Some of you may have noticed by now, but through this series of blogs I am trying to work through the attributes I listed when I began. I have to admit that as I have gone on the more difficult I have found it. This is because I have had to take a good long look at myself, as Oliver Cromwell would say ‘Warts and all’, and slowly come to some sort of conclusion about myself.
One of the many paradoxes in my life is the fact that I usually clam up in a group environment but have no problem standing up the front and speaking.
This has been quite a source of discomfort for me personally when in a meeting at work, church or just in a group of more than four people. The only conclusions I can draw from this are:
- I adopt this ‘silent’ mode simply because I am trying to process all the inputs from the other people and try to draw some sort of conclusion of my own.
- I grew up in an environment where children were to be seen and not heard and thinking that anything I had to say was of no importance. I have since learnt this is not always the case.
With regard to the first point, I can say that when I come to some conclusion it is always sometime after the meeting and those involved have forgotten what they said. This is not the case for my brain, as it is still threshing the wheat from the chaff. (I have to admit I love the fact that the Bible uses this metaphor on various occasions because if you consider this process on face value it looks a bit daft throwing great bundles of wheat into the air to separate the useful from the useless.) In turn the reaction I have received is one of surprise or shock from others and has had some people thinking how slow on the up-take I am.
That’s not to say I don’t now engage in groups as I have had to learn to do this. It has also taken a long time to realise that I actually do have something to contribute. Although the first time I did this I was taken aback by the fact that everyone in the group turned to look at me, which was honestly quite unnerving.
It was only when I came under the influence of fellow Christians did I begin to realise that I did indeed have something to contribute in my own unique way of seeing things. It has been quite some hurdle to overcome. I remember one dear brother in Christ telling me ‘God gave you a voice, a brain and a memory to use for His glory, that’s why He made you the way you are. Go and use it!’ Without that encouragement I would not be writing this and certainly not getting up in front of people and speaking.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’
It goes on to say in v14 ‘And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.’
That’s what we as a body of believers need to do and keep doing. There may well be somebody in your circle of friends at Church or elsewhere who is autistic, whether diagnosed or not and I believe that God wants us to reach out to them and get to see the world as they see it and more importantly how they see and walk with God. In the long run this will only help us as we really have so much more to see and learn.