By: Anthony Joseph Schabel
Note: Anthony is a college student who is paying his way through college. He is from a tough background and struggles with Tourette syndrome which causes, among other disabilities, a serious speech problem. Rather than feeling sorry for himself and giving up, Anthony endeavors to serve in a local church like ours and strives to use the strengths God has given him instead of getting discouraged about his weaknesses. Anthony serves as an usher, he takes attendance and desires to learn to write even better to communicate the truths of God's Word far and wide.
Following is a little bit of his story in his words and some advice he has learned dealing with his special needs. We think we can all learn from him.
God uses all of us. Those with special needs are powerful means of ministry in the hands of a mighty God.
Here is Anthony’s Advice…
It can be very easy to get caught up with making comparisons. In most cases, this will result in focusing on our own shortcomings. This can turn into a huge waste of time and energy. Nothing good comes from dwelling on our weaknesses. Instead, we need to accept the way that God made us. No, I am not talking about sinful weaknesses such as angry outbursts or greed, I mean weaknesses such as physical disabilities.
We are all made in the image of God. God has also given each person a unique blend of gifts and abilities. Each of us has a role to fill. There is no role that's more important than any other role. All the roles are supposed to work together in harmony.
I know this can be easy to say but extremely hard to do. I understand the frustrations that are involved. Playing your strengths will only take you so far. Your shortcomings will persistently remind you of their presence. No matter how hard you try, it's impossible to ignore your weaknesses forever.
If you look closely, you probably have at least one area of struggle that actually amplifies one of your strengths. List out your strengths and weakness. Also, list out some general things that you like. It's likely that you'll see a few things jump out at you.
I'll use myself as an example. I like to communicate thoughts and ideas. One of my biggest struggles is the ability to speak. I have a disability that makes the act of speaking very difficult. On the other side, writing is one of my greater strengths. The struggles that I have with speech play a large role in amplifying my ability to write. Much of my desire to become a better writer comes from the difficulties that I have with speaking. With that in mind, my greatest weakness is also my greatest strength.
There will still be days when your weaknesses will usher in feelings of frustration. You're still going to have those rough days. You're still going to face those struggles that shatter your morale. Dealing with your shortcomings will still be tough. It won't be easy, but properly understanding the bigger picture will make those rough times a lot easier to manage.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. --2 Corinthians 12:9-10