There are times when my heart is overflowing with abundant joy that it is plain as day to detect, but there are also moments of my life that my heart is not overflowing with joy and seems to be stagnant. This is inevitable. Every one of us will experience stages in our lives that are less pleasurable than we long for.
No one necessarily wants to be sad, going through the motions, or in a deadlock. We want to experience joy, happiness, a purpose, and ultimately a fulfilling relationship with the Lord. No one truly finds great pleasure in stagnant segments of life.
I don’t know about you, but during these moments I feel, well, dull; like I am unable to pull myself up from it and I don’t have the slightest idea of how to get back to where I was with God before this grueling encounter. I feel like I have no purpose and true joy from the Lord seems to have gone out the window. You might be experiencing the same feeling or maybe it looks a little different for you.
Let me fill you in on a little secret. It’s not God, it’s you. Oh, did I just openly say that? It seems a little harsh, but it’s the truth. My intention is not to offend or hurt you by any means. My intention is to bring truth to you and additionally, to myself.
It’s not us as a person. It’s not our character. It’s our perspective, our vision, or frame of view.
We see these stagnant instances as negative, daunting, and at times hopeless. But what God wants us to comprehend is that we are off-track. He is giving us a clear indication that we have lost our perspective about our lives and purpose. He is giving us a chance to grow our faith in Him and to surrender to his refinement of our character.
So, now that we know the truth about these quiet moments, what’s next?
Over the past few years I have come up with some starting points for stagnant moments:
Talk to God about how you are feeling, what is going on in your head, or just call out His name.
As 1 Peter 5:7 commands, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (NIV). He isn’t far away. He is close, nearby to listen to you and comfort you. And might I remind you that God is always near even when you do not feel that He is. Job 34:21 “For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps” (NAS).
In times of drought and stagnation we must remember that we have the truth at hand, the Bible.
We should seek His Word and teachings by digging into the Bible day after day. Sometimes I find myself digging in the Word but not “feeling” much of anything. Don’t be upset with yourself for this feeling.
Just continue to read His Word and pursue Him. We have gotten off-track but by keeping in His Word, seeking Him in all we do, say, and think eventually, we will begin to feel God’s presence both physically and spiritually.
Be still. Quiet yourself before God.
This takes some time getting used to. Our lives are so busy and that is often why our perspective of life and purpose derails. We don’t take time to just “be”. Take 5 minutes each day to “be still”.
When your mind wanders (and it will!) draw your attention back on to a characteristic of God or imagine walking alongside a lake with the Lord at your side. It seems a little awkward right now, but this is something that helps me to regain focus and actually feel God is right here with me. 5 minutes, that’s all. Just try it!
It’s been said that people who are clinically depressed are often prescribed a dose of “giving”. Although, you may not be clinically depressed or maybe you are, redirecting your focus onto something or someone else will help you stop thinking so much and start seeing the true blessings God has given you.
When we help someone in need, whether it be serving at your local soup kitchen, holding the door for someone, writing an encouraging or thank you note to someone, or visiting with cute elderly people at the nursing home, we begin to have a purpose and if you really think about it, these “Do Something” moments are opportunities to bring God’s love into someone else’s life. Thus, an opportunity to further His kingdom.
So, by helping others we transmit self-focus to others-focused creating in ourselves a purpose, brightening up someone’s day, and we have opportunities to bring God glory.
How awesome! A 3-in-1 deal! The challenge here is to write out a few “Do Something” opportunities and set a date of when to accomplish each “Do Something” activity. Trust me, you can do it and I promise that it might be frightening at first but in the end you will feel joy.
Lastly, praise God! Finding something to praise God for in the midst of a drought may be tough.
We often think of the negative things and why we are still stuck in this stagnant place. So, I challenge you (and myself) during the course of each day find at least three things to praise God for. It could be something like the sun shining, for protecting you from a car accident, or something as simple as the pure heavenly cup of coffee! Praise Him in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Praise Him for He is faithful and keeps His promises.
God is waiting to see what we do during this time. He wants to see how our faith has grown since the last stagnation and how much we trust in Him. Sometimes I have to convince myself that God is with me at all times, cheering me on to fight the good fight, to keep running the race at hand.
It’s tough. It’s draining. And if we are all honest, there are phases when we just want to quit. But don’t. Remind yourself of what James 1:2-4 affirms, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”.
You will get through this. You will regain your purpose. You will feel God’s presence again.
Samantha is a 22 year old Ohio native. She has a degree in psychology and works at a university. If she isn’t found with a coffee mug in one hand and a novel in the other, she can be found adventuring the wilderness, cuddled up with a bulk of thread embroidering, planning her next road trip, playing with her fur baby, or hanging out with her friends and family. Samantha is a seeker of God’s beauty and a lover of cultural differences. She would rather listen to classical rather than rap or country over heavy metal. She believes in building community, praising God whenever and wherever, and always seeing the glass half full. You can find Samantha blogging with her fur baby at http://justyournotsoaveragegirl.blogspot.com/ or you can find her on Instagram at @thatgirlsammy11.