Hi everyone! Last week Ivan talked about being open to what we don’t know. “Knowing” we don’t know everything is the key to personal growth and gaining more…knowledge!
But let’s zoom in a bit closer and only focus on knowing people. What don’t you know about the people in your life? What don’t your people know about you? Take me for a guinea pig. My picture looks pretty normal. You’d never know from looking at me that:
- Sometimes I can’t make the 2 min drive to my parents’ condo.
- Those headphones aren’t for music, they’re for extra brain protection.
- Same deal with the sunglasses (notice how I’m in the shade).
- I often keep my eyes closed to avoid headlights even when we drive during the daytime
- I’m almost never outside long enough to take a picture
- I have titanium rods in both my legs, even though I’m standing on some uneven gravel in the picture 😉
What if you talked to me in person, or even just read the blog? I sound (and write) pretty normal, so you might not realize that:
- My traumatic brain injury is still very real (reading and writing are the only skills that haven’t been affected in some way)
- I have seizures frequently – almost every day
- If I did talk to you in person, I could only do it for about 15 minutes. Otherwise I might get too tired and have a seizure later that day.
- I’ve had two strokes. I get so tired that I usually nap twice a day!
I’m just one person. One normal-looking person. What about everyone else? People can smile and have a normal conversation and go out to dinner in spite of lots of things. Maybe they, like me, have an invisible disability or illness. What about other life issues like problems with friends, problems with family, problems with finances, or problems with a career? And then there’s mental health problems…emotional health problems…spiritual health problems.
Many invisible problems stay invisible for a reason. Society tells us that happiness means being pretty and successful. Or at least looking like it.
I’m so thankful there’s another way! The Apostle Paul had an invisible disability, too. “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me” (2 Corinthians 9:8-10). As believers, God calls us to look real, not pretty. Transparency about our weaknesses – whatever they might be – proves that He can love and save literally any kind of person.
Some day God might heal your health issue, solve your family conflict, close your emotional wound. Or He might not, but give you grace to shine through it instead. You have unique potential to put His power in the spotlight either way!
On that note: we also need to radiate grace to those around us. That coworker who’s picking at every little flaw in your project? Your friend who suddenly quit replying to your texts? That person in class who has to raise their hand for EVERY single question? And the proverbial dude who cuts you off on the freeway? What do we not know about them? They could have a million issues stuffed away inside…
4 thoughts on “Picture (not) Perfect”
Great post. Thank you!
I have a nephew with a degenerative eye disease. He is blind, but looking at a picture of him, or him standing with his friends, that would not be obvious (unless he’s holding his cane). He has limited peripheral vision but no central vision. Because he has limited peripheral vision, he wears glasses. Wait, why would a blind kid wear glasses? That’s the standard reaction. He must be “legally” blind but not “really” blind. Not true. One needs to know him to know his blindness.
So, while it is not me, I can relate in some small way.
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Hi Tim! Thanks for sharing! He sounds like one brave guy. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to go through each day seeing nothing. Praying God will strengthen your family!
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God has certainly given you and Ivan grace to shine through the “different ability” instead. You guys really ARE putting His power in the spotlight! I believe it was no accident that you write better than most of the population, and have more experience than most of the population. God is shining his light through your life and through your story. Thank you for helping us remember to look beyond what we see!
I am so grateful that you have the ability to write and tell your story. You are so uplifting in your expressions through writing and yet you deal with life in a unique way through your disabilities that you face daily. You are such an encouragement to me and it gives me the ability to pray more effectively for you. Thank you for who you are in Christ!