Monday Musings: stuck in a rut or in a groove?

Rut or groove?

It’s hard to tell the difference between the two at some levels.

But, when you dig a little deeper, you find out just how different they really are.

I mean…would you rather feel like you’re stuck in a rut or in a groove?

Exactly…

You don’t want to be stuck in a rut.

A “rut” by definition is “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.”

The truth is we can get stuck in all sorts of ruts…in our relationships, our careers, and yes, even our faith (more on that later).

We’d much rather be in a groove when it comes to all of these things. But, the interesting thing is that a “groove” is not that much different than a “rut” (at least by definition).

A “groove” is simply defined as “an established routine or habit.”

So, what does this have to do with our faith?

When it comes to our faith, it’s easy to go back and forth between a rut and a groove. We can be stuck in a rut for days or weeks (or even years) at a time. But, we can also get in a groove…and that’s a pretty sweet place to be.

You might be stuck in a “faith rut” if deep down your relationship with God has become dull and unproductive.

On the surface, you might be “doing all the right religious things” (going to church, reading your Bible, etc.), but your faith is stagnant.

Your spiritual life is not producing any fruit (in your life or anyone else’s).

You’re going through the motions.

Or spinning your wheels.

Or shadowboxing.

If that’s how you’re feeling right now, I have good news for you…

You don’t have to stay stuck in that spiritual rut you’re in.

You can get in a spiritual groove…you just gotta get your heart right.

The Bible is full of examples of God’s people doing religious things while their hearts are far from Him (see Isaiah 29:13 for one example).

So, how do you move from a place of spiritual dullness to a place of life-giving, spiritual fruitfulness?

I’m not going to give you a simple formula or a 5-step process for that…because it might just turn into another rut for you.

But, I will say this…

If you find yourself stuck in a spiritual rut right now, the only way that you’re going to get out of it is if you really want to.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27…

24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

This spiritual race that you’re in is life-long, and it’s full of ruts and grooves.

So, run to win…with purpose in every step.

Get yourself in a good, spiritual groove…

And stop shadowboxing.

Monday Musings: 3 questions we should all be asking

Ahhh 2020.

Just when we think we’ve got you figured out (insert your favorite conspiracy theory here)…

And, now the Left Coast is on fire.

Seriously.

Entire cities and towns and even hospitals (hospitals?!) have been evacuated up and down the states of Oregon, Washington, and California.

This year has been one like no other in recent memory…and apparently it’s not over yet.

So, as we watch our land burn (literally)…

As we put our political stakes in the ground and wait for Election Day to save our country…

As we argue and debate and look down condescendingly at anyone who thinks differently than we do about COVID-19 or any other “hot-button” issue in our culture these days…

We should all stop, take a deep breath, and think (I mean REALLY THINK) about these three questions…

Where is God in all of this?

Has God lost control of the world?

If God can make all of this go away, then why doesn’t He?

The answers to these questions could fill a book (or LOTS of books), but I’m intentionally keeping this short.

So, let me just end with these words from 2 Chronicles 7…

13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 

If God might shut up the heavens or send plagues to get His people’s attention, don’t you think He might also send a global pandemic or throw countries into political and social unrest or allow fires to burn?

Because if He did, then we need to stop arguing and complaining and fighting against it all and do more of this instead…

Humble ourselves.

Pray.

Seek the Lord.

Turn from our wicked ways.

And then trust God to forgive us of our sins…and heal this land.

Monday Musings from Psalm 37

March 2020.

A month and a year that won’t be forgotten any time soon…or ever.

March 2020 started like any other “normal” month, but halfway through everything went sideways.

It started in the United States with the NBA shutting down its season on a Wednesday.

By Friday, schools were closing their buildings.

That Sunday, it was churches.

And the dominoes continued to fall with theaters and restaurants and parks and pretty much any “non-essential” public space closed or heavily restricted by the end of the month.

Fast forward six months and September is starting like a new “normal” month.

The NBA season is back…playing games in a bubble.

Schools are starting back up again…online (at least for now).

And churches are slowly starting to gather again indoors with guidelines for social distancing.

Same with many businesses and public spaces.

Welcome to the new normal.

As many of us go kicking and screaming into the final stretch of 2020, we need to stop and listen to the wise words of King David in Psalm 37.

Beginning in verse 7, he writes…

“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper-it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.”

In a country that is becoming increasingly louder and more polarized may we all as Christians daily choose to…

Be still in the presence of the LORD.

Wait patiently for him to act.

Stop worrying about evil people.

Stop being angry.

And trust in the LORD.

Perhaps if we all choose to live these last days of 2020 like this, we’ll be in a better place to receive whatever God has for us in 2021.

And in a better place to point people to the only One who can bring lasting hope and peace and healing to this broken world.