Mindset Does Matter on This Special Needs Journey
Mindset does matter on this special needs journey. Many years after her son’s diagnosis, guest blogger Sandy Ramsey-Trayvick discovered how choosing to change her mindset allowed her and her family to live more joyfully. In this post, she guides caregiving parents through the same process.
During the earlier part of my 20+ year journey as a special needs mom, I put the dreams and hopes I’d had for my life in the back of my mind—far from view. Without realizing it, I slowly began developing a mindset about my special needs life that would later leave me feeling trapped by our family’s circumstances.
Although I knew that my family had been blessed in so many ways, the constraints, the difficulties, the weariness were all real—and, silently, I had started to resent them.
Rather than proactively brainstorming and trying new approaches that might allow for more freedom, fulfillment, or joy, I had become conditioned to just let things be. And, because everything was already so hard, trying something new—that might not work—didn’t seem worth the energy or the risk. So instead I stayed in a reactive mode, ignoring opportunities to choose differently.
Many years later the Lord gave this way of thinking a name and showed me that mindset does matter. He called it a disabled life mindset, and revealed that, because I was so focused on the things in my life that were hard or painful, I wasn’t able to see the possibilities for greater freedom, vibrancy, and joy.
God wanted me to be joyful in my circumstances so I could see His way forward despite my circumstances.
As the Lord helped me to see how this mindset was at work in my life, He made it clear that living a disabled life was not His plan for me or my family. Even in the face of the real difficulties that were present in our life as a special needs family, He revealed that we still had the power to choose our responses. He showed us that mindset does matter.
While there were certainly things we couldn’t change, how we chose to respond to the situations we faced would impact the quality of our lives more than anything else.
We had the power to choose:
- whether we’d remain stuck in regretful inaction or move forward, inspired by hope
- whether we’d live in defeat or with joy and gratitude.
We had to look at all the choices that were available to us, and ask questions that would help us figure out how we could make the most of our unique special needs journey.
The types of questions we’ve asked and continue to ask are:
- What is God’s perspective/purpose/promise here?
- What do I believe about my circumstances? What is the basis of my belief? How does it align with what God says?
- How does my role as a special needs parent fit into who I already am?
- What’s most important here for me and my family?
- What choices do we have?
- What do we need to learn?
- What do we need to let go of?
Admittedly, changing mindsets can be hard work. But God is with us to help because He knows that mindset does matter. With Him, we can succeed at learning how to live more free, more joyful, and more fulfilling lives.
One choice at a time.
One step at a time.
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Sandy and her husband are parents to three young adult children. Their son was diagnosed with multiple disabilities 21 years ago after a devastating illness as a toddler. Following her son’s diagnosis, Sandy quit her job to become his full-time caregiver and advocate.
Sandy is currently a Certified Professional Coach. Her focus is to come alongside other special needs parents, helping them to recognize choices that will enable them to reclaim freedom, renew purpose, and reactivate joy.
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