Stuck in a Rut

This may sound strange, but I've been in a bit of a spiritual rut, lately. It doesn't make much sense to me because I'm actually happier and more relaxed than I've been in years. I'm finished with school, my schedule is back to normal, things are going well. I feel really, really blessed. So the fact that it's been hard to pray and read my Bible like normal is bugging me. I'm not mad at God or anybody else and I feel just as much love as I always have, maybe more. It's just that when I try to quiet my mind to pray or read, it doesn't happen. The words don't come out right - sometimes they don't come out at all - and I read the same verses over and over without anything really sinking in. I'm befuddled.

So, I sought help. I went to talk to my preacher yesterday just to ask his opinion, figuring he'd have some insight and be able to offer input on my situation. He's not only a very spiritual man, but a spiritual leader, and one who is highly educated both Biblically and in the school of life.

So I shared and he listened.

Then he shared and I listened.

He offered me some very good advice and it felt good to actually talk about it. And then, after about 45 minutes he said, "Wait a minute. When did you finish your Master's?"

I said, "Graduation was two weeks ago."

Then he rared back in his chair and laughed out loud. It kinda shocked me, if you must know the truth. I don't know that I've ever had a preacher laugh that freely at something I said, especially when I wasn't sure why what I said was funny.

Still laughing, he said, "You're burned out!"

He explained that when he finally completed the dissertation for his doctoral degree, there was a period of time during which he found it difficult to really focus on anything, and even reading became a chore. He said that there are written histories of Christian Mystics that describe "dry spells," when even they found themselves in a spiritual rut. (Mysticism is the direct experience of God, a kind of knowing and union that goes beyond intellectual understanding - actually becoming one with Christ. John the Baptist and the Apostle Paul were two examples of Christian Mystics.)

It felt good to know that even people like John and Paul (the Bible guys, not the Beatles) had spiritual dry spells. It's sort of a misery loves company kind of thing, I suppose.

After talking to the preacher and doing a little research this morning, I feel more confident that everything's fine, and that I'm not going to wake up with my head turning 360 degrees while I projectile-vomit green pea soup like demon-possessed Linda Blair in The Exorcist. It's not quite that messy a deal, it seems. Good to know.

Before I left his office, my preacher said, "You need a vacation."

You know, when your pastor tells you it's time for a break, I suppose you should listen. I'll take it as Divine Guidance.

Now I just have to figure out when and where I can go...


Anonymous said…
I really enjoyed reading this post. It is filled with wonderful content, and easy to read. I was able to follow your voice the entire time I read this. My concerns about my spiritual rut were answered as well (I googled those terms). Thanks.

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