Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Autism & Cognitive Flexibility

If there are any hallmarks of autism, I'd say rigid thinking is definitely one of them. For most of my life, following every last rule down to the letter was an absolute must. And thinking outside of the box? Not a chance.

Just last year, however, it occurred to me that my inability to roll with the punches left me feeling anxious just about all the time. I then realized unforeseen circumstances are just as routine and predictable as rules and if I didn't learn to expect the unexpected, I saw I'd have issues with anxiety for the rest of my life.

God knows what we need in our lives before we do, but He loves to hear us pray. And He loves to rescue us when we ask for His help. I didn't have the power to change the way I thought about things or to expand my vision to come up with a number of ways to solve just one problem. So knowing I couldn't help myself, I asked God to do the work in me.

I mostly prayed that He would give me a teachable spirit along with the teachers to help me learn. I prayed He would help me be to open to their suggestions. I also asked to recognize the authority of my teachers in order to submit myself to them with some semblance of humility. Inflexibility can be easily interpreted as pride.

I still need a little more time than others to switch my gears and focus if things don't work out as planned. Even so, the point is I'm willing to rethink things and often an unplanned outcome is more pleasant than my best laid plans. Another prayer answered.

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."   ~Isaiah 30:20-21

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