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Rewind the tape & watch me as I slouch into the spiritual doldrums

I ate too much over Thanksgiving. Karen is an awesome cook and after the main meals are done, there is always the pressure of leftovers sitting there that will go bad if they’re not eaten in a certain time frame. So, at any given time of the day, I am perpetually munching – loading more food in…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I ate too much over Thanksgiving. Karen is an awesome cook and after the main
meals are done, there is always the pressure of leftovers sitting there that
will go bad if they’re not eaten in a certain time frame. So, at any given time of the day, I am perpetually munching – loading more food into an already stressed digestive

The best part was all of the community. There were people in the house, staying up
late, eating, playing games, watching movies and jabbering to all hours of the

I’d sometimes stay up till 2:00 in the
morning reading in bed to unwind. I’d
come stumbling down the steps six hours later only to discover that someone
else had already made the coffee. And there at the kitchen table, a debrief of the previous evening was already underway.

So, I’d sit there, get the coffee, unconsciously grab
some more calories to stuff in my face, and make a chip shot contribution or two to the conversation. By then it
would be a 50-50 proposition as to whether my self-discipline was sufficient to
get me to whip out the Bible and try connecting with God. And pretty soon, the rest of the maddening
crowd had spilled out of bed, and the idea of getting any time alone with the
Lord was a lost cause.

So at the end of those wonderful four days of seeing
my kids home from college and all our friends and all the activity, I’ve got to
confess, I’m feeling physically bloated and spiritually disconnected.

Someone will say, “Give yourself a break, the idea
that you’ve got to have a quiet time is legalistic.”

Maybe so, but I thrive with a morning routine. Look, most of the time I’m struggling just to come up for air spiritually. How I got to this position of spiritual authority in certain people’s lives is a mystery to me. You should try living in my skin – it’s hard work!

I need dedicated time with the Lord or I just
start having a bad attitude right off the bat.
I start wondering if I ever in my life heard God’s voice. Negative thoughts that aren’t my thoughts
start drifting through my mind. Pretty
soon, I turn into this person that other people in the house are avoiding. I can even read spiritual books, but I still
feel like a mess.

So, on the one hand, I love the holidays because of the
down time and the relationships, and on the other, I just know that I’m going
to need to put myself into spiritual rehab when it’s all over. Today I went on a long run and poured my heart
out to God. I think we’re still on
speaking terms. I’ll be going to bed at
a reasonable hour tonight.

Also, see the article: Sons of Sceva: Wielding true spiritual authority

Comments (10)

  • Funny…I love hearing (i suppose reading) about others who are real. I’ve been reading you’re blog daily for quite a few months now and look forward to meeting you one day. My family and I are headed to NZ for a vision trip in January to work with the FYM’s. I’ve been friends with Trena for quite some time, even before we were married, and look forward to potentially working with them to fullfil the Great Commission.

  • Yes… yes, I fully understand. A lack of time with God, plus sleepless nights – it spills into how I love my wife, then my kids. I get grouchy and short tempered with the kids, raising my voice when I don’t need to. I get impatient and unreasonable with my wife, wanting her to do and know things when I’m not communicating well. I discovered only a few years ago (after 10+ years of marriage) that my relationship with Shari is directly impacted by my relationship with God, and it starts showing within 24 hours. Yes, it may seem legalistic, but I’ve seen the results if I don’t have both routine, and time with God within that routine.
    I’m with Christine – Thanks for being so authentic with your readers.

  • right there with you. sometimes I just hope an agreeable breeze will blow me out of the doldrums and other times I hope someone is around to help me row, so thanks for the pull. I am just glad we can recognize the doldrums, and do what it takes to shake them.

  • i love this dynamic that I put my junk out there, thinking, “I wonder if I’m the only one who is an idiot” and it turns out, there are a number of us struggling in the same way.

  • You are so right and definitely not alone. I appreciate the realness as well. I don’t think wanting to start the day in complete surrender and admiting that we’re not living for ourselves is legalistic at all but an awesome way to wake up! Its actually encouraging and motivating for me to get up earlier like I used to. Thanks for sharing!

  • I appreciate this. Sometimes I actually believe I am the only one who struggles like this. I know too well the feeling of spiritual dehydration, caused from too much time away from the living water.

    Jesus help us all start our days with you. Amen.

  • Thanks for this seth. Ironically, sometimes I am a person that needs to get my butt in gear and actually get my face out of the books (not that I read hours a day…) so that I can experience this community and fellowship that I read about. So, on the flip side – as I know each of us is extremely appreciative of family – I Praise God for providing this fellowship time and the opportunities for us to live out what God reveals in those quiet times.

  • Appreciate your honesty. Totally true for me too. That flesh will just take right over, and it’s a slow decay not an instant death. Part of me hates going on vacation because it is so hard to maintain the quiet time with God. Thanks for your great blog.

  • The closer that I get to the Lord, the more I start to fall on my face if I am not alone and in the word. This is so apparent to my life because busyness is Satan’s greatest ally in America. Great Blog.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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