Hello, readers. Yesterday (even though the post says Dec. 27; not sure what calendar the program’s using), I wrote about trying new things in the new year, in the interest of taking down the Possibility Murderer. But how about knowing new things, as well?
If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I’ve talked about this a lot. We could all stand to know some new things: the shifting therapy paradigm, how to communicate with people who seem incapable of it, and other such things. But how about knowing new people? Knowing yourself?
You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Well, I’ll tell you. I’m dropping most of the rhetoric for the moment and getting intensely personal. In my journey through the new world of advocacy, I’ve been praying a lot. I’ve prayed for God to let me listen to His voice over the voices of others–including disability rights activists or “gurus,” as it were, who I might think know everything, but don’t, because they’re human. I’ve prayed for Him to keep me from painting doctors, therapists, and other such people as antagonists toward people with disabilities, even though the medical model of disability–and the people who perpetuate it–have the ability to make me angry enough to throw a hairbrush into my window blinds (yeah, I did that once). I’ve prayed He would show me how to use my new knowledge, and give people with disabilities what they truly need.
When I prayed this last one, I got the answer: “People with disabilities need to know Me.” It’s the standard Christian answer, in a way. My faith–and my church–will tell you that God’s will for any person is a personal relationship with Him, rather than doing specific things for Him. But–confession time–up until recently, that answer got on my nerves. That’s right–Christianity’s answer really bugged me. I agreed with it, but it did.
Confession time part two: I’m an ever-recovering legalist. I used to think that to have a relationship with God, one followed a specific recipe, as it were:
1. Read Bible daily
2. Pray daily, for others above self, and don’t waste too much time talking about what you want or how you feel
3. Attend church
4. Perform Christian service
Mix well. This will help you know God and keep doubts about your salvation (and thus eternal destiny) away. I say this as someone who became a Christian at age 9–then again at 11, then again at 12. The idea of hell–ahem–scared the hell out of me. So to combat Satan’s games of mental chess, I buckled down and got legalistic. The best way to know God was to follow the recipe.
Not that prayer and the Bible and church aren’t important parts of this. They are, and I’d never say differently. But after awhile–my Bible got boring. I got tired of praying for the latest list of cancers, kidney stones, mysterious illnesses the doctors couldn’t diagnose, accidents, etc. It felt like a checklist. And I got tired of my question: “What’s God’s will?” being answered: “To know Jesus.” Okay–but what ELSE? Work with me!
Funny thing about Jesus. He works with me–but not the way I expect.
So, you know I was praying recently and got the same answer, right? So I said, “Okay, I get that. Your will is for them to become Christians.”
And He said,
“No. Not to become Christians in the sense that you’re thinking. To know me as a Person–just like you’d get to know any other Person.”
Whoa. Back up this bus (the perfectly accessible bus, thanks). You mean, I can think of Jesus Christ–God Himself–as a person? I can read His Word, but get a fresh “word” from talking to Him? And He’ll talk to me about this advocacy thing? I’ll know what to do as I go, without the ritualized stuff? (Which I should’ve realized earlier, considering how I feel about other ritualized stuff like therapy, IEP or IHP “goals,” and the like).
Know how I know? Because I was writing another post, and I felt like I should write this one instead. Obeying a nudge, as it were.
Am I saying all of you should become Christians? Even believe in Jesus? I’ll be honest: I do want that. Jesus is pretty cool, and through His Word, he asks–commands–that I witness for Him, so it is a responsibility for me. But if you don’t choose my path, that’s fine. I’ll still love and like you. I’ll still listen to your POV and think you’re cool. Heck, I’ll like you and think you’re cool even if you think I’m a radical, over-intellectual, doctor-and-therapy-bashing, Jesus freak nut job. Actually, I’d be flattered. But don’t believe in my Jesus. I’m human. And as my journey through legalism can tell you, I often get Jesus “wrong.” I’m human, so all I can do is the best I can–through Him, who says I’m perfect. (For a perfectionist like me, how cool is that?) Get to know Him yourself, if you choose. And as you truly know Him, may you reach out to truly know others–even and especially those with disabilities. And people with disabilities, may you reach out and truly know yourselves–not the person everybody else, especially those in Disabilityland has defined for you.
Okay, I think I’m done here. I just wanted you guys to know where the root of my advocacy and new journey comes from. Blessings and peace.