We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5 NLT)
This article is being written in an airport. I have spent most of the last two days at different airports. I’m on my seventh stand by list in the last twenty-four hours. I had flown up to Aspen to do a wedding on Monday. I’m stuck!
Until yesterday, that Monday travel day was the second worst flight day in my life. Yesterday wins the award for number one worst flight day now. Because of high winds, not a single flight came into or went out of Aspen airport. I was stuck. Hour by hour I put my name on a new stand by list as the flight I was hoping to take was cancelled. I was stuck!
Thankfully, I was able to fly out on the first flight this morning. However, I climbed in that small jet with mixed feelings: I was sure glad to get out of there, but also a bit apprehensive because of all the wind problems. As much as I wanted to leave, I didn’t want to end up in a heap slammed into the side of one of those beautiful mountains because it was unsafe to fly. Emotionally, I was stuck!
I get stuck in my spiritual life, too. I can’t seem to get anywhere. The growth stops. Things that normally make me passionate suddenly bore me or leave me exhausted. I can’t seem to find the energy to knock me out of my ruts and my slow spiritual rot. I catch myself no longer pursuing spiritual trips or investing myself in spiritual resources and spiritual disciplines. Sooner or later, I realize that I am stuck!
How do I get un-stuck spiritually? I do just what I have done the last two days to get a flight home.
I do what I know I have to do ... even when it doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. Satan wants us to get tired and settle into the same ol’ rut going nowhere. Getting un-stuck is hard and you have to keep working at those key things that help you grow. Tremendous growth occurs in this time of committed faithfulness whether we can see progress or not.
I try to encourage others past their frustrations and help them out with their needs. Along the way, I helped older folks with their luggage, explained to a couple of young moms with children how to do the stand by bit, thanked those who worked with us for their patience and kindness, and asked folks about their families. All of this reminded me that the travel problems the last two days weren’t about me. When I’m spiritually stuck, helping others gets me away from constantly thinking just about “my” stuff.
Finally, I give thanks for those facing far greater challenges with good grace and at great risk. As I traveled today, I saw well over 300 soldiers headed home from deployment. Their travel home had been long and hard. Their time of separation from their families was much longer than my own. Yet every single soldier I saw was in good spirits, kind, friendly, and looking for gifts for their family and friends. In my spiritual walk, I realize that many others have faced bigger challenges and deeper valleys, yet they kept on keeping on. I give thanks for their tenacity and try to follow their example. Because they made it through the challenges, I know that with the Holy Spirit’s help, I can also!
How do you get out of your spiritual doldrums and get back on track growing in the Lord? I’d like to hear from you. I’d love you to respond at my blog!
See http://blog.heartlight.org/phil/2006/06/glad_to_be_home.html#comments for blog address. font>