Spiritually Depleted: Losing but Actually Winning

Man. I woke up today so exhausted...for no reason. Like, I literally JUST chilled yesterday; slept in, took a nap, and went to bed early. Nonetheless, 8am rolls around to get up for church and I rolled back over. I told myself that I would just skip choir practice and Sunday School because I just wasn't interested, to be honest.

I got to church in this "mad at the world" attitude. During choir warm up, I was trying to internalize the messages of the songs in order to get myself in the spirit of worship, but I felt guilty... I knew that my internal worship was nonexistent, thus I couldn't produce any God-led worship externally. As we sang during service, I remember barely smiling... Like, counting down the moment until we were finished. In my head I said, "I need to just get out of the choir and sit in the pew so I can focus better..." I knew that the rate I was going was not healthy spiritually, and the last thing I want to do is be in a position of spiritual leadership in the flesh.

Next, I went downstairs for Children's Church. It was Sunday 1 of 3 that I would consecutively miss church service to be downstairs with the kids. I literally was grimacing
at the thought of going downstairs, and I had not been like that before... I mean, really, I love kids. It's what I do full time. Downstairs, I avoided going in the classroom. I told my teaching partner that I was over teaching and ready to quit, after all, I've been in this teaching Children's Church game for 6 years; I felt a sense of complacency like no other. My service in the ministry was no longer God-led, but fleshly... And anytime you try to do something that God has called you to, outside of the Spirit of God, you fail. You will be exhausted and accomplish nothing. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13)"

*fast forward* (But my story is still going to be long lol)I went out for coffee with a friend, but can I be honest? I was so close to canceling because I knew that I was just in a funk that I didn't want him to see me in, but he texted and said he was already at Starbucks (which is disgusting coffee BTW, red cups and all). I started venting a little bit about how I was feeling and in so many words he said, "You need to get yourself together, get yourself in the Word, get yourself out of your feelings, and realize that this fight is so much bigger than you and your personal struggles. No matter how complacent we want to get, God saved us for a purpose bigger than us and you can't allow your temporary trials to cause you to lose sight of the fact that there are people who need you to be spiritually strong for them to be showed the way of salvation." WOW, man. 
You ever had a timely, unexpected word that just hits you when you didn't want it to? And you just would rather sulk in your pity party. Sometimes it's easier and more comfortable to be knocked down by the enemy, than to get up and fight. I went and sat in the parking lot for 45 minutes trying to get myself together through journaling and prayer, man. I knew that God has used that situation to start speaking to me. I wrote 4 pages about what I felt the Holy Spirit was saying to me... I then wrote down the ministries that God has called me to, wrote my purpose for being in them, the results of being complacent in them, and action steps to refocus. Here's some of it.

  • Don't allow what people think or say to deter you from the work of God and the calling He has specifically given you. There will always be naysayers who don't understand it or you- they're not meant to. The calling was given to you, not them. God doesn't call the qualified, but qualifies those He calls.
  • There's no excuses for not being in a ministry as a Christian; ministries are outlets to help further the gospel. Your ministry doesn't have to be formal, but you should be doing something to minister to others by expressing what He's done in your life and pointing them to Him so He can do the same for them.
  • At the root of serving is the need to share the gospel with others; don't get caught up in ANYTHING. Complacency is a place that you don't have to live in. Re-light your fire for God and refocus.
  • Complacency and a sense of quit don't just happen over night. Search your day-to-day life to see what seeds you allowed to be planted in your life that have gotten you to this point.
  • Doubt and complacency are tools of the devil to stop you from doing what God has called you to. If you find yourself walking in doubt and complacency, just know that you are being completely played by the devil. You're allowing him to cause you to lose a battle that's already been won. You're walking around like a POW, being tortured and in chains, when you already have a VIP pass to the victory day feast.
  • Complacency and ineffectiveness come when you lose sight of God's calling  on your life and your particular season. Colossians 3:2 says, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
  • Reading the Bible has nothing to do with your desire or preferences. The Bible is God-breathed instructions for life to gleam from and live according to; you can't try to make it fit your life, but instead your life should be fit to it and based on it; not up for interpretation.
And then there's more...
I went on Periscope after weeks of trying to learn how to use it and was looking to see if any of the 3 people I follow had posted anything. I came across a message by Cornelius Lindsey on Spiritual Depression and "Resisting the Urge to Quit", which seemed to be the theme of the day. I think it's going to be uploaded to The Gathering Oasis YT page, but here's some of the highlight reel...
  • Don't be so caught up in labeling sin only by the works of the flesh. Don't neglect sins of the heart and of the mind, which we so often do. You may be spiritually strong enough to not fall for fornication or pornography, but how's your heart and mind doing? Would you consider doubting God and failure to trust Him as sin?
  • Get back to studying the Word of God. Tests and trials will prove the authenticity of your faith. What good is it to be spiritually knowledgeable without applying it when times get tough?
  • When in spiritual depression, you'll start to be caught up in fear; fear of possibilities, fear of failing, and feat that God won't be there. Fear will cause you to forget what God has done in the past and how He has already shown himself capable of doing the impossible.
  • After fear, comes isolation which comes with lost accountability. Without accountability, you're able to do the things that you probably thought you'd never do, like walk away completely from God, get caught up in some habitual sin, or indulge in the very thing that you once celebrated that God had delivered you from. "We push God away, and the enemy creeps in."
  • After isolation comes physical and emotional exhaustion (see my very first paragraph). When you're walking in what God has called you to, He strengthens in ways that are humanly impossible, but when you try to do things without Him, through your own might, you'll be depleted so quickly. MAN! I used to be able to stay up for hours working on things for church, reading my Bible, etc., now, I can't even keep myself up for more than 2 hours before I have to take a nap. As of late, I'm averaging like, 3 naps a day lol.
  • Drive and ambition for the future will overtake the right now, and before you know it, so much time has passed and you've completely lost sight of what you should be doing for God, but you won't have worldly success either.
  • After that comes irrational thinking... a loose mouth... an unbridled tongue... questioning God *shudders at the thought*
I've got to listen to that message again... but how about after that, my pastor preaches on the SAME topic. Like seriously, he spoke on "Don't Faint", and how even when Paul was in jail, he was writing to others saying, even in tribulations, press on.

Man, my heart is so overwhelmed right now. First, I'm just in awe that God is reaching down into this self-imposed rut that I've placed myself in, and pulling me out. The fact that even when I've allowed worldly focuses to deter me from Him, He still is gracious and merciful to bring me back to Him? It makes no sense. After all the times that I've walked away from the will of God, He still patiently awaits my return and doesn't hold it against me.

To anyone who's reading this and can sympathize, WALK IN VICTORY. Whatever you're going through, God has orchestrated and ordained it. Nothing you can do will change it. And even though the right now may seem tough and overwhelming, just know that you have tunnel vision, while God has a bird's-eye view. You only see that battle that's ensuing right now, but He's already called forth a victory. Walk in victory; encourage yourself. You've already won the battle. Fight hard because you already know that you've won, because He has fought for you to be victorious.

If you're spiritually depleted, get recharged by running back to God!

Running to Him,

Dear God, I've lost sight of you. At the root of everything I do is the awareness and desire and passion that I get to share what you've done for me with others. Times are too perilous for me to purposely and negligently not share the gospel with others because I'm too caught up on myself. Some one out there needs to be delivered just as you delivered me. It's not about me, but what You've done for me and can do for others. Bring me out of my funk to the Light, so I can lead others down the pathway to see You, God. I pray for anyone reading this, God. If they're spiritually depleted and walking in defeat, I pray that you'll implant these words in their heart and reinvigorate them to fight for You while walking in the victory that You've already promised. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.