7 Ways out of a Spiritual Slump

No offense to all you soccer and football moms out there, but baseball is where it’s at. We’re a baseball lovin’ family.  Always have been, always will be. (Go Royals!)

While I don’t know everything there is to know about it, and definitely can’t play it, I do know one thing. Every player, no matter how outstanding, will get in a slump.  It’s inevitable.

Why? Because even though they’re talented, and get paid exorbitant stacks of cash for what they do, they are still human, with the potential to fall into a slump.

And so are you.

The stakes are higher and the reward is greater. Souls are hanging in the balance, and the ministry we have has eternal consequences. Being an ambassador for Christ and minister of reconciliation is a weighty role.

Sometimes the pressure can stifle our creativity and send us into a spiritual slump.  If you find yourself in one right now, here are 7 ways to step out of it.

7 WAYS OUT OF A SPIRITUAL SLUMP

  1. Run to the Lord in prayer. Colossians 4:2~ Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Prayer is a given in every situation in life, but oftentimes we overlook this most basic component of our faith.  We must look to the Lord for help out of the spiritual slump.  We are powerless without prayer!
  2. Repent and purify your heart. Have you every felt like your prayers are just words bouncing off the ceiling, or falling on deaf ears?  This might be an indication of sin in your life that’s hindering your fellowship with Christ.  Confess it, forsake it, and be reconciled to Jesus.  Proverbs 28:13~ He that covereth is sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.  A great verse to commit to memory is 1John 1:9~ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   When we hold onto unconfessed sin we are pushing away God’s forgiveness, cleansing, and mercy.
  3. Rework your priorities. God, Spouse, Children, Church, Lost world, and so on. That is the biblical priority list for every Christian woman.  If you’re single with no kids, you are free to “attend upon the Lord without distraction”.(1Cor.7:32-35) Maybe ministry to other women has subtly but steadily slid your ministry to your spouse and children down the line. Stop and examine where you spend the most time, what has your attention? Make the changes necessary to get your priorities aligned with the word and will of God.
  4. Renew your perspective. Sometimes we get in a slump because like athletes, we can get too focused on the numbers and results. We can get consumed by our following on social media. For a refresher on the proper perspective we should have, read this.
  5. Release the pressure. After using a pressure cooker to process jars of food, you take the weight off and release the steam to unlock the lid and get to the goods. When it feels like the weight of your ministry has you locked down, it’s time to let off some steam! Some of us need to start with lifting the weight of unrealistic expectations, and the pressure to perform at a certain level. As long as God is pleased with your ministry, that’s all that matters! Go at his pace and don’t try to compete with anyone else. Give yourself permission to take a break. Go for a walk or to the gym, take a hot bath, or visit with a friend. Take your bible and journal and find a cozy new place to get away with Jesus.
  6. Remember the point. Don’t ever forget that your ministry came from God, is through him, and for him. He gifted and called you, equips and enables you to do what you do for his glory and not your own. Ultimately it’s not about you at all. It’s all about Jesus.  Hold all things loosely, knowing that he can take it just as surely as he gave it. (Job 1:21)
  7. Return to praise. Nothing gets me out of a slump quicker than cranking up the praise music! Praise him for his goodness and grace, his provision and power, and his forgiveness and faithfulness. Let him restore unto you the joy of your salvation as you rejoice in his glorious name.

Whether you’re a writer whose lost the words, or a mama struggling to keep her head above water, the solution’s the same. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. 

I hope these 7 steps are a blessing to you, and that God lifts you out of the slump you’re in as you delight in him today.

~Hebrews 12:1-2~ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

You can read more Christian bloggers at this link-up at: https://www.betheeinspired.com/blog/

and Facebook.com/groups/saltandlightgroup

From Worry to Worship~ Shifting your focus from the “What ifs” to “What is”

Worry= a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.  

I was in this state of anxiety this week.

With the holiday,  battling writer’s block, and a tight schedule, I’ve gotten so behind on the blog. I also need to work on the first e-book I’ve started, and revamp my bible study material to teach the ladies at church. Along with that is a nagging sense of pressure to produce transparent pieces that minister to women on a practical level.  Writing is hard y’all!

As I brooded over all I needed to get done, the “what ifs” started popping in.  Things like “what if I get weeks behind on the blog, what if I lose my inspiration completely, what if I never get to finish that e-book, and what if I’m not prepared when it comes time to teach?”

Through some prayer partners, fellow writers, and in my daily time with Jesus, the Lord brought it to my attention that this was all self-inflicted worry.  I placed all these expectations on myself.  Standards without flexibility, giving myself no grace. (Have I mentioned I’m a recovering perfectionist?)

I had to go back and re-read my post on Proper Perspective, and re-apply the truth I had just taught. I needed to be reminded to rest in the Lord, remain in his word, and rely on his Spirit.

God has given me this platform to proclaim the word and help women to know, live, and invest the truth.  He gives me every post, I just have to make sure I’m tuned into his leading through my quality time with him every day.  My job is to put the time in studying, praying, and living out the things I teach.  His job is everything else.

His timing is perfect, and so is his track record. I just need to trust him.

Maybe you’re as forgetful as I am, and you’ve had a similar experience lately.  Times where you find yourself wandering down the rabbit trail of “what ifs” when God desires you to stand firm on the path of “what is“.

Worry is a common stronghold for women.  We crave control, we’re problem solvers, we like to get things done.  So in the unknown that characterizes our walk of faith, it’s easy to fall into the snare of the “what ifs”. If you’re a:

  • Mom– What if my kids don’t get saved; live a life of sin; get cancer; die before me…
  • Wife– What if my husband cheats on me; leaves me; doesn’t get that job; doesn’t walk with Jesus…
  • Daughter– What if my parents get sick; I’m the only one to take care of them; I can’t afford their medicine…
  • Friend– What if they gossip about me; find a new friend; they like someone else more than me…
  • Worker– What if I don’t get enough hours; lose that promotion; get fired; can’t pay my bills…

We could sit and dwell for days on all the different scenarios that could happen.  But where’s the profit in that?  We don’t gain anything other than a few more wrinkles and alot of irritability.

What the Lord wants us to do is to think soberly about the circumstances of life, to discipline our thinking, so that we can worship him freely, without the restraints of unnecessary fears.

Jesus addressed worry in Matthew 6:25-34.  You should read it.  He starts and ends this passage with “take no thought”– basically don’t worry about the things of this life.  God is a perfect provider and will meet all your needs,  you can count on it.

~Matthew 6:33~ But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

Don’t panic over your problems, put time in with Jesus.  Pray over it all, praise him for who he is and what he has done.  Proclaim the promises of what he will do.

Walk by faith and not by sight.

The apostle Paul also gave us instructions for winning the war with worry:

~1Corinthians 10:5~ Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Instead of stewing over situations outside of your control, and imagining things that may never happen, arrest those thoughts and apply the truth. Put your mind in submission to the word of God.

~Philippians 4:8~ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Shifting our focus from the “what ifs” to “what is” true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise, will naturally turn our hearts from worry to worship as we recount all the ways God is present, powerful, and perfect.

Even if you’re facing great uncertainty, a scary diagnosis, a wayward child, marital problems, or are buried under the weight of a busy schedule, no matter what- God is faithful. 

The Lord is willing and able to provide you with everything you need to extinguish worry before it engulfs you.  You have to be intentional to be sober minded and turn your thoughts toward him. Go from worry to worship today!

~Philippians 4:6-7~ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

The Fog

My family and I have a weird tradition when we’re trying to find the ever-elusive close parking spot on our many shopping adventures.  We’ll all be on the lookout for “the fog”.  It’s a phrase I coined as an acronym for the favor of God.  Every time we get a spot near the entrance, (which is almost every time), we’ll say “thank you Jesus for the fog”!

The kids love it and are blown away by how God answers our prayers over and over again.  They’ll even start scoping out “the fog” as soon as we pull in the lot.

I love doing this for two reasons:

  1. It makes me intentional in all areas of my life to look for the undeserved favor (grace) of God.
  2. I’m training my children and my own heart to automatically give God the glory he so rightfully deserves for the blessings he provides for us.

It’s so easy to take small and large things for granted every day.  Pausing to thank God for anticipating and meeting our needs (and our wants as well), cultivates in us a heart of gratitude.

“The fog” can be a parking spot, a good deal, a surprise check, or any number of things that pop out as a gift from God.  Finding a great house, making new friends, and several divine appointments in our new town are all because we are living in the favor of God.

We pray diligently for that favor in every area of our lives. Not just for our own sake, but for our children, and the lost world to see the goodness of God as he actively moves on our behalf.

The most phenomenal “fog” I ever received was when Jesus forgave all my sin. He just wiped my slate completely clean and made me a new creature for his glory.  I didn’t deserve it then, or now, but that’s the beauty of grace.  He saved me based on his character and sacrifice, not of my own merit.  He is so good!

I’ll go to my grave eternally grateful for the salvation of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  I’m going to keep praising him for all the other “fog” as well.

~Psalm 100:4~ Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.