Dealing with the uninspired self

Do you ever have those days when you just feel “blah?”  Nothing motivates you and to do the things that you love, seem laborious.  To do the things that you hate, feels worse than it usually would.

For me, the things I love include reading, studying, and writing.  The things I hate, well… the “honey do’s” of life such as house chores.  As I write this (which is taking discipline, I might add), both love and hate lead to a path of angst.  I know that on days like I will look back upon all of my wasted time and wonder, “What’s my problem?!  Come on Kurt Willems, you have too much to do to squander time and be unproductive!”

My guess is that you have these kinds of days too.  Maybe it’s the old “case of the Mondays” that affects us all. Whatever the case may be for you, I have learned that I am not the only one with days like this.

What does this uninspired self mean for our spiritual lives? I find that on days where this is particularly a problem that I probably have not been intentional about connecting with Jesus.  Very little devotionals if any. Superficial prayer. Anxiety instead of peace. And then the great leap from uninspired to guilt comes in.

The logic goes like this: I feel unproductive… so I ask myself, “why am I feeling like this”…  which leads to anxiously trying to ‘snap out of it’… which leads to wondering — “if I were more spiritual, if I prayed more or meditated over the Scriptures more, maybe I wouldn’t feel like this”… which leaves me in the land of guilt because clearly I am not doing enough…

At the base of this process is a question: What is enough?  What can appease my anxious guilt when my productivity is lacking?  Then the gentle reminder of God comes in — Nothing is ever enough!  I will never write enough articles, I will never pray enough prayers, I will never preach enough sermons, I will never read and meditate enough on the Scriptures (with the mere intent to interact with the Holy Spirit and not driven by studies), I will never do enough … because in God’s economy, there is no accomplishment quota.

God’s interest isn’t in our productivity.  He longs for us to know him, as we are: human.  And as human beings sometimes we may simply need to be.  Not do, but be.  After all, we are not human doings but beings who are invited to be with God with all of our human limitations which include days where we may feel uninspired.  On days like this, we are invited to recognize that the anxiety and guilt are of our own doing and are not generated by God.  So today, I am going to cling to the words of Jesus that invite us to lay down our over-productive uninspired selves: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28.

Photo by (cc) Seabamirum