What to do when your Spiritual walk has slowed down
Do you ever feel like you’re not making enough time for God in your life? Or maybe that you make time, but what you’re doing doesn’t feel productive anymore? Maybe your prayers have become routine, something you mumble out or recite in your head before going to sleep or eating dinner. Maybe you haven’t cracked the spine on your Bible in months despite all good intentions to the contrary.
Sometimes our Spiritual Walk slows down, and it’s important to catch ourselves when that happens. You shouldn’t be ashamed when you hit a stumbling block in your spiritual life, but you should look for ways to overcome it. We should never stop growing as Christians, not until the day we meet the Lord ourselves.
If you’ve found yourself less excited to pray or have had more trouble concentrating on God or thinking about your spiritual life, here are some things you can try to kick things back in gear.
Get out of your rut
Ever notice how you have your best ideas in the shower? Sometimes I’ll be stuck on a problem for work and I’ll spend all day just smacking my head against the desk, frustrated and defeated. I’ll shuffle home feeling like a fraud, crawl into the shower to put the day behind me, and presto, IDEA TIME. The fact is, sometimes work just isn’t the best place to get real thinking done, there are too many distractions, pressures, and petty annoyances.
Weird as it is to say, sometimes our homes can be like that too. We are creatures of our environment and we react to what’s around us. Home is a place of comfort, but also of labor (how many chores are waiting on your right now?) and frustration (who can concentrate on their spiritual life when they’re chasing their teenager down four times a night to stop playing games and get their homework done?) Sitting down to read the Bible or concentrate on prayer might seem easy in the abstract, but when you go to sit down and do it at the dinning room table, that isn’t always the case.
Sometimes finding concentration and focus means finding a different environment. Change your mental space by changing your physical space and try taking the bible to a nearby park or coffee shop and reading without the distractions and background noise of your home. Go on a light walk through a trail and dedicate your thoughts and attention to God. Find a spot where you can be at peace and concentrate on the spiritual. Heck, try the shower!
The important thing is to take action. If your relationship with God feels like it isn’t growing, then the worst thing you can do is to hope for a change while staying exactly the same.
Try another medium
If you’re having trouble concentrating when you go to read the Bible, or constantly promise yourself that you’ll read the Bible more but never get around to doing it, consider trying something else. Instead of reading the Bible, listen to it! There are hundreds of audio version of the Bible out there available on everything from apps and mp3s to good old cassette tapes. You can listen to it however you want, either starting at the beginning or by picking selected books. You can choose to listen to plain readings of the Bible, or ones with commentary and discussion points at the end.
The Bible should always be an important cornerstone of your walk with God, but don’t feel ashamed if sometimes it is hard to digest. Even versions of the Bible with modernized diction and spelling can often be confusing if you lack the historical or cultural context of the events in it. If you find reading or listening to the Bible on its own isn’t giving you a sense of spiritual fulfillment, then find a guide. Set aside time to listen to a recorded devotional, or to watch a program that explores the wonders of the Bible in an understandable and relatable way (like our very own Rev. Dr. Tweedie does on The Prophetic Connection!)
Don’t be confined by ridged expectations of what spiritual development should or shouldn’t look like. There is no right or wrong path to God. Wherever you can find a connection to the Lord or something that excites you spiritually and encourages you to think about the world and your actions in it in a more spiritual perspective is unimpeachably good.
Make some noise
This might seem contradictory since we’ve also talked about finding the peace and quiet to talk to God, but maybe silence isn’t your problem. If you’re not always comfortable with silence, then fill that space with worship!
This is something I knew as a child and had to learn again as an adult. If you can’t concentrate on Biblical study, or your thoughts are too scattered to concentrate on some lesson or devotional, then stop trying for force it and concentrate on what feels right – joyful, enthusiastic worship!
Pray out loud to the Lord like you were having a normal conversation. Lift up your voice and sing in praise to the Lord, whether it’s old hymns or gospels or whatever fills you with joy. Belt it out even if nobody else is listening, or rather I should say, if nobody is listening but God. Sing in praise and thanks to the Lord and you’ll feel the difference in your life and in your walk with God.
Again, there is no wrong way to come to the Lord. The only mistake is never taking a step.