Thursday, November 5, 2009

Getting Out of the Funk

We've all had the funk. I don't mean the mean the good, jammin' out to classic rock tunes funk.  I mean the stop reading your Bible, saying memorized prayers, going through the motions funk that all Christians seem to struggle with at some point or another.
I've been in the funk for awhile now. I've continued to lead prayers with my family at meals times and before bed. I've continued to teach a class on the book of James and attend a men's Bible study on Monday nights. Still the funk remains. I'm not really sure when it is going to leave, but here are a few things that have/have not helped in the past.

Things that Have Not Helped:
1. Trying to do more. It seems like you get in the funk, get behind on the daily Bible reading so you set aside some time to get caught up.  What happens is a marathon reading that allows little depth into the text.
2. No plan. Thinking, hey these things happen, I'll snap out of it soon.
3. Comparing myself to ourselves.  This is rarely a good idea. God made us in His image, not in the image of your best friend, next door neighbor, or anyone else.

Things that Have Helped:
1. Continue in the motions.  Yes, there are times when your whole heart may not be into it, but to stop altogether is not the better solution. There have been too many times when I have just been reading my Bible or listening to a song while in a funk that the Lord showed me something I had never seen before and then the funk was over.  Don't give up on the disciplines that have gotten you this far.
2. Admitting you're in a funk.  Simply recognizing that things are not how you want them to be is powerful.  Sharing that observation with others multiples the effect.
3.Change of place+change of pace=change of perspective. I first heard this from Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. It's great advice for getting out of any funk that you are in.

I hope the advice helps if you are in a funk.  What advice would you share?


  1. Hey sorry it took me forever to read this! JD, I think everybody knows how you feel! I am very much a "feelings" person, and so whenever I don't "feel" anything about God, it really freaks me out! I totally get that.
    One time during a really good Harding chapel, I stopped singing cold because I felt NOTHING. Yesterday I prayed and...nothing. It's worse than being angry with God, like after my Gramma died, because I didn't stop believing, I was just full of emotion. The funk is the worst!
    No, reading tooons of verses does not help. Maybe trying to stick to reading the Gospels (for a little while) would help? JUST the words of Jesus...sometimes we get too bogged down in doing so many "spiritual" activities that we get lost. I am so glad I read this actually...yesterday I realized that I was having trouble "feeling" anything spiritual. My case is different than yours though: I have been so caught up in school and just useless trivia/stress that I have been leaving God out of the equation. So I have been making myself "go through the motions" (reading a few verses, saying quick prayers, thinking about how Jesus would react in any situation). I think I may have been so caught up in everything else, that I barely noticed I was in a funk!
    This morning I just picked a couple of verses from James 3 and am going to try to think about them and apply them to my life. I don't know, the funk is such a scary place :(
    As for number 3, DON'T compare yourself to other people...
    a) they could be in a funk too, and just hide it well.
    b) At Harding I used to think that certain people or professors were "super-holy" or just had such a greater understanding of the world and God. That only resulted in low self-esteem and feeling worse. People have different talents, too. Some people are great at encouraging, or song-leading, or all of that Elrod/Jimmy Shaw cool peace movement stuff, or organizing charities, etc. I always looked up to you because you seem pretty laid-back and look at Jesus from a global/cultural perspective.
    I realize that I said nothing useful about getting out of the funk! I'd like advice too, let me know if anything new has happened!

  2. Thanks for the comment Abby, sorry it has taken me so long to write back! I hope things are going well breaking out of the Harding bubble. All of us go through these phases.



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