Spiritual Practice


Ericah Johnson, 17

The path taken by a teenager with a mental disorder is definitely a road less traveled—and lonely. I have attention deficit disorder; and because I do, I sometimes space out, get distracted, and speak before I think. I know this happens to everyone, but it happens to me much more often. Some people don’t understand; they assume that ADD is a way of labeling someone who is stupid or crazy. It’s hard to combat these misconceptions, especially when they come from my classmates.

“People judge others by what they look like,
but I judge people by what is in their hearts.”
1 Samuel 16:7b (CEV)

First Samuel 16:7b tells us that people look at outward appearances and labels, but God looks at the heart. In the five years since I was diagnosed with ADD, I’ve learned to focus on God’s opinions of me and not on those of my peers. The more I’ve learned to let the rude comments go and to forgive people who don’t understand, the more fun I’ve had along the way. Putting God first has made the road a little easier to travel.


THINK ABOUT IT: What labels do you use for people who struggle with mental illness? How would getting rid of the labels change your thinking?

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