How Do You Get Out of a Spiritual Rut?

By: Linda Justice

We’ve all seen it - a husband and wife seated across each other at a restaurant - their glazed eyes never meet and they say nothing.  I’ve promised myself that I would never let that happen in my marriage - or my relationship with Jesus.  But it did.  Recently, I went through a series of losses, job changes, relational brokenness, and weariness.  Nothing seemed to be working.  I was disappointed in the church, my circumstances, myself, and ultimately God. The disappointment grew into disillusionment and the delight I once had faded. 

It doesn’t take any effort to get into a rut - just keep doing the same things over and over.  Don’t deviate from the norm.  Stay away from creativity.  And most importantly, take the relationship for granted.   

Relationships suffer when the dynamics are stifled by the same old routine day after day - especially the same old damaging thought patterns.  My walk with God mirrored the church at Ephesus.  They were hard working, discerning, and persevering; but they had lost their first love.  Jesus told them to remember, repent, and do the deeds they did at first (Rev. 2:2-5).   

Here are some first love ideas to rekindle the fire.  
  • Experience creation.  Take a walk outdoors and meditate on His wonders (Psalm 19:1-6).
  • Pray using another’s words.  Use biblical prayers to jumpstart yours - like David’s in the Psalms.   
  • Plan a God-hunt.  Look for ways the Lord has shown himself throughout the day - answered prayer, encouragement through someone, or a way he used you.  
  • Use music.  Grab the hymnal off the bookshelf and sing your favorites.   Memories from the past of God’s faithfulness are resurrected.  Meditate on each hymn.  Look up Scriptures that come to mind.
  • Make a date with God.  Light a candle and read an inspirational book or take a day to be alone with Jesus. 
  • Dress for the occasion.  One by one remove the tattered old clothes and put on the right ones created in God’s likeness (Eph. 4:20-24).
  • Look at photos.  Pray when viewing the photos, enjoy the memories, and then praise God for the gift of family and friends (Psalm 143:5).
  • Make use of technology.  Feed your soul with an online or DVD study.
  • Rally the troops.  Call on the family of God for prayer (James 5:16).  
One damaging loss was my church home and that included the weekly bible study.  I needed to dig again, so I began a DVD study of Abraham.  I saw a man with failures and fears learn to leave everything behind and to lay down his most precious possession - his only son, while believing that God would keep his promise.  During this period, I called out to a group of friends and they committed to pray for me.  It was the gentle tug of God’s voice and the intercession of my friends that eased me out of the rut.  The disillusionment has vanished and the delight has returned!

Linda Justice is a guest writer for Just Between Us and a pastor’s wife from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.