Spiritual Development

Spiritual Slumps And What To Do About Them

After graduating from college, I had the privilege of living with an older, dear, sweet lady until I married.  I’ll never forget the British TV shows, the weekly move all the furniture to vacuum, BLT sandwiches and the multitude of wisdom she shared out of her years of living on this earth.  One of her favorite sayings, or maybe it was just a reminder to me anytime I was fretting, “This too shall pass.”  

While she was spry, she too fell into the slumps now and then.  Occasionally when I would arrive home from teaching, she would pronounce: 

“I’m in a funk today and just didn’t do anything.”  

We have all had those days or sometimes weeks when we aren’t “feeling it.”  You know those days when you feel like doing nothing and don’t have the energy even to do the things you know you need to do.

It happens in our spiritual life too.  Whenever you go to read the Bible, pray, memorize scripture, or attend that church event, your body screams at you: 

“I’m just not feeling it!!”

So what do we do?  

There are four simple things to keep in mind when you find yourself falling into a spiritual slump.

Ask For Help

It is easy to forget that we are part of a family.  God designed it to where we are part of the body of Christ.  Therefore, when we feel ourselves getting into a slump, we have the privilege of asking for help.  

A lot of times our stubbornness or pride get in the way of us asking for help.  When that happens, the length of time we remain in a slump gets longer, not shorter.  For some reason, we think that we can handle it on our own, and forget that even those we consider to be spiritual giants needed help from the body of Christ.

Consider God’s servant Moses.  The Israelites were called to fight against the Amalekites.  Joshua and his men were to fight on the field while Moses, Aaron, and Hur were to fight from the top of the hill.  Moses’ job was to hold up his hand so that the Israelites would win.  While Aaron and Hur’s job was to make sure Moses was able to fulfill his responsibility. 

Joshua did as Moses had told him, and fought against Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.  While Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, but whenever he put his hand down, Amalek prevailed.

When Moses’ hands grew heavy, they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat down on it.  Then Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down.  So Joshua defeated Amalek and his army with the sword.  Exodus 17:10-13

 We all need help from time to time and when we get into a spiritual slump is a prime time to ask for help.  

Don’t be afraid to send out that mayday text saying, “Help!  Pray for me!”  

Modify Your Steps

An athlete is unable to continue at the usual pace when they are injured.  A modified workout and even practice must be adhered to for the athlete to return to competition.

A child who becomes sick is unable to attend school until they are well.  They may be able to do some school at home, but it will be at a modified level until they are well enough to go back to school.  

If an athlete has to modify their workout routine while in recovery and a child has to alter their school work while they are sick, what makes us think we do not have to modify our spiritual development while we are in a spiritual slump?

When we are in a spiritual slump, the worst thing we could do is try to continue at the current pace when we are NOT “feeling it.”  It would be foolish.

Slow it down and modify until you can get back on your feet again.  

For example, if you regularly read 4-5 chapters of the Bible a day, yet you have hit a spiritual slump, try cutting back to 1-2 chapters a day.   If you routinely pray uninterrupted for 15 minutes every day try cutting it back to 5 minutes.  

Whatever your daily spiritual routine looks like, when you are in the slumps, cut back a little.  Otherwise, you will abandon it all.  

It is a lot harder to start from scratch than to have a platform to take off from. 

Say No

While modifying our spiritual routines helps while in a spiritual slump, so does saying no to activities we usually would say yes.  Despite what we like to think about ourselves, we are not Superman or Wonder Woman.  

We can’t do everything, and it is okay to say no.  

Saying no often keeps us out of a spiritual slump before we even get into one.  If we try to continue to attend and participate in events we know we should hold off on, we quickly find ourselves more depleted.  It is not beneficial for us or those around us.  

Saying no is not permanent in most cases. 

It is merely a pause to help raise you out of the spiritual slump.  

Give Praise

Even in the most challenging circumstances or situations, the Spirit of Christ in us enables us to give praise to God.  Job found this in the midst of his circumstances (Job 13:15), and so did Paul (Philippians 4:12-14).    

While coming out of one of my spiritual slumps recently, I picked up the devotional I started at the first of the year.  God’s continued faithfulness once again met me.  As I read the following, my spirit began to be lifted out of the pit of weariness and into the throne room of the great God we serve. 

The heavens are Yours; the earth also is Yours.

The world and everything in it—You founded them.

North and south—You created them.

Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.

You have a mighty arm;  

Your hand is powerful; 

Your right hand is lifted high.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;

Faithful love and truth go before You.

Happy are the people who know the joyful shout;

Yahweh, they walk in the light of Your presence.

They rejoice in Your name all day long,

And they are exalted by Your righteousness.

For You are their magnificent strength;

By Your favor our horn is exalted.

Surely our shield belongs to the LORD,

Our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 89:11-18

Conclusion

If you find yourself in a spiritual slump (or funk like my dear, sweet roommate used to say), consider these things:

Ask For Help
Modify Your Steps
Say No
Give Praise

These simple steps can aid in the process of moving you from the spiritual slumps to the mountain top humps.

What step will you take today to move out of the spiritual slump you are in?

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