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.