8 steps to take when you feel spiritually dry
We all experience times when we feel dry spiritually, we get in a funk, the mulligrubs. We find ourselves reading scripture and praying, but we’re not feeling it. I often wonder if us moms experience this even more so because we are often responsible for the spiritual development of our little people. I have learned that helping others to grow in their spiritual life is not the same as nurturing my own spiritual needs. With enough neglect the once palpable spirituality is suddenly flat like day old soda. When I find myself in this space there are a few things that I do:
Admit I’m in a spiritual rut – this seems like a simple step but this is an all-important admission, be honest with yourself and God. I lead a busy enough life to convince myself that I’m not experiencing a rut my life is just super busy right now and when my schedule slows some, I’ll get back into the spiritual swing of things. But here is the slippery slope, the longer I neglect the dryer it gets and it’s easy for that tricky satan to usher in some bad habits like sleeping through my morning prayer time, promising to resume our family prayer time tomorrow when things feel less hectic etc etc. When I recognize myself feeling spiritually dry, I have to admit that is what’s happening and commit to addressing it promptly.
Remind yourself that everyone goes through spiritually dry times, everyone. Even our beloved saints experienced times when they felt far away from God. Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) experienced a dark night of the soul as detailed in Come Be My Light:The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta. Read biographies of spiritual leaders who wrestled with these times in their lives, they are wonderful examples of persistence.
My typical daily routine consists of waking at 5am and having a cup of coffee with my husband before moving to my favorite chair in our room to read the daily scripture readings and a devotional. I then begin to write my morning pages. I learned to write my “morning pages” from the classic The Artists Way written by Julia Cameron. She encourages her readers to write three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness first thing in the morning. There is no way to screw this up; it’s just free writing. The beautiful outcome of writing my morning pages for me is that my writing turns into prayer journaling. My “dear diary” entries morph into a conversation with God where I will tell him that “I’m just not feeling it God, I’m going through the motions, but that is all, help me to stay this course until I come out on the other side, and if you would fill me with the Holy Spirit to guide me and to help me to remove my light from under a bushel and put it on a stand so that it gives light to all in the house (Matt 5:15)
Confide in other women about your spiritual rut. Recently I shared with a couple of women a recent experience I had when feeling dry in my prayer life. After the conversation one of the women approached me to thank me for sharing, my experience brought comfort to her knowing she was not alone. We need community with one another, especially during these dry time.
Don’t be afraid to mix up your devotionals. If you are like me, you have the go-to resources that you like to use. Maybe from your favorite author or you use a devotional app. Don’t be afraid to explore something new, sometimes a fresh perspective can be just what we needed. Not too long ago I found myself struggling spiritually. I got up to do my morning reading, and instead of picking up my go-to devotional, I listened to my gut tell me to pick up a different book. I opened its pages and began reading. I was blown away by the experience because what I was reading was exactly what I needed. Allow the Holy Spirit to move you where you need to go.
Similar to the above step, don’t be afraid to seek inspiration from people who don’t attend the same church or denomination you attend. The Holy Spirit works in all of us, regardless of denomination. Don’t create any self imposed limitations regarding where you find inspiration.
Fake it til you make it- go through all the same motions you always go through, even if they still feel flat. Saint Ignatius would tell you to keep doing what you were doing before you felt yourself struggling. If you always read scripture and pray in the morning, keep doing it. Keep showing up, keep hitting your knees, keep saying the words, which brings me to my final suggestion.
Listen, listen for God to respond. So often we show up to pray with a laundry list of worries and needs and we dump them on God and wrap things up with a tidy “amen” without giving Him a chance to respond. Pray is not a one way communication. Pray and then listen, give Him time to respond to you. God doesn’t answer us in burning bushes anymore, it’s the quiet stirrings in our souls, but to hear Him we must “be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10)
What do you do when you are in a spiritual rut?