I was 13 years old, sitting in my choir class, when I realized something weird was going on in my body. It was an ‘unexplainable’ discomfort that I only felt at the time in my diaghram, usually when I sang. I thought I was having bowel movement issues at first. While riding in the car, this weird discomfort would go ballistic. I reacted in a way that resembled a seizure. My mom was completely freaked out so she took me to my primary doctor. He could not diagnose me.
A sinking feeling I never had before began drowning me.
He referred us to a neurologist, which freaked me out more because I discovered in that moment something was imbalanced in my brain. The nice doctor was able to quickly diagnose me with Tourette’s.
I want to delve deeper into my disorder. It causes physical pain, but the mental pain is much worse. The first couple years were rough. I was bullied, people would mimic my condition (tics) and my want to leave the house was becoming a huge chore.
I feared being close to people because my arms would flare without warning. Singing became almost impossible because it would be hard to breath or react to my tics because if I didn’t, it would cause huge discomfort. My arms, legs, stomach, and eyes feel pain every five seconds. Like muscles spasms 24/7.
I watched a girl move her stomach really fast in class, as mine does constantly, and laugh at me with her friends. In the middle of class.
I feared being laughed at and hearing jokes like, “why can’t you keep still? You got Tourette’s? Wow, you’re so weird!” I felt alone. Outcasted. Depressed. I wanted my life to be over. It became too much for me my junior year. My dad had to tell me to be confident and accept this disorder as a part of me, or rejection would destroy me.
Overtime, I chose to live life with my disorder. I helped a young girl with her own disorder when she wanted to commit suicide one day. That moment made me realize that this disorder is a way for me to have a positive voice in a dark world.
I look at the word courageous with some intimidation in my heart. It is such a heavy word to me. Especially since God has commanded all of us to be “strong and courageous” through every inch of our lives.
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
I really wish I would have kept this verse close to my heart when I was really suffering depression in high school. I have had a bullying problem…I was the victim. People always will look at me differently because I twitch every five seconds. I will never forget the day I was in choir class my freshman year and I looked over to my left to see two girls with their shirts lifted halfway, and began mimicking my jerks my Tourette syndrome caused. That day, up until now, I fear of being rejected, looked at, or made fun of. I skipped school so much because I was embarrassed of myself. I became a slave to fear. It’s taken a lot of time and prayer, but I’ve managed to move past this. The last part of this verse is so helpful: “For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
It’s amazing how God works. In this chapter, Joshua is having to fill in the spot Moses left for him. Of course, we can all imagine his thoughts: “Me? Take the place of Moses? The man who split the Red Sea and saved millions of slaves? Wow..how can I?”
Let’s rewind…remember what Moses first reaction was? “But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11
You see, a great man like Moses even had doubts. It’s just human nature. We can’t foresee what lies ahead in our paths, but we can let God lead us there. It is okay to be afraid, fear is good when it helps us in making a hard decision, but what is most important is that we must be courageous through it. We can’t let fear stop us from trying new things or taking a step into the unknown. Ruth traveled far with her mother in law Niaomi and found her Boaz because she had courage with God. Jospeh was able to escape the prison he was trapped in for years because he had courage through God. Mary was able to accept her destiny and bore the Savior because she had courage through God. So, what is your heart telling you? Are you going to keep listening to the lies of fear, or are you going to be bold and courageous?