when you feel spiritually drained

 

Take a good, long look at yourself. Step back and look within. Deliberately carve out some time to reflect on how you’re really doing on the inside. There are probably a thousand factors at work on the outside that you could point to that you would say are weighing you down. Like that scene in Cool Hand Luke when Luke, burdened and broken, looks around at his fellow prisoners, and shouts: “Stop feedin’ off me!” Instead, look within. Ask yourself how you’ve honestly been doing in caring for your soul up to this point. If you see good things, humbly thank God and let that put some assurance in your spiritual fuel tank. If you see some things that need attention, boldly face them and repent, thanking God for his calling them to your attention.

Ask yourself: “Is there a physical link?” We are three-part beings: body, soul, and spirit. They’re all connected, but if one area is weak, we’re like a three-legged stool with one leg broken. If you’re physically exhausted, rest assured your spirit will feel the effects. One of the best things you can do for your spirit, not just your body, is to pay attention to when your body needs some rest. Have you been burning the candle at both ends? Find something to jettison and get some rest. It might not be just the “bad” stuff you’ll have to jettison, it could be something “good,” but it will be worth it to find better health for your spirit. Be willing to part with “good” for the sake of the “best.”

Defy gravity. That is, fight negativity. When you’re running near empty, everything, and everyone around you, starts to look empty. If you’re not careful, you’ll start feeding the cynic within you. Don’t. You’ll be tempted to start keeping a record of wrongs. Don’t. Instead, literally count your blessings and keep a record of rights. You can’t climb out of a hole while digging the one you’re in deeper. If you’re going to raise your orbit, you’re going to have to defy gravity. Energy and effort is required. Refuse to go down without a fight.

Don’t allow your drama into the driver’s seat. That is, throttle your emotions; refuse to let them rule. When you put your feelings in the driver’s seat, you just might start going places you have no business going. You can start making decisions you would never otherwise have made when you’re in a spiritually green season. Just because your feelings pull strong now is no reason to follow your feelings. Sometimes your feelings are not just wrong, but just plain foolish. What you need is some renewed equilibrium where your heart and your head are running at the same speed as a team. Remember, Satan does his best work when we’re off balance. Don’t give him the weapon with which he can push you down.

Keep talking with God. Prayer may seem unsatisfying, even useless. Pray anyway. It may seem dull, dry, and dead. Pray anyway. You may falter for words or simply have no words at all. Pray with your spirit anyway. Give God your groans, not just your words, and recall that his Spirit groans with yours. Let others inform your praying, too. Now is the perfect time to spend some time in the Psalms. Make good use of quality books of prayer as well (Michael Quoist’s work Prayers is superb). The prayers of others can act like sparks on your dry kindling so put yourself within range of those sparks.

Continue with God’s word and God’s people. The tendency when you’re drained is to drift away from both; to stop listening to God and to stop meeting with his people. Fight the drift. You need his will now more than ever. Read Scripture when it’s meaningless to you. Read when it does nothing for you. Read when you’d really rather be doing something else. And stay close to God’s people. Plant your feet in God’s family and put down roots so deep you cannot be moved away from them. Seek out the company of a spiritually strong friend – let me emphasize, a spiritually strong friend – and keep walking the walk with them. God’s word and God’s people: they’re the two main rsources God uses to re-stimulate growth in your faith, hope, and love so don’t isolate yourself from them, rather, immerse yourself in them.

Check your perspective. This just might be the single most important thing you need to be reminded of at this point: this is a season you’re going through, not the end. It’s a port of call, not the point of no return. Whether they’d ever admit to others or not, rest assured everyone experiences times like you’re going through right now. If someone tells you they don’t, they’re likely either lying, spiritually numb, or just so new (or shallow) in faith that they have yet to experience it. The Psalms are full of prayers of those who felt this way, deeply so, and for long periods of time. The majority of the Psalms are laments. So don’t despair. Do as the writers of the Psalms did: continue on.

this went thru my mind

Church: The Early Church by Timothy Archer.

Humor: On the 8th Day, God Created Photoshop.

iPhone: I don’t have an iPhone (yet), but if (when) I dump my Android and get an iPhone, it’s going to go straightaway into this case: iPhone Case/Wallet. Ol’ school cool.

John R. W. Stott: When I ask myself who are those whom I have never, but I know have greatly influenced my perspective of things, the name “John Stott” appears high on the list. Four of his books have especially spoke to me: Basic Christianity, Between Two Worlds, The Cross of Christ, and his commentary on Romans.  John Stott died this week. Tim Stafford’s article, John Stott Has Died, is particularly well done.

Pornography: Ed Stetzer’s The Pornification of American Culture and Benjamin Nolot’s hard-hitting article entitled Does Modern Slavery Start at Home? is important reading.

Religious trends: Barna Examines Trends in 14 Religious Factors over 20 Years (1991 to 2011).

Wealth: Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics: Twenty-to-One.

Worship: Skye Jethani’s article Worship Through a Child’s Eyes will certainly make you think.

love busters (5)

Annoying habits are behaviors that bother your spouse that you repeat without giving it much thought.

We engage in annoying habits because we don’t feel what our spouse feels or we don’t care how are spouse feels when we do them.

Whether it’s intentional or not, a couple’s behavior will affect the love they have for each other.

Habits are formed by simply repeating the new behavior often enough.

Any new behavior is uncomfortable at first. Whenever a new behavior is introduced to your brain, it must form a new neural pathways before it feels natural to you. The more you repeat the new behavior, the more complete the new neural pathways become. Eventually, the pathways are completed, and you have a new habit – automatic and almost effortless.

Love Busters: Overcoming Habits That Destroy Romantic Love by Willard F. Harley, Jr. (Revell, 2005), pp.146-147
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love busters (4)

Radical honesty is complete honesty about one’s feelings, past experiences, present activities, and future plans. It is essential in marriage because it provides a clear road map for marital adjustment, meets an important emotional need, and prevents massive Love Bank withdrawals.

There are four types of dishonesty in marriage: (1) protection, (2) looking good, (3) avoiding trouble, and (4) compulsion.

Honesty is not a Love Buster. When thoughtless behavior is revealed, it’s the thoughtless behavior, not honesty, that causes unhappiness.

Avoid wrapping the Policy of Radical Honesty in the Love Buster’s of selfish demands, disrespectful judgments, or angry outburst.

Encourage your spouse to be honest by valuing honesty consistently and by avoiding punishment of honesty.

Remember to reveal to your spouse as much information about yourself as you know: your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities, and plans for the future.

Love Busters: Overcoming Habits That Destroy Romantic Love by Willard F. Harley, Jr. (Revell, 2005), p.130