Monday and Tuesday's winners announced at the end of this post.
Yesterday I asked 150 people what usually helps them when they're feeling spiritually "dry." A great many listed more than one answer in their responses - suggesting a multi-approach is wise. I thought I'd summarize their answers for us here.
Music - up beat praise music, worship, or hymns - 84
Bible - mostly just reading, though some mentioned formal bible study - 38
Friends & family - godly girlfriends & mentors, husband, mom or children - 28
Prayer - mostly just talking to God, some also mentioned contemplative meditation - 20
Books - devotionals, Christian books - 18
Reflecting - on blessings, on God, or on what God has done in the past - 16
Solitude - retreating, getting alone, spending time in the quiet - 16
Journaling - writing down problems, feelings or prayers; looking thru old journals - 8
Teaching - from sources like radio, TV, sermons, podcasts - 8
Exercise - walking, running - 6
Nature - being outdoors, enjoying or noticing God in nature - 5
Looking over this list I realize most of these deal with getting God's words of truth (back) into the forefront of your mind - Bible reading, music lyrics, Christian books and teachings. Even prayer and journaling, depending on what you are saying or writing. The friends category too (assuming they are speaking truth and godly advice to you and not just providing distractions).
The remaining strategies deal with unplugging from the daily noise and routine long enough to plug back into God and regain spiritual perspective - solitude, reflection, time in nature, prayer. Journaling or exercising could fit here too. Music also as it has the ability to "carry us away" as we close our eyes and listen or sing. I was not surprised that music was mentioned the most - it functions both ways.
I loved the gal who said sometimes she just goes and sits in her dry bathtub for some solitude. And another gal who said the upstairs closet is her retreat place at times. :)
I asked this question for two reasons. First, I really wanted to know your answers, your strategies. And second, I think its important for us to know what generally "works." For you and I to have a go-to plan to implement as soon as we recognize we're drifting into a spiritual slump.
The trick is to recognize it early and react quickly. Too often we make a long, slow decline of it and don't make adjustments until we're dehydrated and near bottom.
These same strategies that pull us out of the slump and bring God back into focus are the very ones that if utilized regularly, keep us from drying out in the first place. It's all about taking the time and making the effort to get and remain plugged into God.
But then you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?
Interestingly though, there are times God takes us through the desert on purpose. He took Moses to the desert. He took the ancient of nation of Israel to the desert. He even took Jesus to the desert. In those times we may not be able to escape the heat immediately - we have to walk the course - but these strategies will ensure we're in tune with God or His purposes as we walk that dusty terrain. And I believe they will prevent us from spending a single extra unnecessary day wandering there.
So if you tend to drift into slumps, or find yourself in a desert now, make a plan and get proactive. Plug into the source of Life and abide there, even if it seems nothing is happening at first in response. Life will flow again.
Winner of the $15 Starbucks gift card for participating in Monday's Devotional Carnival of Love is JENNY RAIN. I so enjoyed doing that carnival and reading the devotions, I plan to do another one on March 15. So stay tuned for that as I announce the new topic.
Winner of the P31 Whirlwind Giveaway "Bread for Life" is OLIVIA. Congrats to her! And thank you to everyone who took the time to answer and enter.
Thankful that spiritual slumps aren't a permanent way of life.