I’ve always had a tough time reading. For as long as I can remember the words on just about every page I’ve ever looked at have been jumbled. It wasn’t till the fourth grade, when my state testing scores in reading were so low that the state recommended I go see a specialist about it, that my parents and I learned I have dyslexia.
If you don’t know what dyslexia is there are many different forms.
Basically, my brain has a hard time processing words. It’s like seeing all the pieces of a puzzle but not knowing how to put the pieces together or what the puzzle is supposed to look like.
Working through my dyslexia as a child (and even now a bit as an adult) has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. For a long time I struggled through basic reading prompts that were easy to most kids years younger than me. I was often made fun of by my class when I had to go to my special reading group or when the teacher asked me to read something aloud (sometimes I would lie about having to go to the bathroom just to get out of reading, which is always a great thing to do at a Christian school).
I constantly felt like the dumbest kid in school. I resented God for making my brain not work right.
One day I came across a passage of Scripture from the apostle Paul that helped give me a new and healthier perspective on what I was going through:
“…And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:2-5 (NIV)
After reading this I began to realize that my dyslexia, or any kind of pain or problem for that matter, has the potential to produce hope because problems are an opportunity for God to show up. We often don’t notice God at work in our life until He helps us with something, and that something is usually painful.
So I began to view my dyslexia as a way to see God at work in my life to do something good.
I started viewing my set-backs not as obstacles but more as learning opportunities. It didn’t matter as much after that what other people thought or said. I was growing, becoming better with each day. I was learning not to let set-backs set me back for long.
Eventually, in high school, I made the honor roll and became known as one of the smartest kids in my class. It wasn’t because I was all that much smarter than my other classmates, because I wasn’t. It was because I learned not to give up on me because God will never give up on me.
Every problem can make us bitter or it can make us better. And we get to choose which one we want to be.
I’ve learned that as I wait on God I experience the work of God in me; to see pain and problems and set-backs as opportunities to get better, not bitter.
Here’s something I pray when I’m having a problem seeing the good that can come from a problem. I hope you’ll pray it too as you look to approach your problems in a healthy way.
Heavenly Father, I know you want what’s best for me. But right now I’m having a problem seeing and embracing that in the midst of my problems. Help me to get better, not bitter; to do my part while I wait on you to do your part so I can experience the hope only you can provide.