How Do You Get Out of Spiritual Slumps

edited December 1969 in Personal Issues
Recently i havent been feeling spiritual or close to god at all. and i dont know how to get out of this. i cant get over some sins, and whenever i go to church i feel like everyone is 10x better than me and it makes me feel like trash. i try to read the bible and meditate on it but it never makes sense to me. i pray and feel like im talking to a wall. please dont give vague answers.


  • You must persevere.

    Our feelings don't matter very much. And what we can feel in our relationship with God is too much influenced by our physiology.

    An Olympic athlete may well get up in the morning and not feel like going for a 10km run in the rain. But he does it anyway. He may feel miserable all the way round the track, or he may find that once he is in the swing of running he shakes of the feeling of apathy he had. Perhaps he doesn't. Perhaps he hits the showers and is still thinking miserable thoughts, about how most of the team are better than him.

    Nevertheless the next day he gets up when the alarm rings and hits the track. He realises that to become an Olympic athlete you must be an Olympic athlete. You must do what Olympic athletes do, every day. Perhaps he never enjoys getting up in the morning, never feels wonderful, but he does it anyway for the sake of the goal which is ahead.

    Christianity, It's in the game!

    Either we are living the Christian life or we are not. If we are not then we are not Christians. If we are, then like an athlete, the feelings are secondary.

    Or we could look at the analogy of a nurse in some disaster. There are injured people all around her, she switches into auto-nurse mode and gets on with the job. She is there for hours and hours in some Third World country. No-one would ask if she was enjoying what she was doing. She was rather 'being who she is'. She is living out the reality of the person she is, and the feelings don't matter. If she gave them some thought then she would describe despair, fear, anger etc. But they don't help her be the nurse she is, so she puts them out of the way.

    When we fast we still feel hungry. Being spiritual doesn't mean no longer feeling hungry. It means dealing with those natural feelings in the manner that is appropriate. We do not allow the feelings to dominate us. I know in my own experience that when I have feelings of depression and gloom (not clinical depression) I can usually look for something that has made me angry. I find that anger, in my own life, gets twisted into a sense of gloominess. So I find the source of the anger and repent of it. Sometimes I can think of nothing like that but I am aware that I am very tired, or that I have a great deal of work all piling up and shouting for urgent attention. So there are very reasonable and normal causes for many of the moods we feel ourselves in. But these feelings are not who we are.

    When I want to pray I try to ignore feelings of hunger because I want to pray more than I need to eat, and my body needs to learn that it will be dealt with in due course. When I feel miserable I pray, because I want to pray more than I need to deal with feelings of being miserable because feelings like this also belong to the body.

    I earnestly suggest that you pray according to the rule you normally follow, and that you pray the Jesus Prayer as much as possible, and that you do not try to do too much mental activity, but read the Psalms and Gospels. I encourage you to offer your feelings to God and to say to Him that despite all these feelings you offer your brokenness to Him as far as you are able, and ask Him to give you grace to pass through these darker times.

    Psalms 23:1-6  The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

    Often when we cannot see God it is because the eyes of our spirit are dull, often because of sin. The glory of the Lord is all around us but our spiritual eyes have become opaque and we cannot see it. When we desire holiness and start to practice it then the presence of God becomes clearer. Nevertheless even the greatest saints had to deal with the spirit of accidie or boredom or gloominess. You are not alone.

    So do persevere, repent of all known sin and keep praying and praising God however you feel. It has been a great help to me to learn of Abouna Youstos and to try and pray in all circumstances, 'Thanks be to God'. Find something now that you can give thanks to God for. Continue to thank Him for all the things He has given you and continues to give you.
    God bless you

    Father Peter
  • Crazy4Christ1,

    Recently, I have gotten into watching the YouTube 2 clips on Fr. Lazarus at St. Anthony's Monastery in Egypt.

    I have watched it in excess of 35 times.  It's like getting a pep talk from your own coach. 

    Fr. Peter, as usual and profoundly, gives the best advice.  A Father knows best.
  • Can you link me to those clips?

    And does anyone have a postal address that would get to Father Lazarus?

    Father Peter
  • Coming right-up Father.  Finally, something I can do for you.

    As for a postal address, I guess you can send to the Monastery itself.
  • This is part 1

    Part 2

    or you can type Fr. Lazarus in the Search Box

    The title is:  The Last Anchorite.

    Fr. Lazarus has a "beautiful" face.  I almost imagine it as a glimpse of what Moses was like when he came down the mountain.

  • What is Father Lazarus' full postal name?

    Would it be best to address it in Arabic?

    Who will do the address for me in Arabic when I need it?
  • His name as he is given is:  Fr. Lazarus El-Antoni

    Generally, when sending things to Egypt by postal service, I will address it in English on the front of the envelope in parallel to the Arabic.

    I guess you can have some of the local Coptics write it out, or, type it on Google, get it translated out, print, and stick to the front of the envelope.

    You may ask, also, one of the local Coptic Priests for their thoughts.
  • thanks Fr. Peter :)
  • Father,

    One of the funny things, if you notice in the clips, Fr. Lazarus transformation is not only in all of the spiritual aspects, but also in the fact that his dialect/accent has changed from an Australian to a slight slur into an Egyptian/English accent.  Just an observation on my part.

    In other words, do not hang out with the Egyptians too much, you might pick up their accent {just a joke}.
  • dees ees zo true!
    ze beebel wen i talk to zem, zey zay, where u from? u no sbeak zee good eenglish.
    i zay i zorry, i bin zee church, we like sbeak 'arabee wa la eenglish ma' 'arabee accent!
  • My wife often criticises me because I start adopting an accent whenever speaking to foreign people.

    On Wednesday I had to train some people to use a new website I had developed for their company, and many of those present were Dutch, so I noticed that as time progressed I was speaking more and more slowly, and with a more and more pronounced accent.

    I know that a lot of foreign people find that helpful because speaking slowly and clearly makes it easier for them to understand, but my wife seems to think I am taking the mickey out of them.

    I am not of course.

    Father Peter
  • zees means u is really coptic, u sbeak zee bad eenglish like we!
  • Mabsoota,

    I hate to be a picky, but:  'this' would be rendered as 'zis' not 'zees';  'these' would be 'zees'.

    Forgive me.

    Absolve me.

    ...and mostly do not hate me.

    --your pal--I.L.S.M.

  • I have a similar problem. You have to break through it. You have to persevere. You have to keep hope and stay out of despair and laziness. You must recite this verse:
    Micah 7:8 8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy;
    When I fall, I will arise;
    When I sit in darkness,
    The Lord will be a light to me.
  • i could never hate u, ilovesaintmark, and although i can't promise to always agree with u mia mia, u r my dear brother. so i will correct my arabic eenglish just for u  ;)

    about the main topic (sorry for hijacking it!), it's normal to have ups and downs in spiritual life. that's why the church is so important. we don't rely on our feelings, and if we're down, we still go to church and still worship God, because He is worthy. He already did so much for us that even if everything else went wrong, He's still amazing.

    when u r in church feeling low, also remember someone else may feel worse, so encourage someone with a smile or compliment each time u r there, and God will bless u.
    many times i went to church feeling really tired and my friends' smiles reminded me of God's mercy, then i looked for ways to encourage other people. often in giving to others u r rewarded, so give to others and u will receive what u need.
    those people who u feel r so much better than u maybe feel that they r rubbish too, so simply saying something that's nice will surprise them.
    recently i asked an older lady at church who i really admire for advice and prayers, but she was unaware of her qualities and told me bad things about herself, saying she wasn't the best person to ask! i think she felt pleased, though to be encouraged.
    so next time u r in church say 'God, i'm not worthy to be here, but anyway, i'm here, repenting of my sins, so please show me who i can be kind to today'.
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