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10 to 14 days

January 8, 2019

10 to 14 days

I recently had to admit to my doctor’s nurse that I’m having an ongoing level of depression.  In the pre-exam interview when she asked if I was currently feeling blue, I said yes.  Then, of course, that set her onto another set of questions that I disciplined myself to answer honestly.  When the P.A. came in to examine me for the sinus infection that’s been hanging on for 6 weeks, she ended the examination with more questions about depression.  And then she prescribed an antibiotic and an anti-depressant.

That’s not supposed to happen.  Not to me, anyway.  Not the antibiotics, the anti-depression.  I’m the guy who helps people with depression.  I don’t cure anybody, but I know how to help.  I’m actually good at it.  Admitting that I’m depressed and need some help with it required swallowing my pride and confessing that I’m not bullet proof.  To my surprise, I didn’t choke to death, as I had feared I would.

If confession is good for the soul, I’ve think I’ve racked up a few “confession points.”  Since I’m not face-to-face with you, and I’m confident not too many people will be reading this (I’m gratified that you are…), it’s not that big a deal.

None of the medications that doctors prescribe for this sort of thing take effect immediately.  The standard answer to the “how long before I start feeling better” question  is “ten days to two weeks.”

I’m not suicidal, so I can wait 10-14 days for it to get into and through my system, and begin doing its thing in my brain.  I’ve had depression before and taken medication for it.  I know the dance.

There are a lot of things in life that should carry a 10-14 day disclaimer.  Or 10-14 months.  Or 10-14 years.  There aren’t very many of the good things you want to happen in your life that will happen quickly.

Like debt elimination.  You can get in over your head (way over your head) in short order, but unless you win the Publisher’s Clearing House grand prize, it will take a LONG time and a lot of discipline to pay off what it took so little effort to get into.  I can tell you this from personal experience.  “I am being there; I am doing that.”

I’d put relationships in this 10-14 category.  But not 10-14 days.  Most relationships that have gone sideways or sour will take way longer than that to get back in healthy balance.  Unlike the debt thing, the problems in your relationship didn’t happen quickly.  They happened gradually over time.  A friend once told me, “If you hiked an hour into a cave, don’t plan on getting out in half an hour.”  He’s right.

If you’ve got fuzzy and highly-trespassable boundaries, creating them and learning how to enforce and live with them is another relationship thing that will take you more than 10-14 days.  But probably less than 10-14 months.  Just know that it will take you longer than you want it to.

Nearly everything about growing up spiritually will take you a long time.  There’s no such thing as instant maturity.  I think this is why the Apostle Paul wrote this in Galatians 6:9.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

There’s a ton in that one verse.  I’ll just cherry pick a couple of things from it.  First, “let us not become weary.”  OK, I’ll grit my teeth and keep going.  Try and not trip over me when I go down and block the path.  Push me out of the way and carry on.

Well, that’s not what Paul wrote.  He didn’t write to grit your teeth and gut it out, ya big baby.  He wrote, “don’t become weary.”

So how do you do that?  You rest when you need to.  You take time for refueling and renewal.  You slow down so all of you (body, mind, soul) can rest.  You take naps.  You don’t spend all afternoon in bed, but you nap.  You get enough sleep.  Not the 4 hours you hear the Everyready Bunny in your office bragging that they get.  If you check the interwebs, you’ll find ample scientific evidence that 8 to 9 hours a night is generally required for mental and physical alertness the following day.

You take measures to insure that you don’t get weary.  You don’t keep the pedal to the metal until you hit the wall and crash and burn.

And then, don’t forget the end of this sentence, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  There really is a pay-off.  There really is a reward for not giving up.  But you don’t get it if you give up.  So don’t give up.

If you take appropriate and consistent measures to not become weary, you can go the distance to the harvest.  The condition on this (“if we do not give up”) is hard cheese, though.  When I get weary, when I get exhausted, when it feels like there’s nothing left in the tank, I want to give up.

That’s when you look back at the first part of this sentence.  “Let us not become weary…”  But if you become weary, what are you supposed to do?  Beat yourself up?  Throw in the towel?  Write a letter of resignation?

Nope.  You do things that will renew you.  You press the pause button and do some self-care (a term you won’t find in the New Testament, but a concept that’s still worthy).  You rest.  You probably won’t get to spend a week at a spa, so don’t set it up in those terms.  You may only get a 15 minute nap.  (Unless you’re the mom of a preschooler; in that case, you’ll have to postpone naps for 10 years.  Sorry.)  Maybe you’ll just get a few minutes alone in the bathroom.  (Preschool moms know they can’t stay in there more than a few minutes, or the house will be burning down when they come out.  Again, sorry.)

Just do what you can.  Even if it’s not very much.  Because at the proper time you’ll reap a harvest if you don’t give up.

From → Marriage

  1. hrwood34 permalink

    Over the past few months, I’ve been grieving as my dad passed away a few months ago. I don’t always recognize how my grief is affecting me, but when I opened my eyes to look at the state of my home this week, I could definitely see that I had neglected so many little things over the last few months. Today I REALLY cleaned one room, and it feels so good. The whole house is not yet back in order, but that will take some time. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to have my eyes opened to the state of affairs, but just think how much worse it would get if I didn’t recognize it and get started on it now? Thanks for the thoughtful insights on this much needed verse. Praying you will feel a rejuvnation in your soul in the coming days!

  2. Michael Landis permalink

    Thank you…yes, rest and renew. Patience, Patience, Patience. Let go and rest in the Lord.
    Love ya! : )

  3. Cindy Phillips Benke permalink

    Oh Steve…. thank you for your honesty and encouraging words. I just got back home from a week in Tulsa- spent many hours up at the hospital w/my 91 year old mom. She fell, broke her ankle in 3 places, had surgery & is now doing rehab in Tulsa.
    She is not a happy camper. I felt pretty bad leaving and coming back home even though I have lots of family back in Tulsa. However, I knew the only way for me to rest was to come back home for awhile.
    I’m still learning about good self care. Time for a
    nap now! Thanks again for the good words!

    • Taking care of your parents is harder than taking care of your kids! You’re wise to take care of you so you can take care of your mom. Blessings. Steve

  4. Peg permalink

    Oh Pastor Steve. Prayers that this too shall pass. You are still being used by God and HE won’t let go of you. So hang on to his hand and take care of you. It had to be difficult being so openly honest. So GOOD I truly believe we ALL go thru this in one degree or the other. You have been a blessing to both of us PLUS many many more I am sure. I also am aware that depression is REAL and very difficult. We will add this specifically to our prayers. Love you, Larry and Peg

  5. Chad Robinson permalink

    Thinking and praying for ya boss. Want to hit the golf simulator? We can turn the temp up to 90 if you want. Heck. Maybe we throw clubs in a car and drive south til we find a golf course open. It really is too bad that medicine takes so long to work. we love you and we are sending happy thoughts your way.

  6. Julie Raak permalink

    Thanks Steve,
    I really needed this reminder. We appreciate your wisdom and love you for your honesty. We will continue to pray for you.

  7. Teri Allan permalink

    Great post. Honest words many of us can relate to on different levels. Thank you.
    Follow-up question…what’s this thing you call a ‘nap’?
    Mom of a 3 and 6 year old

    • Love this comment, Teri! I wish I could say it will get better, but it probably wont for another 10 or 12 years. The good news is that napping is a skill you can pick up again without much of a learning curve. 🙂

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