I attended church until the age of ten with my grandma, but I gleaned that God wanted to rob us from any kind of enjoyment by suffocating us with rules. These rules weren’t even followed, as far as I could tell, by anyone around me. The focus on healing just showed me that Jesus was not real. After all, if God always heal, how do you explain my friends and me?
When I was finally given the option, I chose to use my Sundays for sleeping and playing. Church turned me off from Christianity, but my interest in spirituality remained. I had even chosen Religious Studies as one of my minors in college. I believed that life was full of wondrous mystery and something guided the universe.
During my freshman year of college, I continued my song and dance of winning approval. That year consisted of top grades, extracurricular activities, volunteering, and being know as happy and funny. I was exhausted. Proving one’s worth will do that.
I decided to take summer classes between my freshman and sophomoric years. Why? Because I was determined to get my degree in 4 years. That would surely prove I was as good as anyone, you know. (This is where you can chuckle.)
That summer, I meant a young man who was sharing his faith in Jesus on the sidewalk. (Hey, don’t judge. God uses countless ways to reveal Himself to us. Besides, that guy eventually became my spouse.) When Jayson shared how Jesus came to earth and died on the cross to establish a relationship with us, I was shocked. I was so used to earning my right to have relationships with people that it was freedom to learn that I didn’t have to do that with God. I committed myself to Jesus that very day, and I have been a part of Christian communities ever since.
My song and dance didn’t end there though. I went from the pressure of society to the pressure of the Church. It’s sad, but churches place a heavy burden on Christians by teaching that we need to be shiny examples in order for Jesus to be seen. I lived this hogwash for 15 years. It is as much of a bondage as any other that Satan wants to put on humans. (I told you I was going to get controversial.) I praised God that He led me to a special relationship and to a community of Christians who teach what Jesus has repeatedly told my spirit for the last two years: stop trying so hard and let Jesus love me and through me.
For years, I thought churches suck welcoming and including people with disabilities, except for a few tokens, because Christians didn’t know how. Unfortunately, I don’t think that now. I have done too many presentations in various churches to have that innocent belief. Christians are uncomfortable with messiness. If churches really include people with disabilities, messiness would be a guaranteed. Accessibility, standards of “acceptable behavior”, understanding healing would be a few things that people would have to wrestle with. Churches, along with society, would rather avoid messiness. This is a so ironic since Jesus’s time on earth and His death on the cross scream messiness. God is fine with messiness. Why aren’t we?
Bottom line- I did not find my value in society, friends, family, or my marriage. I did not even find it in the Church. Why? Because they all involve humans, and all humans are huge messes! I found my value only in Jesus, God who became flesh. Nothing else will do. And by the way, Self-Enlightenment is fruitless without God.
I encourage people with disabilities to seek Jesus. Read the Gospels. He showed us respect by touching us, speaking to us, including us in His Story. Come on, we know what this respect showed. He saw us. Sure, He healed some of us, but being treated as human is what really heals.
I want to encourage churches to follow the messiness of Jesus’s example. This is how others will truly see the love of Jesus.
Let’s Keep Being Brave.