Tips for Getting Out of a Spiritual Rut

Four tips for helping you reconnect with God when you feel stuck.

I’m super spiritual all of the time and never waver in my spiritual disciplines or the intensity of my relationship with God… 

….is what I want to be able to say, and what I want others to think about me. But the reality is that my relationship with God is a lot like all of the other relationships in my life: sometimes rocky. There have been seasons where I’m extremely motivated to be in the word, absolutely on fire for the Lord, and could shout from the rooftops about how much I love Him. There are others, though, where even opening the bible app on my phone feels like a struggle and a chore. I know I love God and that I should want to spend time with him and have a close relationship with Him, but it feels so much like going through the motions and checking off a box. 

If you're like me and are in a season like this, or if you have ever been in a season like this, I want to give you some tips that I have found help me get out of this spiritual “rut.”

1.  Read the word differently

I decided it would be super spiritual of me to read through the bible in a year, and I kept up with it for months. But sloshing through chapter after chapter of Levitical law and who-was-who’s great great great great grandfather had me dreading my reading every day. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that everything in the bible is important for us and in there for a reason. But I had gotten so obsessed with getting my reading done, my check box marked off, that I stopped loving hearing God’s story. It started to feel like my grad school textbook readings. 

So I took a break from my reading plan, and read differently than I normally do. I switched to a translation that was easier to read- the NLT or even The Message. These translations feel more like a story, and I read through bible stories that I loved. I asked God to show me something new and give me a love for His word again. I wasn’t reading to get every absolute ounce of information out of the text; in this season I read to get an overarching view of God’s story, and how I was a part of this story. I realized I had gotten so caught up in the weeds of being spiritual and analytical that I forgot why I loved God’s story. 

So if it feels hard to read God’s word, change it up. If you normally read in the morning, maybe try to read in the evenings with your favorite cup of tea and a new perspective. If you tend to read analytically, try reading a more story-based translation. If you normally read for the story, try getting more into the weeds- listen to a podcast or look into a commentary to go along with your reading. Try a more technical translation- you’ll be amazed at what God reveals to you when you look deeper. 

2.  Worship differently

Worship gives us a right perspective of who God is, of His majesty and holiness. It reminds us who He is, how good He is, and how big He is. Nothing gets me more pumped up than when I am reminded of how good God is. So when I feel stuck in a rut, I’ll try to set aside time to worship. Worship isn’t just singing; (although it definitely could be!) rather, it’s praising God and acknowledging His glory. 

Worship differently than how you usually would. If you normally sing, get out your kid’s old watercolor paints and paint a sunset, thanking God for making such a beautiful world. The goal isn’t to be good at it- honestly, it could be the worst sunset ever- but to do something that reminds you and your heart of how big and good God is. Volunteer somewhere. Break out that ukulele you haven’t used since college. Write a letter or a poem. Go and build something with your hands, thanking God for the ability to do so. Whatever it is for you, just do something different than normal. 

3.  Pray and ask for help

Prayer is one of, if not the, most underutilized resource we have. The God who split seas, who raised Jesus from the dead, who caused plagues and usurped kings wants to help you. So PRAY! Ask God to give you motivation again. Ask God to help you know what to pray and to remember to pray. Ask God to make you crave prayer. Satan wants nothing more than to make you doubt its power. Ask God to help you have a desire to read your bible again. Ask God to help you glean new understanding and love for Him and His word. 

Don’t worry about having the “right” prayer; just pray. 

If you don’t know what to pray, you can pray scripture back to God. A great example of this is in Psalm 51:12 (NLT).

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

    and make me willing to obey you.”

Go back to your first love

I’ve now been saved for longer than I was lost, so sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the “church world” and forget how powerful and magical it felt when I first entered into a relationship with God. When I start to feel stuck, I go back to the things I did and listened to when I first met Jesus. I listen to the worship songs I first worshiped to. I re-read old journals and notes I had written when I first got saved. I look over books that had a big impact on me. I try to remember and spark that amazement, that fire I first felt. It always makes me overwhelmingly grateful for what God has done in my life and how far I’ve come. 

Go back to a time in your life when you felt connected to God, on fire and in love. Remind yourself of why you felt that way. 

Revelation 2:3-5 (ESV)
“I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”

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At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is something. God will help you, and He wants to have a relationship with you even more than you want one with Him. Ask for help, change things up, and remind yourself of how good He has been to you. Take a step, no matter what it is, to reconnect with the one who made you and loves you. 

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