Dear Reader: Dealing With The Uninspired Self (Days When I Feel "Blah")

Dear Reader…

Do you ever have days when you just feel “blah?”  Nothing motivates you to go change the world.  To do the things that you love, seem laborious.  To do the things that you hate, feels worse than they usually would.

For me, the things I love include reading, studying, and writing.  The things I hate, well… the “honey do’s” of life such as house chores.  As I write this (which is taking discipline, I might add), both love and hate lead to a path of angst.  Unfortunately, I know that on days like this at the setting sun I will look back upon all of my wasted time and wonder – What’s my problem?!  Come on Kurt Willems, you have too much to do to squander time and be unproductive!

My guess is that you have these kinds of days too.  Maybe it’s the old “Monday” syndrome that affects us all.  Perhaps this week it’s intensified because we are still recovering from a three-day weekend?  Whatever the case may be for you, I have learned that I am not the only one with days like this.

What does this uninspired self mean for our spiritual lives?  I find that on days where this is particularly a problem that I probably have not been intentional about connecting with Jesus.  Very little devo’s if any.  Superficial prayer.  Anxiety instead of peace.  And then the great leap from uninspired to guilt comes in.

The logic goes like this: I feel unproductive… so I ask myself “why am I feeling like this”… which leads to anxiously trying to ‘snap out of it’… which leads to wondering – “if I were more spiritual, if I prayed more or meditated over the Scriptures more, maybe I wouldn’t feel like this”… which leaves me in the land of guilt because clearly I am not doing enough…

At the base of this process is a question: What is enough?  What can appease my anxious guilt when my productivity is lacking?  Then the gentle reminder of God comes in – Nothing is ever enough!  I will never write enough articles, I will never pray enough prayers, I will never preach enough sermons, I will never read and meditate enough on the Scriptures (with the mere intent to interact with the Holy Spirit and not driven by studies), I will never never never never do do do do enough… because in God’s economy, there is no accomplishment quota.

God’s interest isn’t in our productivity.  He longs for us to know him, as we are: human.  And as human beings sometimes we may simply need to be.  Not do, but be.  After all, we are not human doings but beings who are invited to be with God with all of our human limitations which include days where we may feel uninspired.  On days like this, we are invited to recognize that the anxiety and guilt are of our own doing and are not generated by God.  So today, I am going to cling to the words of Jesus that invite us to lay down our over-productive uninspired selves: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11.28).

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  • Charlie

    Yes, great and well expressed thought!  “[T]he anxiety and guilt are of our own doing and are not generated by
    God”, I very much agree!  There are days when we are in a position to minister to those around us, and there are days we are walking from Jerusalem to Capernaum, or making or fixing tents.  What is recorded in the Gospel and in Acts are the things the writers found important to pass on, but as John wrote, there wasn’t enough room or books to contain what happened during the entire 33+/- years Jesus was on earth.  He had down time too, transition time too, and he encouraged his disciples to do and use them wisely.  For me, Kurt, the important thing, as you said, is to stay in touch with the Lord in my heart and in prayer and ask Him to lead, not to fill every minute of every day with what looks like productive ministry stuff.  Sometimes, I think,  the best way for us to prepare for ministry is to open ourselves up to be ministered -to-, by our Lord. 
    Thanks for this piece, Kurt, it’s an important thought.

  • Robin Vestal

    Lately when I feel emotions that I would rather not have be a big part of my psyche rather than trying to spend a lot of time trying to figure out why I have been simply acknowledging to God exactly how I feel.  It seems to help.  I have also been noticing that the day after a really good day is generally a down day where I feel blue, uninspired, useless, tired and all that.  I am learning to be just a little more gentle with myself on those days. 

  • Josh Vestal

    Right on Kurt. As a somewhat artistic type, I often feel unproductive when I’m not working on an idea. But being that type of person, I can only write when I feel inspired. And so that leads to quite a few depressing days sometimes. So an article like this really is good for the soul. Thanks. 😉

  • Josh Vestal

    PS – What plugin are you using for these comments? I want to steal it! 😀

  • David Warkentin

    “I will never never never never do do do do enough… because in God’s economy, there is no accomplishment quota.”

    On a day where I’m spinning my wheels, very well said.  Thanks!

  • Conrad Schweizerhof

    can I apply to feeling like my entire life is unproductive?

  • Daniel Dyk

    great post.  actually i think God is interested in our productivity.  but he’s also interested in our blah boring days.  prob if we are faithful, we may be more “spiritual” on those days, because they can lay the foundation for great and inspiring days.

    my daughter got married in April, really got the blahs a week later.  You have to fight thru it and look for little inspiring events, activities, hobbies etc.

    the older i get the more i realize “balance” really is good in our lifes…