When I'm tired or overwhelmed I haven't got the capacity to be spiritual. It seems too much like hard work. My mind swirls with worries, to-do lists and what-ifs, and
I'd rather flop in front of the TV than get on my knees before God. When I'm worn out and worried I'd rather devour a box of Oreos than a book of the Bible, and I find myself procrastinating rather than praying.
I wonder where my spiritual get up and go has got up and gone?
Does tiredness turn you into a spiritual sloth?
When a good night's sleep doesn't fix the worry and the weariness it's easy to slowly drift away from God, turning away in apathy and coping alone, when turning to him is exactly what we need. I call it My Downward Spiral of Spiritual Apathyand being a pastor's wife certainly doesn't mean I'm immune.
If we're ever going to find the strength, peace and comfort our souls crave we must break out of the cycle, but it's not easy when we can't be bothered to open the fridge door, let alone knock on his door and feed on the bread of life.
When I was in treatment for cancer and constantly tired, unmotivated, and spiraling away from God faster than a kid on a helter-skelter, I found the key to breaking my spiritual apathy was to take small bites of tasty spiritual food – foods that were close at hand and easy to digest. Tasting God's spiritual food revives our soul, refreshes our hearts and puts a spring back in our steps of faith.
It can be hard to think of ways of connecting with God that aren't overwhelming when we're exhausted, so I've listed some spiritual offerings for you to nibble on. These are some of the spiritual appetizers that helped me recapture my spiritual get up and go when my energy and motivation where at their lowest.
I want to invite you to try some of them however you're feeling today.
1. List five things you are grateful for: Research shows practising gratitude increases our wellbeing so look around and list five things you're grateful for - whether it's your friends, the weather, peanut M&Ms, or God's presence, take a moment to thank him.
2. Write a letter telling God how you're feeling: Whether you're tired, angry, worried, resentful, hopeful or not even sure he's listening, take a moment to tell him, asking him for what you need and listening to what he might be saying to you.
3. Put on some worship music and be still for a moment: Whatever your taste in music, there's some worship music for you. Just sit, with no agenda. Take a moment to become aware of God's presence, not rushing away.
4. Get out into his creation: The world around us reveals his vastness and glory. Check out the night sky, trees in the park or birds on your roof. The guy that made them made you too and didn't make a mistake.
5. Meditate on God's promises: God has promised to never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:8), give you peace (Philippians 4:6) and his strength (Isaiah 41:10), fight for you (Exodus 14:14), comfort you (Isaiah 49:13) and provide for you (Philippians 4:19, 2 Corinthinians 9:8) among other things. Which ones do you need most today? Can you let them sink into your heart as well as your mind?.
6. Look at art that depicts God's character: Charlie Mackesy's Prodigal Son and Rembrant's Prodigal Son both depict the unconditional love of God in very different ways. What do these pictures say to you? Do you believe God loves you unconditionally?
7. Sit in the quiet of an empty church sanctuary: Rest in the silence, inhale Jesus, exhale your fears and worries.
In his grace, God meets us right where we are, as we come to his table just as we are. He feeds our tired souls, bringing us alive spiritually and refreshes us physically. Bit by bit we break the downward spiral of apathy as our spiritual get up and go returns.
Has your spiritual get up and go got up and gone? Which of these seven activities might help you get it back? What other activities have you found that break the downward spiral in your life?
Niki Hardy was diagnosed with rectal cancer and describes herself as a cancer 'thriver'. She now offers encouragement, resources and a large dollop of reality on her website, or find her on Instagram (@niki.hardy.)