Escaping Spiritual Ruts
The past couple days my wife Merideth and I have been doing some pretty intense walking as part of an exercise regimen we're trying that fits our crazy-pants schedule.
My oldest son has enjoyed making fun of the whole intense walking thing. I get it. I always made fun of people I saw who were power walking through the neighborhood. But now that I am one of them, I repent of everything I said.
Merideth and I ended our 30 minutes and three miles of walking/jogging today covered in sweat, out of breath and feeling pretty righteous. Plus, we did it together. We're working to change some of our old, unhelpful habits and replace them with new ones.
Changing old habits is hard.
Inertia is a powerful de-motivator when it comes to getting healthy---physically, emotionally and spiritually. Once you find yourself in a rut--it's hard to come up with the energy or imagination to get out of it.
Since most of my days are spent helping people figure out the spiritual side of their life, I can say with a great deal of conviction that breaking free from a spiritual rut is at least if not more difficult than breaking free from emotional and physical ones.
And the reason for this difficulty is often centered around our lack of belief in God's great love for us. We might say that we believe that God is a loving God, but most of us don't really internalize what that means for us.
I was re-reading Richard Rohr's amazing book Breathing Underwater today, and came across this profound thought: "God does not love us if we change, God loves us so that we can change."
The love of God enables me to see myself differently. I am not a poor sap, stuck in a rut unable to imagine a way out of it. I am a child of God, loved and cared for---uniquely created to fulfill God's purposes. It is God's never-ending, never-failing love that gives me the strength to change.
If you find yourself in a spiritual rut today, remind yourself that you have nothing to prove to God. All your efforts to change in order to make God love you more are just going to wear you out. God loves you just as you are, but loves you far too much to let you stay that way.
Know this, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.