Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Post Intensive Season Syndrome

Psalm 23 "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

While I know I can't use the acronym for the Post Intensive Season Syndrome, it does fit where I am at the moment. It is not PTSD, it is Post Intensive Season Syndrome. My oldest daughter is feeling it at the moment too. She just finished her school play...you know how intense those last few weeks can be for a school production. It all ends with a flurry of activity, high emotions and exhaustion...you can't wait for a break. Then the break comes and you find yourself bored. We humans are never satisfied are we?

I've been going through Post Intensive Season Syndrome myself for the last few months. If you follow "House" on Facebook, you know that I just removed the "good" paneling from the living room wall. Of course there was no way to know what the wall looked like under the 45 year old paneling, but I was going to get it done. Taking it down was a little rough, but not as bad as putting back on the base board radiators! But I had my drill, I wasn't afraid...
My darling husband was not quite as thrilled with my DIY spirit. When he arrived home that afternoon, he discovered the paneling in the driveway...not knowing what he was walking into, he stayed in the driveway and worked on the cars for a while, until I came out to see if he was okay. He was stone silent until he walked into the living room and saw that I had done a pretty good job. Things, however, remained a little tense between us for a few days after that.
We went out on a date and talked it out...we are kinda madly in love, even still, so we don't do well with tension in the air.
DH: "I would have helped you. I just hate to see an unfinished project. We have so many projects to do on this house. Couldn't you have just finished one of the ones we already have going? Did you have to start a new one? Right before Thanksgiving? I'm not mad, well, sort of."
Me: "I am sorry. Will you forgive me?"
DH: "Yeah. I forgive you. Is this you being Post Intensive Seasonal?"
Me: "Yeah, like after Rosemarie..."
DH: "Yeah, I thought so. Go be successful at this. I love you, you know. Even when you are a flake."
Me: "Yeah, I know you do, what's not to love? LOL! And I love you too."
We left our fancy date (a trip to Hobby Lobby and sitting in his pick-up truck in the parking lot of the school near our house) and went home to sleepy children.

Rosemarie is the baby girl we lost, in utero, about 10 years ago. I handled it. I knew where she was. I knew she was in the arms of Jesus and that I would see her again. It would be just fine. But I missed her desperately.
About a week after I lost her, I re-did the kitchen.

The night of Mom's funeral, I cleaned out her room including the vent, her draws (I only say it as "drawer" I can use spell check to make sure it's draw!" and closet. I only allowed myself one box of memories, for fear I would build a shrine.
With in a few months I moved out of my childhood home. I decorated my little heart out! That is, until I crashed with a mighty bang.

After Dad died, we moved five weeks later. Plenty to be busy with, so no one noticed. Even when I re-did our son Jack's room into a fire house headquarters, it seemed normal to decorate in a new home. I was very busy...until I wasn't. CRASH!

When it became clear we couldn't have anymore children after our youngest Maggie was born, I re-did the basement. I kept very busy until, again: CRASH!

Today, no one has died. But it is a season of post stress. A year ago I was working for the first time in years, home schooling five children, and then writing a book as well. It was incredible the amount of stuff on my plate! But our Heavenly Father gave me both the grace and ability to do it all and to do it all well! It never felt like too much. I loved it!

Cue the crickets please.

I lost my job as a nurse, the kids are back in school, the book is done and my world book tour has not begun (note sarcasm here) and I have felt lost.
I felt a lot of things. Failure is the most intense one, although to my knowledge I didn't fail at anything.
After Mom died, I remember not knowing how I could possibly be considered extraordinary any more. I was just extra ordinary. I am not very good at ordinary. If I was, just tackling the thirty loads of laundry I have to do, would have been enough.

But laundry piles don't win you accolades like decorating does. Why is it not enough to rest in the fact that I succeeded at obeying God?

Recently, one of my very dearest friend sent me an email that was titled: "When you can't change your life..."
My first thought was "Oh, dear God, she cut her hair! It has to be very bad!" Things are pretty intense right now for her and she has a hair appointment this week. I feel her pain!

Fortunately, I am having an incredible hair season so I have concluded that if you can't change your life, change your decor.

The thing is, that no matter how busy you are, no matter how much work the Lord may call you to do, or to not do, He adores you. Paul reminds us in the Word that all of our gifts are as filthy rags to the Lord. There is nothing I can do to earn my way in to Heaven or to impress our God. He wants our obedience more then anything. Because if we love Him, we do obey Him. We are made righteous not because of how much we get done in a day but because He died on the Cross and rose again. It is by His blood that we are washed clean and made righteous.

Psalm 23 says "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." I think it a Beth Moor-ism that says, "I think we can conclude that if we don't lie down, He will push." So before He does, "Be still and know that He is God." (psalm 46:10) And whatever you do, don't fall into Post Intensive Seasonal Syndrome at least not until after the new year!

How about you?
Are you just out of a season of intensity? How do you address it? Do you get busy or do you hide? Are you missing a season of being "extraordinary" and feeling extra ordinary? How do you handle a post emergency visit to the hospital with your folks? Are you mourning? How do you tackle the day to day quiet after an adrenaline rush?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, let us just be Yours. Let us rest in the FACT that You love us no matter what we do or don't do. You call us to curl up in Your lap and just be with You. We have nothing to prove or can prove to You. You are our proud parent when we obey and sometimes that obedience calls us to stillness. Thank You for fabulous decor, great hair cuts and good humor in spite of our sadness, loneliness and feelings of failure. Remind us again and again that all we have to do, to be on that list in Hebrews 11 is to be faithful. Pull us in our stillness back to Your feet. We love You all the more. Amen.

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