Just a heads up, the title to this article is deceptive. Like two magnets that repel when faced with the same pole, quick fixes and following Jesus don’t easily slot together, no matter how much we would like them to. Nevertheless, when it feels like our faith ‘journey’ has become more of a faith ‘stand’, there are some things that we can do, practices that seasoned saints and the words of Scripture tell us can provide comfort and help in a dry season.
Firstly though, what do we mean by a spiritual rut? Well, if you’re in one right now, then it won’t be hard to describe – you know what it feels like. The dictionary definition of rut is “something that has become dull and unproductive, but is hard to change.” This can all too easily feel like our spiritual experience; black and white rather than glorious technicolor. We look at others around us. They seem to be filled with life and joy, yet we feel dull and unproductive.
It’s not a new experience, reserved for modern Christians. Throughout the Bible, men and women had these experiences. Elijah, Moses, David, Paul, Jeremiah, heroes of the faith had times and seasons that felt dry and bleak. After all, feeling God’s absence is proof that you also know His presence.
Walking with God is the simplest and, at the same time, most complex adventure. Each human soul is unique and different. Our experiences and reactions to those experiences have shaped us all in odd ways. We process things differently and each one of us has a special and personal calling and life to lead. Glib solutions have very little place in the sacred space between soul and spirit.
With that tension in mind, here are a couple of humble suggestions that are worth considering, in a time of spiritual dryness.
1. Feelings are fickle.
Our emotions can be a great compliment to our faith, but we cannot allow them to replace them. Just because it FEELS like God has left you, that He doesn’t love you or that you aren’t moving forward in your walk with Him, doesn’t mean that you are. There are deeper realities than our feelings.
2. Talk to someone.
A trusted friend can help you see those deeper realities. Find someone you know loves the Lord and open up to them about how you’re feeling. Just sharing about your difficulties can be load-lightening.
3. Talk to yourself.
Psalm 27, a psalm where David seems all too familiar with feeling like he isn’t close to God, ends by saying, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Yes, he’s talking to us, but at the time, he was talking to himself. Sometimes, we just have to have a word with ourselves: our minds and hearts. His advice is worth noting too: Just wait it out. Wait. Keep waiting. Be brave and keep waiting. He’s coming. And, when He does, it will be all the more sweeter because you waited.