Monday, October 24, 2016

Say Yes! to the Season


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…
Ecc. 3:1 (NIV)

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.
Gen. 8:22 (NIV)

You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter.
Ps. 47:17 (NIV)

A few years ago, I had a life changing moment when friend offered me a helpful question. In our conversation, I commented, 'I feel like I have 6 children.' She said ‘How come you act like you have 2?’ (I have 3 children). She went on to explain that women who had 6 children probably had different boundaries and lives than their counterparts who had 2. They honored the natural constraints provided by the number of children. What were the natural constraints provided by the season I’m in?

The scriptures about seasons speak to me when I think about this question. Different things happen in each season and trying to make stuff happen in the wrong season can have exhausting and possibly, disastrous effects. The journey of life with autism has had many unexpected gifts and one of them is the ability to acknowledge the natural boundaries. So taking my son to places that will overstimulate him and increase the risk of difficult behaviors is a no-no. For good or ill, that’s a boundary for us. So, I don’t go to those places much. And guess what? It’s been a relief! I don’t realize the amount of opportunities to say ‘no’ that I had been overlooking. J is offering me the gift of a backbone. Acknowledging the natural boundaries in life means I have to be really deliberate about my ‘No’s’ and my ‘Yeses’.

And there is no better season to pay attention the that than the one we are staring into. The beautiful fall colors remind me that Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the way. I have choices to make. What do I allow? What do I refuse? Each year I get better at this, so here’s the list of guidelines I’m using this year.

Say ‘No!’ to things that:

  • create the bad kind of exhaustion (you know the type, It’s when you end up being mean to husbands and children while working on the thing)
  • increase my stress level (as identified by tight, painful shoulders and risk of item 1)
  • the thought of saying ‘no’ fills me with delight and relief (that’s a dead giveaway for me)
  • create exhausted, crabby, overstimulated children (which increases the risk of items 1 and 2)

Say ‘Yes!’ to things that:

  • bring delight and wonder
  • help us to practice gratitude
  • help us create time to appreciate the beauty of the season in the ways that are most meaningful to us
  • allow us to invite others to share the beauty we are experiencing
  • empower different ones of us to express our wonder and gratitude in a range of ways, even if we aren’t all together.

This year, I’m hoping to honor God and His calling to me and my family by not resisting the specific boundaries and limitations that are just a part of our normal life. Actually, not only will I not resit, I’ll embrace the boundaries. And the relief they bring. They too, are gifts from God.

Lord, You commented to Martha that Mary had chosen the better path, and that only one thing is necessary. As we look at the approaching season, with the special boundaries and constraints that we have, please help us to hear you say ‘Only one thing is necessary’.  Help us to sit with you and hear what that one thing is, that will be nourishing and encouraging and empowering in our lives, these special lives that you have called us to live.

Amen.

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