The symptoms I have learned about so far clearly fit my son. Symptoms like impulsiveness, wiggling, talking a lot, an occasional “zoning out”, stubbornness, violent or unexplained outbursts, and being easily distracted. Yep, that’s him alright. But what I also find interesting is that the description fits a lot of other people I know too, including me.
Is Anyone Normal?
Maybe I am a bit ADHD and I don’t even know it, and maybe so are many others. Who knows? Maybe ADHD is a lot more common than anyone realizes. Maybe it’s completely normal. Which begs the question, “what is normal?” Does it mean that anyone who fidgets or tends to jibber jabber or sometimes needs a long mental break is ADHD? What if you’re the introverted type and you prefer to be alone? Does that qualify you?
Take me for example. I’m the kind of person who can’t sit still. It takes a lot for me to just sit down and watch a movie. I enjoy being busy even if it means that I’m the one mowing the grass, washing the car, and painting the house instead of my husband. I can cook dinner for my family of five while reading the newspaper, handling the laundry, answering the phone, and keeping up with what the kids are watching on the television. Some call that being a multi-tasker, and many people can do it, especially us moms (they don’t call us octopuses for nothing, right?). I have always believed I am a multi-tasker, but now, because of my son, I wonder what’s it all about.
My husband is the opposite of me. He does not need to be busy constantly. He is perfectly content to sit down and watch movies or sports all day long. He’s completely okay with the car being filthy and the paint chipping off the walls. He’s so laid back he could fall asleep at any moment. What does that say about him when it comes to ADHD?
Now, I’m really trying hard not to overanalyze myself or anyone else. I don’t want to gain some kind of wacky perspective of things. But sometimes you just can’t help it. And maybe it’s ultimately a good thing to take stock and really see how you’re doing and where you stand on things. I believe that when something happens in life that makes you stop and think, if it’s anything that makes you go “hmmm”, that it just might be the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Help is On the Way
The night of His last Passover supper with His disciples, Jesus promised that He would send us a Helper. In the book of John, He foretells the coming of the Holy Spirit four times. John 14:16 best spells out what we should know:
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him or knows Him. But you know Him for He dwells in you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
When we come to faith, upon receiving forgiveness we also receive the Holy Spirit. He begins to dwell inside of us. He’s that “still, small voice” you hear when you need to make decisions and find solutions. In the Disney movie, “Pinocchio”, Jiminy Cricket was depicted as that small voice, but we who know the Lord know that it’s really the Spirit of the Living God who helps us and abides with us.
He helps us to make good choices, and He also helps us with self-improvement. Part of Him being a helper is that He is our counselor. Since He is perfect in all His ways, it means He’s pretty good at counseling and that makes Him exceptionally qualified to guide us through self-assessments on our quest to be “normal.” And when we have bad days and the doubts seem to creep in, He’s right there being our Comforter.
And so this is what He’s reminding me of– that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and the work of His hands are perfect.
Being “Normal” is Whatever God Made You to Be
However you view yourself or anyone else, we have to remember that we were all made with God’s perfect hands in His perfect image and His plans for us are good (Psalm 139:14). We know that we have value and we matter to Him far more than any birds or flowers (Matthew 6:26). But if this is true (and it is) why do we sometimes worry about why we are the way we are, or why we’re not like that other person. Why don’t we seem to be or feel more normal?
Well, what exactly is normal? The short answer is that normal is whatever God made you to be. He made you just as you need to be and just as He needs you to be to fulfill His eternal plan in bringing judgment, salvation, and eternal life for everyone. You play a small part in that eternal plan and God knew that you were going to have trouble playing that part sometimes. That’s why He sent a helper, the Holy Spirit.
With the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we can have the assurance that everything is going to be okay and that we ourselves will be okay as long as we remain faithful to Him. As far as He’s concerned, we are plenty normal.
Your Brand of Normal is Uniquely Yours
Being normal not dependent on culture or the latest fashion trend, who your friends are, how big your house is, where or if you go on vacation, or how much money you have. And it’s certainly not based on what anyone thinks about you. Your type of normalness is unique to you and only you. God made you special, and He thinks you’re doing just fine. That’s all that matters.
So in essence, it doesn’t matter if you have ADHD or an IEP to with it, or for that matter TMJ or PMS or any other acronym, or if you even suspect that you may have those tendencies. God made you the way you’re supposed to be, but the Holy Spirit can help refine you as you walk the path of life. He’s your helper. He’ll see you through. Jesus reminds us of this in John 16:33,
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We have a long road ahead of us with my son, but I know he’s going to be fine, so-called normal or not. And so will I. We serve a big, big God who loves us with a crazy kind of love. With His Spirit guiding our way, we can be sure that we have nothing to fear. It’s all good.
Still, anytime He’s ready to slow things down a bit, I’m ready.
“I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works. And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14
What’s your family’s style of normal? How has it challenged you as a parent, and how do you embrace it? How has the Holy Spirit sustained you? Join the conversation here.