Developing My Person

I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy in 1986. Since then, I have been on a journey for personal development. For many years, my decision-making was framed by highly opinionated people. I’d hear: “You should do this!” That’s not right!” “Do that.” “I think you should_______. “You shouldn’t do this because…”

Every mistake I’d make was a source of constant shame. The opinion was unanimous about my insufficiency. If I consider the repetitive assault on my faults, this entry would never be completed.

I could not tie my shoes “correctly”.

My dad tried to show me  the “loop swoop and pull” method. Recalling Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy”, I’m sure there are people who tie their shoes this way. For me, the method had too many details. Swooping the bow under to make a knot was extremely difficult. I would end up confused after many trials. The “bunny ears” method was easier.I tie my shoes that way, and I like bunnies. Crossing two bunny ears is effective even when the shoestrings are too long.

I could not kick.

When you have Cerebral Palsy, kicks can be painful. Range of motion is always a issue because (CP) is a disability that affects motor skills and coordination. Whenever I tried to kick, my legs could not go very high. My kicks we  wimpy in my estimation. My karate days never came.

I could not control or lose my temper. My feelings about many things were never truly fair.

I was almost always judged for that.I was always too loud, too happy, too temperamental, or too quiet. These behaviors were all my attempt to compensate for the day to day experience of having Cerebral Palsy. High school was a roller-coaster. Music and poetry were outlets that expressed everything that I could not verbalize confidently. I overcompensated, and had a limited grasp on the things that made me truly happy.

I also  struggled with seizures, balance, therapy, education, and relationships, I was overwhelmed much of the time mentally and physically, by people who —if you let them tell it—were only trying to help.

All this help did not truly help me all the time.  I wasn’t in a position to see it. After all, what do I know about anything?  I’m disabled… and that means my thoughts about things are of limited importance.

I didn’t realize that when your instincts are easily influenced by the “help” of others, governing one’s self is difficult. Given this scenario, when are we able to know what thoughts and opinions are truly ours?

I often reflect and thank God for all the times when I have been blessed to turn the other cheek and be merciful to those who have hurt me.

I reflect on this scripture:

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us.- Berean Study Bible

I have been working to develop who I am in God. It’s hard work. I’m busy often forgiving myself and forgiving others, trying to do my part to right the past, before my life is done. Also, I’m learning to save room for God. It’s hard to wait on him to purge my heart.

Having the mind of Christ, is a constant hunt for grace and mercy. It’s also a constant struggle to deliver justice with out anger and strife.  No one is perfect, which is why as we continue developing our inner person, we must never think that WE’VE made it.

I am understanding that great people in authority don’t need to compete to be recognized. There’s a calm confidence that emerges when someone in a position of responsibility is truly respected for the appropriate purpose. Character is rewarded when grace achieves its perfect work.


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