I know it’s been quite some time since you have heard from me and I do apologize for this.
Well, I haven’t been able to generate the words.
Since my last post, Steven has pestered me to write something almost every single day.
He has been on my case about it. One day last week I finally said flatly, “Look, I cannot get the words out of my head and onto the paper. I’m trying, but it isn’t working.”
He quit bugging me for about a week.
That week came to an end when we were together yesterday. We were having a conversation about our lives currently and how we have been feeling.
He proceeded to ask me, “what do you mean by you can’t get the words out? I don’t understand what that means.”
When he asked me, I thought long and hard; I searched my mind for a way to explain how I had been feeling, but I did not have words for the words. We sat in silence for a few minutes as I thought how on Earth I could vocalize what I have been internalizing.
Then suddenly, it hit me.
I looked at him and said, “I’m spiritually congested.”
“There’s so much clogging my head and my eyes that it’s causing a backup in my thoughts and my ability to express my faith in words.”
“I guess I just feel stagnant in my faith right now. I don’t feel far from God or like He doesn’t exist. I just feel stuck.”
For a few weeks, I have been working on my own to try and work my way out of the stuffy nose and clogged head phase.
You know how this is. I’m pretty sure there isn’t one person on Earth that loves colds or congestion and gets excited when they make camp in their body.
Why? Well, I feel it’s obvious: you can’t breathe right, you get headaches, your face swells, you use fifteen boxes of tissues in one week, and you feel weak. But in your mind, you know soon you will get better. You know soon, you will heal up, if you prepare: resting, eating well, and taking medicine, if necessary.
I cannot help but believing our faith follows this same cycle.
Sometimes, life just demands too much from us. We get bogged down by the constant thinking, doing, living, and seeking. It causes us to catch a “faith cold.” This cold causes congestion and stuffiness until we can no longer breathe in joy and breathe out praise.
So, what can you do? Well, unfortunately you cannot take an Alka-Seltzer decongestant for your faith, so we must approach it in a different way. So, here are four ways you can combat the cold.
David writes in Psalms something that is valuable to us today, especially in times like these:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Psalm 40:1-2 (NIV)
This is wonderful for David, but you probably are not out of the mire yet. You haven’t been decongested. So, you need to be honest about how you feel, just as I did.
You need to ask yourself, “If I had nothing to lose, what would I say to God?” Digging even further, “If I controlled my spiritual life all on my own, how would I want it to look?” And “How does that vision compare to what I currently have?”
You need to dig. You need to be honest and open with how you are feeling. It’s not wrong to feel spiritually clogged.
You are surrounded by other people that have a faith similar to yours. You can reach out and make an effort to see if someone close to you or in your spiritual community feels the same way you do. Ask them if they’re congested spiritually.
And why should you?
Because. Stuck is stagnant; stuck is congestion: not healing and not strengthening your faith.
But unstuck? Well, that’s movement; unstuck is decongestion: moving towards God and praising Him even when you feel you have the worst “faith cold” you’ve ever had. Decongestion is surrender and trusting that the Lord plans to heal your heart and strengthen you, in His time. Utilizing the community around you will help you spur each other on to good deeds. I know I have used this verse before, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.
Hebrews 10:14 (NIV)
You need to trust and utilize the community around you; encourage one another and love deeply and in God’s time, you will heal.
It’s your choice. You can remain congested, or you can take the necessary steps to become decongested. As I said earlier, when you have a cold you know that soon you will heal, but only if you take the necessary steps to do so. As soon as I realized I had hit a sticky place with God, I began working to try and heal my heart and my faith just as I would if I had a cold. If a method to heal a cold didn’t work, you would soon give that one up to try a new one.
So, you have to ask yourself. What am I doing now that isn’t working?
In order to move past the stuck to become unstuck, you must evaluate your current behaviors, and make the call. Do you need to read your Bible more? Do you need to listen to more uplifting music? Do you need to find a new church, pray with a friend, or spend more time reflecting with God? Whatever it may be, it’s your responsibility to discover the cure for your cold. You can’t go about it carelessly and expect to just heal randomly one day. One of the pastors for North Point says it better than I ever could:
You will never passively find what you don’t actively pursue.
- Clay Scroggins
Proverbs does a fine job explaining this. Solomon says:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trusting Him will give you the strength to take the next step, which in turn will straighten your path.
Do you feel weak? It’s because you are lacking the trust necessary to grow.
Trust strengthens you, no matter who you are.
But, how does trusting help heal?
It helps you realize that you do not have to be perfect and it helps you realize that faith isn’t an equation with one right answer. There isn’t a set amount of steps you should take or changes you should adhere to before you will be spiritually healthy again. There is not a set amount of times you should pray everyday or a “correct way” to pray even. But there is a transformation of your heart. There is realizing that there is more than one way to communicate with God and to heal. There is remembering that no matter how weak you are, Christ is strong. There is trusting that the Lord has established your steps for the rest of your life. He knows when you will be spiritually congested and how much time you will spend healing.
You just need to remember that God is trustworthy.
God is trustworthy.
God is trustworthy.
God is trustworthy.
Recently, I have found myself repeating that over and over again to help me stay focused on what truly matters throughout the day, to remember that He is sovereign over every step in my life.
Friends, I truly believe that if you take action now, you can slowly begin to move towards healing.
I am beginning to take those steps on my own, too.
I have to take my own advice daily and remember that soon, God will strengthen me and that with His guidance, I will get well soon.
Encouragement is a hard thing to tackle, but what if there was a way to break it down? Encouragement just becomes simpler when looked at through the lenses of faith.
Humans. Are we naturally compassionate or selfish? Arguably, we are selfish and have thrived in a society of "me, me, me," for generations; the narcissism never seems to end. But, is this behavior really behavior helping us thrive spiritually? Is this the way God desires for us as a Church to live, always wrapped up in ourselves? If you open His word, there you find an answer to this question and I discuss it in this weeks post.