Who is the “disabled” one, really?


There is no other way to convey the sheer importance of this message other than to shoot straight through to the heart of the issue. There will be no tiptoeing around this subject and I encourage you to set aside your opinions and just savor the message. Reflect on it, sleep on it and take the time to really allow this to sink into the deepest places of your heart. It could mean the difference of you living a disabled life versus a life of abundance!

There is only ONE disability in this life. It is NOT what you may think of either, when you hear the word “disability”.  It may be shocking to hear that this ONE thing is directly related to the success or demise of your life and that MANY people walking around this Earth suffer from it.  We will get to the one true “disability” later but first, lets clear up one thing.

I have observed and “overheard” so many people feeling sorry for those who have physical disabilities but who is to say that these people have disabilities? Who is to say that THEY are  disadvantaged? God created each and every one of us and while you may shudder at what I am about to say: God makes NO mistakes.

What constitutes a disability? It is a physical or mental impairment? Is it how slowly or quickly one grasps a concept? Is it the GPA you graduate with or how low/high you score on the IQ test? I challenge you to ponder this next question with the same focus you would a difficult math problem: Unless you’ve lived a day in the mind of a person “branded”  with the term disability, how do you know if it is a disability?

If God was so detailed as to create every aspect of this universe, down to the most microscopic detail (with PERFECTION, I might add), would you be so bold to say that He created disabilities? How do you know this? If every single thing in this world is meant to bring Him glory and praise (and He can turn ANY mess into His message) who are YOU to label someone as disabled? How do you know “disabled” is really disabled if you haven’t lived one sheer moment in the mind of someone labeled as this?

Let me tell you a true story that happened to me at the park just one short week ago. I was sitting on the bench waiting on a friend when a group of people quickly approached and grabbed a seat at the next picnic table. I looked over to see a jolly kind woman bearing a big toothy white smile that just made me smile. It was infectious. Next to her were two grown adolescent men probably around 23/24 years of age. It became clear that they had the mentality somewhere around that of a 10-year-old. One had beautiful chocolate skin and the other had a creamy white complexion and lots of facial hair. Their physiques were that of men but their precious minds were that of a boy. I began to speak to them and their smiles were from heaven. I literally couldn’t take my eyes off of them. It was like looking into a child’s eyes and just seeing the pure joy, innocence and excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. As they spoke of their upcoming trip to the movies they got so excited they just rocked back and forth with joy bursting throughout their bones! They spoke of eating popcorn and snacks. As I began to engage them in conversation I casually mentioned the “art” class being held at the park and how fun that would be for them to do. I wish I had the next moment on camera… I really do. They both smiled SO big (as if to say thanks for letting us know!!) and they began to eagerly agree with me just  how “cool” that would be. It was like everything just stopped and God was speaking to my heart as I am so familiar with. I learn to listen to His still soft whispers to my heart and when He speaks, nothing else matters.

Here were these two grown men who would be labeled as “disabled” by almost everyone. If not this, they could easily be passed up on the street as “slow” and most people (let’s be very REAL here) would not stop to ask them questions, engage them in conversation or just stop to ponder Gods wonders!

So, if someone asked me that moment in the park what my thoughts were, I would say: wonder. Wonder at Gods works and what He is up to in the hearts of those two young men. Between them, I saw zero prejudice, complaints, sadness or judgement. I saw NONE of this. I just saw pure excitement, joy and happiness. As innocent as that of a child.

Now, what is the ONE true disability? Quite possibly the ONLY disability in life? More importantly, do you have it? It is that of a BAD ATTITUDE. Yes! I encourage you before firing off your thoughts to just savor this and really reflect on it. Bad attitudes, judgement, and “better than thou” attitudes plaque our streets! I have been on a mission in preparation for this very article to find out just how many people are suffering from this. Keep in mind, I am only covering a very small area. How much larger the numbers would be if we did a worldwide poll! 

In this past week alone, I have made it my mission to strike up casual conversation, make eye contact and smile at each person I came into contact with. For the purposes of this experiment I am only including people I do NOT know. Those I have never seen and simply encountered during my daily routine.  I made it a point not to allow the daily “grind” to keep me from my mission, either. I grasped each opportunity. It is THAT important that this message be conveyed!

From the lady who passed me climbing the stairs all the way to the woman who bagged my groceries and everything in between. What I found was disheartening. There were only TWO (I am so very sad to even write this!!!) people who smiled, made eye contact and had great attitudes. One made a casual fun comment about me looking like I was a “woman on a mission”  as I rushed through the grocery store. I laughed and replied “my whole LIFE is a mission!” and made sure to tell him “have a fantastic day!” The other woman was ringing me out at the store and thanked me for bringing my own bag as she cheerfully rang me out. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if this was because she worked there either. I will give her the benefit of the doubt.

Everyone else just looked plain sad, angry or stressed. One lady rolled her eyes at me in line because it took a minute longer for my produce to be weighed, despite the fact that I kindly smiled at her. The girl I passed while walking up the stairs had on some cute shoes and I told her so. She just did a half smirk kind of like “Is she really talking to me?” and rushed on up the stairs in pursuit of her day, without as much as a “thank you”. Each person I came into contact with had some sort of attitude. All the way down to just plain ignoring my “hello”. Some would quickly shift their eyes to the ground when it became apparent I was making eye contact.

What a disability this REALLY is! We are so quick to fire off our attitudes, opinions, prejudices but not to take time for the simple day-to-day human interaction that is part of what God intended for this world! Now, let me be very clear about this. I understand many people are hurting but what I am speaking of runs deeper than this. It is an “inability” to connect with people. It is a choice. I have been through some crappy times in my life (and this past year goes down as one of the craziest!!) but I choose to maintain an attitude of gratitude! I choose to see the good in everything and to continue to praise God for what He is doing in and through me! I choose to see the “bigger” picture and the fact is, there is something MUCH bigger than ourselves. If we do not “get it” our whole lives can potentially pass us by without us living up to a tenth of our purpose.

What attitude are you choosing today? How do you react to the person you don’t know on the street? Have you made it a mission to smile for no reason at someone or to strike up casual conversation? I was in the yogurt isle (not the week of the experiment) and saw a mom with two energetic little girls and a cart FULL of green grapes! As the girls ran around her ankles playing, I popped over and gave her my really quick grape/yogurt snack recipe. You should have seen the look on her face. Almost shocked that I would take the time! She was excited to try it and thanked me. I left feeling good. Why? Because I took the time for more than just my busy schedule. I made it a point to have a great attitude and to spread that good attitude to a busy mom who was probably exhausted!

What does your attitude say about you? What do you do each day to bring GLORY to God through your attitude? A bad attitude really is the only disability that can cripple your life. Take a self assessment and really be honest with yourself. What does your attitude say to the world?

Please read this line twice, because it is very important that you get it! The attitude you choose to maintain not only says SO much about you as a person, it is the answer to whether you will lead a crippled, sad life detached from the personal connection intended for our human race versus a life of abundance and blessings.

Let me also be clear about this, you can have a bad day and this is ok. You can have a bad week, month, year and still choose to maintain an overall positive attitude. I have chosen to keep the faith and trust that what God says is true. Despite the tough things I have lived through, I have chosen an attitude of gratefulness and joy. You know what? This will never fail you! What you “get” by maintaining a great attitude is AMAZING! Literally, amazing! Try it.

Do not allow yourself to cripple your life with the one and only true “disability” out there, that of a bad attitude! I will always stand by the thought that a person with a great attitude is rich and a poor attitude is a poor person.

Live the abundant life you are deserving of and do not stand in your own way. Oh, and the next time someone passes you in a stairwell, elevator or so one…. smile and say hello. It will do more for you than them. 🙂

Blessings!

Ashley

quote-the-only-disability-in-life-is-a-bad-attitude-scott-hamilton

 

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One thought on “Who is the “disabled” one, really?

  1. Darlene Reed says:

    profound truth-but a truth that some will not want to hear-I am glad you did this – if even one person changes then you will have accomplished what you were supposed to with this posting

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