For the last week and a half, I’ve been in a funk. Maybe it’s been even longer than that…I can’t remember. The thing about the funk is that when you’re in it, you lose all concept of time. One day blends into the next into the next, until it’s all one big blur. For we Christians, I call the funk the attack of the enemy. And how many of us know that once he gets one hook in you, he’ll continue to wear you down until he’s got another, then another and still another? He wants you to stay in the funk because the last thing he wants you to do is be the fire that God wants you to be for Him.
I’ve been complacent (can I get an amen?). I’ve been stagnant (another one please?). Dormant. Still. Distraught. Downtrodden. Immobilized. Paralyzed. Take your pick. They’ve all hit me and then some. I’ve known all along how to shake the funk…but I couldn’t move myself to do it. Through all the funk, I’ve known that I had to call on His name, get in His word, share His blessings…but I just couldn’t. Am I alone in this? Am I preaching to the proverbial choir?
Then Sunday happened. At church, such a blessed and anointed church- oneconnection.org– I felt His Spirit start to stir in me again. My beautiful wife and several members prayed for us after the service, and He began to revive me. I left feeling refreshed and restored, like I was finally going to come out of the funk. Then Monday happened.
I awoke with the funk dragging me down again. I remember thinking to myself, “Really? Am I really in this thing again? Didn’t yesterday mean ANYTHING?” I was really at a loss. I didn’t know what to do or what to say to shake this thing. So, I called a fellow blogger and Christian brother and friend, Trent over at Spiritual Drift. He and I have encouraged one another on several occasions since we connected through our blogs, and he and his wife have been a huge blessing to me. He’s definitely worth the reading.
He asked me how things have been going because he could tell by some of my Facebook posts and Tweets that I’ve been struggling of late. I shared the funk with him, and he completely related. But he told me something that really stuck with me. He said that what he’s found is that the funk is usually attributed to one of two things…a) it’s the attack of the enemy who doesn’t want you to be in God’s will for your life, or b) that God is preparing you for something bigger and better- usually accompanied by using your funk to help someone else out of their funk.
As I thought about that, I remembered that one of the men that was praying for me on Sunday had tears streaming down his face as I did mine. I wondered at that time if maybe he wasn’t blessing himself by blessing me during his prayers. Maybe so, now that Trent and I talked. Only the Father and my brother know. Suffice it to say that I felt like both of Trent’s suggestions applied to me.
I was still struggling yesterday when the first of two God-driven encounters happened. Another brother in Christ is going through some marital difficulties. He’s doing a remarkable job of giving it up to the Lord and believing for restoration through our Father. But, he’s human. And as such, faith and strength can only carry him so far before he needs encouragement from other believers. So God led Him to me. I did the best I could to lift him up and keep his focus where it needs to be…squarely on the face of Jesus. And then I moved on.
I remember thinking to myself, “Lord. How can I bring someone else through their funk when I can’t even get out of my own?” Then encounter number two happened.
Another brother in Christ and dear friend and bereaved father…and Pastor of a church!…sent me a text and asked me to pray for him. He needed a friend. I called and asked if everything was okay. He told me that it was, but he was getting discouraged. He’s been praying for help in the church to realize the vision that God has given him for where He wants it to go. He’s been praying for quite a while, and it seems as though it’s slow to come.
I shared with him some of my experiences on patience and waiting for the Lord. I explained to him that God’s time isn’t East coast time, and that we had to be faithful in the waiting. When it felt like we couldn’t pray or wait any longer, we had to wait and pray some more. I didn’t tell him anything that he didn’t already know. I simply reminded him of that…and in the process, I reminded myself. As we got off the phone, I began to see the connections between these encounters. The funk started to dissipate.
This morning I awoke with a bit more Joie de vivre (an exultation for life) than I have had in quite some time. I felt like I was going to be able to put finger to keyboard again, but He had to put the icing on the cake first.
My bible app on my smart phone gives me messages of the day. If you don’t have Youversion, I STRONGLY recommend you get it. It’s by far the best bible app I’ve seen. The verse was what I listed at the top of the page from 1 Thessalonians. I didn’t pay attention to where it came from at the time, but I immediately thought of my brothers from yesterday…that this verse was for the three of us.
As I sat down to pray for God to give me direction for this post, I flipped through the concordance as is my custom. I was looking for complacent, or stagnant, or immobile. Before I could even get there, I saw the word, asleep. I thought to myself that this was a really good word. All of the three other words I was looking for could fall into the category of being spiritually asleep.
Looking through the verses listed, I chose the one from 1 Thessalonians 5:6, but I always read a few verses before and after to get the full context of the passage. What I read shattered the funk into a million pieces…
“Now concerning how and when this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.
But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out His anger on us. Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when He returns, we can live with Him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
The point of this post is this: if you’re in a funk and don’t know how to get out, do two things…1) continue to put your faith in Jesus Christ even when you feel like you can’t, and 2) encouraging others, even when you feel like you can’t, will in turn encourage you.
Thank you, Father, for fighting the funk for me. I’m Rising Up again…enjoy the video and be a blessing!