The Gospel is the Answer to Addiction

I first truly encountered Jesus in 2012.

Before I encountered Jesus, my life was ruled by fear and anxiety.
I thought I wasn’t “good enough”. I was afraid to try in school out of fear of rejection if I did try. I was a listener and a follower. I drank too much. I started doing drugs. I came close to having to go to juvie.

I was going to church. I was involved in youth group.
Yet, I was living for myself.

In 2012, I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with my church. It was then where I finally realized that I had been enslaved by drugs, alcohol, and sex. I was a prisoner to these things.

It wasn’t until Jesus when I was finally set free.

Here’s the thing though.

So many people are still enslaved to their addictions. They’ve tried admitting they need help. They’ve tried going to support groups. They’ve been in and out of treatment facilities, only to end up relapsing.

They want to be set free of the addictions that are holding them down.

It took me years to finally be set free of my addictions – especially drugs. I didn’t realize how dependent and enslaved I had been.

To treat addictions, you have to go beyond the surface level recovery and behavioral modification programs.

Those are just temporary solutions.

You need to offer the addict hope, joy, and forgiveness.

You need to present them with the Gospel.

The Gospel offers up complete and absolute acceptance.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute forgiveness.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute grace and mercy.

The Gospel provides us with hope and joy that can only be found in Christ.

The Gospel presents us with the unconditional love of Christ.

Accepting Jesus and asking Him into your life isn’t a one time thing after a really emotional worship song at Bible camp. It’s a lifelong relationship with Christ, where you understand your need for Jesus. Where you have been forgiven no matter how badly you’ve messed up, how far you’ve run, or what you’ve said. The guilt, shame, fear, doubt and anger that you carry around, you can let go and drop that at the cross. In Jesus, you are filled with His peace, His joy, and His love.

In Jesus you are forgiven and set free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh great, I’m over thinking again.

In the past I’ve written several blog posts about Dyspraxia. At age 26, I found out that I had Dyspraxia, aka, Developmental Coordination Disorder. DCD is defined as a lifelong neurological disorder, which may be genetic. Dyspraxia primarily affects motor function; a persons ability to speak, eat and move. Roughly between 2 and 10 percent of the population has dyspraxia. In the United States Dyspraxia is severely under-diagnosed or in a lot of cases misdiagnosed with ADHD, Autism, etc.

Often times one of the hardest things for me is thinking quickly off the spot. For instance, if I’m at a party or with a group of people and we get into a heated topic, holding it doesn’t help.

For instance, in high school and college I remember during every discussion where the class was forced to go around and say something one by one, I would zone out and stress because I was already trying to form what I wanted to say when it got to my turn, so I wouldn’t be paying attention to what my classmates were saying.

For someone without Dyspraxia, they might find it easy to plan and organize their thoughts. But, for someone with Dyspraxia, they might find it strangely difficult to organize and plan their thoughts out.

Often times what may end up happening is that what they were thinking and wanted to say, didn’t come out the way they wanted it to.

This often leads to stressing and overthinking.

For me, I find it easier to socialize with smaller groups of people rather than larger groups. In larger groups, I tend to get nervous and overthink more about what to say, so I often come across as the shy or quiet one. In smaller groups, I tend to find that it’s easier to be myself.

However, these days everyone overthinks, gets stressed and has anxiety. We get a speeding ticket, and we get worried and anxiety attacks. We spill a drink, and get upset and stressed that the stain will never come out. We get worried that we might bump into something or someone. There’s always something that you’ll be stressed or worried about.

Just be yourself.

What helps is to put yourself in situations that you feel the most comfortable in. This way, you can practice and not feel as much pressure. Another helpful thing is getting involved in activities and hobbies that you feel comfortable with. Meeting like minded people can help relax you and make you feel a little bit more at ease.

Another outlet may be writing. I’ve found that it’s easier for me to write my thoughts out rather than speak them at times.

As a Christian something that I keep in the back of my mind is, Matthew 6:25-34. Particularly, Matthew 6:26-27 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 

What can you gain from stressing?
At some point you just have to realize that you can’t control everything. You don’t have all the answers. Just be yourself and know where your worth comes from.

God is control. 

You don’t need to buy God’s love.

By now you’re probably familiar with the college admissions scandal. Earlier in the week several people were charged with bribery in order to get their children into elite colleges like Yale University, and the University of Southern California and several others.

Such bribes included paying money to forge SAT and ACT scores and paying others to take them and paying coaches large sums of money in order to tell the college office that their kid was an athlete – when they weren’t.

It’s not really a surprise to me. I sort of figured this sort of thing happened all the time in Hollywood anyway.

In general, people think they can throw money at a problem and it’ll go away. People think that they can buy their way into things. Because as much as we want to admit, money factors into a lot of things. Having money is a necessity in life.

I digress.

There is one thing that you can’t buy.

God’s love. 

Ephesians 2:8-8 tells us For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.

No matter what we do.
No matter how we act.
No matter what we say.
No matter how many times we attend Sunday services.
No matter how many times we’ve volunteered and donated to charity.

We can’t earn our salvation.
We can’t buy our way into Heaven.

It is by the grace of God that we have been forgiven.
Salvation is a gift from God – freely given to us by the grace of God.

Why try to earn something when it’s already been given to you freely? 

We think we have to earn God’s love because we are flawed and we fall short of the glory of God daily.

We mess up and think that we need to earn back God’s love.

Romans 8:38-39 tells us, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.

You don’t ever have to earn God’s love because it’s already been given to you freely. No matter how many times you’ve messed up, and no matter how many times you’re going to mess up again.

God’s love is unconditional and never changing.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

When you are young it is especially important to choose who you hang out with very carefully. Whoever you decide to spend the majority of your time around can influence you, your life and actions.

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There is truth in the saying, “Who you hang out with is who you become“.

When I was in high school I started to hang out with a group of kids who spent the majority of their time skipping school, and smoking. Because that was the majority of what they did, I ultimately fell into the same pattern as them.

When I started spending my time with people who were actively trying to give back to the community and serving Jesus,  I fell into the pattern of serving and loving others. Because I saw my friends do that, it started to become important to me and I started building good and healthy habits.

Who you surround yourself with matters. The people you spend the most time around end up influencing your life – from what you wear, to what tv shows you watch, to how you act on a daily basis, etc.

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Growing up something that I struggled with was wanting to be friends with everyone. I wanted to get to know everyone, so sometimes I ended up with several different groups of friends who were so vastly different from each other.

It was basically like I combined trail mix, skittles, and m&m’s into a bowl together. I had an eclectic bunch of friends.

When I was 19 I lost a dear friend, in a tragic car accident. He was the type of person who always had a bright smile on his face and could always make a person smile even if they weren’t feeling very smiley that day.

I hadn’t hung out with him very much at that point, due to a change in differences in beliefs. However, from that point on I learned the importance of truly valuing the friends in your life and holding them dear to your heart. They can be gone in a moments notice – and to this day I wish I had gotten to know him better and appreciated his presence more.

I also learned that you can’t always be friends with everyone in life, and you can’t always be there for everyone. Of course, throughout your life as your values, beliefs, and interests continue to evolve the people who you choose to surround yourself with and spend your time with will change and shuffle. Some people will be in your life from a day, some for only a season, and others for a lifetime.

Learn to choose your crowd wisely and appreciate those that you have in your life.

 

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You Can Keep Talking About It Or Do Something

“I want to take culinary classes”.
“I want to eat healthy”.
“I want to start saving money”.
“I want to start a business”.
“I want to travel more”.
“I want to make a change”.

We talk about our wants, desires and goals. When it comes to actually putting them into actions it’s a whole other story.

There is a clear difference in stating that you want to make something happen and actually taking the first step and making that change become a reality.

After working for almost a year at a coffee roasting company as a cook, I decided I wanted to learn more about coffee and roasting. I wanted to push myself. I wanted to do the dash my own coffee roasting business.

For months it remained just a goal in the distance. I found excuses to not start. “I’m exhausted”, or “I have too much going on”. I kept putting it off for “tomorrow”.

In order to make it a reality I would need to take a giant leap of faith into the unknown.

It’s the unknown. It’s uncharted waters.

It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s stressful. It’s an emotional roller coaster.

Here’s the thing. You can find a million excuses to not try something or make something happen. You can spend your whole life making excuses to put that goal off until “tomorrow” or “next week”.

Or, you can take a small step in the direction of your goal.

Even the smallest step in that direction is a step toward making it become a reality.

Maybe that’s visiting local gyms and finding the right match. Maybe it’s not eating out and packing a lunch. Maybe it’s showing up to a local event in your community.

Whatever it is, take a small step toward making your goals a reality today.

Living With Dyspraxia: Life in the Kitchen

I currently work in a kitchen as a chef. Some days by the end of my shift my chef jacket looks like a work of art that Picasso might’ve created.

I absolutely love being in the kitchen and getting to create different dishes.

I also happen to have Dyspraxia, otherwise known as developmental coordination disorder, DCD. Dyspraxia is a neurological disorder which affects a persons ability to plan and process motor skills. Symptoms of Dyspraxia range anywhere from poor balance, poor posture, poor hand-eye coordination and clumsiness. Dyspraxia is often mis-diagnosed as a lot of symptoms run hand in hand with ADHD, OCD or even Aspergers.

Living with Dyspraxia can present all sorts of challenges in the day to day life. What may appear simple to someone without Dyspraxia may seem like a mountain of a task to someone who may have Dyspraxia.

When I’m in the kitchen I find it draining, and exhausting. Especially since I’m also extremely introverted. Yet, at the same time I’m great at it.

One of the struggles of having Dyspraxia is struggling with time management. I’ll often try knocking things out at once or jumping ahead. I can’t really do this as a line chef. One thing that helps me keep track of time is by setting timers. Setting timers helps me to better manage my time and I’m less likely to jump from order to order and be distracted.

There are times when it can be really stressful in the kitchen. To the point where some days I feel like I need to spend a year in yoga classes, but there are little things I can do to help me manage my Dyspraxia.

Peeling That Band-Aid Off

You fall down and scrape your knee or elbow and end up with a wound.

What do you do next?

Disinfect the wound and slap a band-aid over it to prevent anymore dirt from getting inside.

When people or situations hurt you and leave you feeling wounded, how do you respond?

How do you let go? How do you forgive those who have hurt you?

Do you just slap a band – aid over the wound and call it a day?

Or do you actually clean out the wound so that you can truly start the healing process?

In past I’ve always just sort of taken the, “slap a band – aid over it” approach. When my ex-boyfriend cheated, I forgave him and slapped a band – aid over the wound. When a friend hurt me, I forgave and slapped a band – aid over the wound.

I always knew that I needed to forgive like God forgives us.

I slapped band – aids over my wounds and never truly allowed healing to begin. Over the years these wounds would fester and eat away at me and consume me.

In order to heal wounds we need to peel that band – aid back and allow it to breathe.

It’s okay to acknowledge the hurt you were left with. Sometimes it helps to acknowledge that pain and to understand that we’re all sinners in need of grace.

Ignoring the wound that’s there doesn’t help. It’ll only grow and fester.

Whatever wounds you currently have, peel that band – aid back and allow healing to happen.

Living with My Dyspraxia: Kitchen Struggles

I currently work at a coffee roasting company as one of their cooks. It’s an interesting job and I get to make delicious food such as

However, I also have dyspraxia. Dyspraxia, otherwise known as, DCD, Developmental Coordination Disorder affects between 2-10% of the population. It is under diagnosed in the United States and can affect a persons motor skills, ability to sequence and hand-eye coordination, etc.

Living with dyspraxia can present all sorts of challenges in day to day living. What may seem like a simple task to someone without dyspraxia, may seem like a mountain of a task to someone with dyspraxia.

For instance, when cooking I get easily tired and get easily frustrated. Often because of this, it’s hard to motivate myself.

When I cook, I have this tendency to want to do everything at once. I have difficulty knowing what comes first or even how to keep things in the correct sequence.

Another thing I struggle with is grip and cutting. Even something as simple as just holding the whisk when I whisk eggs isn’t easy for me. I struggle with the hand coordination that is required to whisk eggs. Luckily one of my coworkers taught me a little hack to help me whisk the eggs.

The best advice I can give you on working in the kitchen and cooking with dyspraxia is to practice and take your time. It helps to know your weakness and to find constructive ways to deal with them.

For instance, what helps me is when I have recipes to follow exactly, and timers. Without timers, I’d forget all time. I will also scribble notes down to myself all the time to remind myself to get tasks done or if I’m out of an ingredient.

Living With My Dyspraxia: Exercise

Dyspraxia, also known as DCD, Developmental Coordination Disorder affects fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. People with dyspraxia may find it extremely difficult to exercise or even to stay motivated. Many people with dyspraxia often have low muscle tone and poor hand eye coordination, which makes it hard for them to run/jump or even to play team sports.

For me, I feel like I personally have a great amount of muscle from spending an enormous amount of time in the gym and pushing myself to lift weights. When I was younger, my family and friends started nicknaming me, “Herculina”.

My downfall with exercise is that it gets exhausting and when I do run into muscles that might be weaker, I get discouraged from exercising.

Here are some exercises that I find extremely helpful and enjoyable:

Yoga:

As I stated before, I used to be a yoga instructor. At some point I was actually teaching two yoga classes a day, twice a week. When I wasn’t teaching I was in the gym every morning pushing myself to work on muscle tone and balance.

Yoga is helpful regarding balance and coordination. Although for me, I would struggle with the sequences and the timing of the sequences.

Swimming:

I find swimming very therapeutic and refreshing. Swimming is great for people with dyspraxia because it is made up of repetitive movements in a sequence, and with practice it is easy to follow.

Swimming helps with balance, flexibility, and endurance.

Running:

I enjoy running as it gives me an outlet to run off excess steam or frustrations that I may have. It also lets me get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature. However, most likely I’ll probably trip over while running. It happened more often when I was younger. I re-call having bruises and torn up knees from tripping and falling constantly.

I usually tend to run/jog, or to do interval running. That’s my way of trying to make sure I don’t fall as much.

Longboarding:

When I was in high school I would longboard more often. I often liked to hang around my guy friends who were often longboarding and/or skateboarding and watch them. Although, I never seriously got into it. I don’t have as much time to longboard as much anymore so my skills are pretty bad.

I find longboarding helpful regarding learning how to balance, however that can also be the downfall. I often lean too far to the right when I actually want to go left, or left when I want to go right. I also have a habit of losing balance as I’m trying to coordinate my movement.

Longboarding may not be for everyone, so I would strongly caution this if your balance is basically non-existent. Or, if you are just starting out, try on a flat surface. Baby steps, y’all.

 

What If I Don’t Like Any Of Those Options?

I also like to walk and go hiking whenever possible. Find an exercise that motivates you to want to workout. It’s never fun to do an exercise that you feel, forced into or bored at. Try to pick sports that’ll improve your coordination, and muscle strength. As with anything, exercising requires determination and practice. Don’t get discouraged. If you don’t succeed, keep at it. It’s okay to start slowly and take things easy. You don’t have to be a pro at it from day one.

Living With My Dyspraxia: Grooming and Personal Care

In today’s blog post I’m going to be going through the grooming and personal care struggles that dyspraxics may go through.

Adults with Dyspraxia face challenges daily from tasks that non – dyspraxic adults may find easy to carry out.

Makeup: 

For me sometimes the struggle is between being afraid I’m going to poke myself in my eye when doing my mascara, and finding it difficult to do the hand movements everything. I know the process of doing make-up: moisturizer, foundation, concealer, eye shadow, mascara, lips, etc.

I usually try to keep my makeup application simple.

As for eyebrows, I gave up trying to do them myself. I get them done at the beautician. I’ve learned from experience when I do my eyebrows, I end up leaving huge gaps in them and looking sort of like Seamus Finnigan from Harry Potter every time he produced explosions and blew off parts of his eyebrows.

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Hair: 

Do not even get me started on hair tasks. Most children and adults with dyspraxia try to find hairstyles that are simple and easy to maintain. Especially when you have to use a hair dryer, it may be awkward to grip and handle.

My struggle with hair is trying to figure out how to get my hair into all those cute styles I’m always looking up and wanting to try and trying to figure out how to hold my hair dryer in the process.

I tend to like to stick with shorter to medium styles for my hair as it’s easier for me.

Teeth Care:

People without dyspraxia may find brushing their teeth easy. For dyspraxics, trying to figure out how to grip their toothbrush and co-ordinate movement while brushing teeth may be an actual frustration and nightmare.

Many dyspraxics find setting a timer on their phones helps, and using an automatic toothbrush extremely helpful.