A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of speaking at my home community. My topic was “The Reality of Broken Dreams” (listen here). In my message I attempted to illustrate the need to pursue the reality of God despite disappointment and hardship in your life. It has been a hell of a year for me and my family, so this message was birthed out of my experience and practice.
Life is complex and loaded with a spectrum of experiences. One can only hope that we are spiritually and emotionally prepared for when you experience a dark season. Unfortunately, from time to time, hardship does intersect with a time of “soul funk”. Do you know what I mean by “soul funk”? This is when for whatever reason, you are experiencing an emptiness within your soul, as if your inward vitality is drained away and left you with a linger malaise of your will. This may be caused by a physiological depression, the result of a barrage of responsibility or stress, the after effects of a trauma, or even when we neglect to nurture our spirit and have allowed our lesser nature to hijack our lives. By the time we realize that something is amiss within us, we are usually far from shore and floundering in the snare of its rip-tide. We become spiritually dull, our emotions rage all over the place, we have difficulty focusing and we struggle to engage in a meaningful and fulfilling way with people and things that are dear to us. We simply are in a funk.
Fortunately for most, these times are often short. They can simply be a lingering moment to lasting a few days. For others, it seems chronic and even terminal, consuming them into a lifestyle of despair.
The real struggle in this soul funk is when real life hardship collides with this inner dullness. We then find ourselves have to deal with very real and stressful situations that call on our inner resources to respond and negotiate the scenario that threatens you.
For example: I have recently found myself in such a funk. I’m exhausted and uninspired. Engaging with the people and things that are dearest to me requires a taxing investment of enthusiasm that leaves me further drained and vulnerable. What normally would energize me leaves me depleted – weird. In trying to diagnose my funk, I assess there are several probably causes: I’m essentially unemployed (this would be enough) and I’ve not taken care to garden myself spiritually. I also think that this long, cold and gray Minnesota winter has somehow infected the marrow of my personality. I realize my soul is funked-up and I’m taking various steps to enliven my bradycardic spirit. However, recently I was informed that I am facing eviction from my apartment and may have to move in 30 days. Move to where? I have no clue (and no money!). Sure, this would be major hit to anybody. But normally I would be able to summon enough ganas to face this challenge with verve. But in the grip of Soul Funk, the shelter of the shore is far off and with my spirit depleted of adrenaline, I am at risk of being swallowed up by both the crashing waves of the situation and the currents of my own inner struggle.
In these dark and dangerous waters, how does one survive? What happens if I surrender to the tide? Part of the answer lies in my own sermon. Instead of “physician, heal thy self” it is “Preacher, heed thy own words.” The other part of the answer I will discuss in my next post. I know, what a shameless cliffhanger! But the truth is, I’m amid the tide at this very moment and I’m putting together my escape route as I type.
So until the next post, let’s keep our head above water!
‘Nuff Said, Godspeed, Stay tuned in.