150 - Finding Grace in a Spiritual Crisis
|Written by Patrick Morley|
|Wednesday, December 10 2008 12:50|
Recently I went through a spiritual crisis. It was of the 90 day variety, but nevertheless intense. This issue of A Look in the Mirror contains entries from my journal during that period. Why? Because I love sharing the lessons I'm learning, and relearning, with you, my brothers.
I had been working very hard since August. By the beginning of February, however, it was clear I was missing something that God was trying to tell me. Things were not coming together. I decided to seek God in a deeper way. What follows are some chronological entries from my journal over the last few months..
When I found myself worrying about the future: a moment of self-awareness
When I was paralyzed about producing results
When I became aware I was not enjoying the present
This was the first time I can ever remember not questioning God during a tough time
When I bounded up the stairs to my office and realized I was more interested in checking my email than reading my Bible
When I felt joy slipping away from me
Something I read on the Internet
When I realized my dream wasn't going to come true the way I envisioned
April 21, 2007: I had heard an Alleluia song at the end of a TV show. The following week I downloaded eight Alleluia songs from iTunes and played them over and over. These lyrics brought tears.
My heart has grown faint, the light flickers, and I now only want the flame again.
May 13, 2007: I skipped church on Mother's Day (Patsy was out of town with her Mom) and had a spiritual day.
Somewhere along the line I became weary. I remember saying to a friend, "I don't want to be a men's author anymore." On this day-just two weeks later-God transformed my heart and renewed my passion to reach men.
May 15, 2007: When I realized I wasn't living as fervently as I wanted
ACTIONS: Stop reading the Bible when riding my exercise bike (does God really want me to multi-task?), restore praying in my backyard before daybreak, get back to seeking the moment of humility each day, stop processing emails before my personal devotions.
Undated: The lesson of letting it happen versus making it happen
Undated: How do I know if my heart is right or wrong?
Undated: What I want
Undated: The desire for Renewal
Undated: What God wants from me
Undated: The Unexamined Life
Undated: The Rat Race
(About this time I started talking openly about my troubles to a few men which helped immensely.)
Undated: Today I put everything on the table-even though it already was
Something I said out loud in my car Saturday morning on my way to the gym
The Crisis Lifts
Interestingly, once I quit trying to convince God I was really okay, humbled myself, repented, and reached out for his grace, the crisis lifted almost immediately.
My core error was trying to produce a particular outcome, instead of finding contentment in the act of doing my work. Going forward, I will try to lead a simpler life. I will attempt to find joy in the thing I am doing at the moment. For example, if I am writing I will find joy in the act of writing. If I am preparing a message, I will find joy in the act of preparing. This is my real life-right here, right now. Thank you for the grace that helps me understand all this.
Suggestions for How to Use This Article
For you: Take a spiritual day. Listen to music, read your Bible, pray, walk, sleep, go over this article, read a favorite book.
For a friend: Pass this article along to a friend who is having a spiritual struggle or crisis and needs to hear from God.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
Pat Morley, Ph.D.
1 The Holy Bible: King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (Job 1:20-21). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.