Slumps: What to do when you hit one?

Yesterday, we went to Half Price Books and I was so excited to get a good selection of books (on the cheap!) to give me a boost in the area of personal Bible study.  Last year, I hit a real slump in that area, and I really want to be intentional to try to nurture that area of my life, so that when I hit another tough time, I'll have a variety of spiritual "food" to intake.

Are you in a slump?  It could hit in many different places:

  • marriage
  • spiritual life
  • relationships with your kids
  • emotions
  • sex life
  • friendships

But when it hits, it can be hard to climb out.  I'll offer thoughts on a few... I'd love to have you share your tips/ideas for dealing with slumps in any area of life as a Christian woman!

Spiritual Slump
Sometimes I want Someone to just come and lift me out... and sometimes He does.  But sometimes, He comes and is simply with me in the pit.  And sometimes when I don't reach out to Him, He gently reminds me how much I need Him.

So what I am learning to do is just keep talking to Him.  Just keep looking outside of myself, to find where my Creator, Redeemer, and Friend is at work.  I may have ebbs and flows, but He is always the same.  So when I look to Him, there is a fixed "constant" in my life, no matter what else is going on around or inside of me.

What I did last night is pre-purchase a number of those little Bible study guides put out by NavPress, Charles Stanley, or Chuck Swindoll, so that I have an intentionally-selected system to use to study God's Word in new ways, particularly for those times when I'm not just bursting with ideas or an intense desire for Scripture.  I've found that this is particularly important for me overseas when I don't have as many options for conferences, women's retreats, etc.

Sex Life Slump
Now, every time I check out my SiteMeter, I am very aware that the articles I've written about intimacy are still the most-visited, most linked, and most popular posts here at Making Home.  :)

But of course, in our marriage, we still hit sickness, a crazy schedule, travel times, and general exhaustion from time to time, like anyone else.  It could be easy to cast this area of sex aside as one thing to remove from "the list" of necessary "to-do"s.  And I'll admit that lately I've not been as creative and fun in this area as I'd like to be.

However, it's such a central part of the marriage relationship that it would be a shame to let it fall to the wayside.  A few things that help me as a woman are to: (1) take time to really kiss my husband... not just a peck, but really look him in the eyes, and kiss him, every day.  (2) Freshen up!  Take a bath while he puts the kids down, or get a shower in during naptime.  Spontaneity is more easily achieved when you feel clean & relaxed.  (3) Just do it.  I don't mean to do it without enthusiasm or enjoyment... I mean, let yourself just go along for the ride.  Take time to enjoy the simple sensations and fun times together that happen when you are alone with your husband.  Just do it.

I've heard a number of women express the idea that sex is like exercise-- "I may not always feel like doing it beforehand, but I'm always glad to have done it."

What about you?  Have you been in, avoided, gotten out of, or even simply made it through, a "slump" in your life?  Please share in the comments!

Image: photostock /


Laura said...

I got some great counsel from a friend yesterday on this topic! I am a major overspiritualizer and over-thinker, so I appreciate friends who give practical and simple advice. She talked about short-circuiting a "mood" (which for both her and me tends to spiral into a more serious funk) by just doing ONE thing -- getting up off the couch and washing a couple dishes. Turning the TV off and going to bed. That kind of stuff. So helpful for me to quit agonizing and over-thinking and just DO something!

Spiritually, I have to remember that God is at work whether I am aware of it or not. And I also have to remember that the Scripture says "HE WHO BEGAN a good work in you WILL BE FAITHFUL to complete it," not "God began the work, but my faithfulness will complete it." My sanctification is God's project. All I have to do is keep plugging away in those dry times.

Whatever else I do in my devotions, I read once chapter, slowly, every day (you get through the Bible in three and a half years or so that way). Sometimes I do a little more, sometimes LOTS more, but never less. It's become a life pattern and I know that even in the "slumps" God is still working, because he has said that his word won't return to him void, but will accomplish everything he sends it forth to do, and that his word is powerful and effective. I trust that! I know it's true! Even when I don't feel it. Because, honestly, how unreliable are "feelings" anyway? :)

Jessica said...

Wow! How timely this was for me. Glad Im not alone in feeling this way sometimes.

Anna said...

At some point during my first year at living in Africa, I became apathetic about my own spiritual life/ relationship with God. I recognized intellectually that this was not right, but it was almost as if I could sense this from a distance.
It wasn't that I was disappointed or frustrated with God, there was just a lack of feeling. I was able to borrow a copy of the book "When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy" by John Piper.
This book helped immensely, and also gave me ideas to keep the same thing from happening again.

Lisa Cho said...

Thanks for sharing about the sex life ideas. I really liked the idea about it being like exercise!
I dont feel Ihave much to share, as I often feel I'm in some sort of slump! however, I just got to the part in Ann Voskamp's book "1000 Gifts" about where her son throws the toast at other son and her ensuing feelings about it. Instead of getting angry, she thanks God for the cross-grace and forgiveness for this situation. I was really challenged by that, as I've been in a slump with my anger towards my boys when they fight. So in the car this morning, when I could hear words flying and emotions about to erupt, I started thanking God out loud for various things - for forgiveness, for brothers who have loved each other in the past, for the money to have just eaten a tasty lunch together, a car we can sit in with air-con etc! It really helped me not to fume inside when I couldn't do much (while driving), and it even got them thanking God too!! How nice.

Becky S said...

One way I try to avoid spiritual slumps is being involved in a weekly women's bible study at my church. Right now I am in a Precepts class, learning so much and being challenged by the Word. Even when a slump starts to hit, I keep pressing on and into the Lord and have a great group of ladies to encourage me and keep me accountable.
The sex slump gets me, though.

ConsciouslyModest said...

Just stumbled across your site, am bookmarking it :)

It's refreshing to read about sex from a Christian perspective without raunch or rigidity. I agree that really kissing instead of the routine peck helps alot. Lots of great ideas that are simple but if you arn't putting them into practice. . . well :)

When I'm in a slump I generally try to find something to do that takes my mind off myself. Generally speaking I'm selfish when I win that battle I think life will truly be better :)

Mrs. Cheerio said...
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mary grace said...

I think I needed to read this today. :-) The fact is, dh and I are in an intimacy slump that is bothering me quite a bit, but he's o.k. with it. When did that happen? LOL! Being reminded that this is the same thing we had in other seasons of life, just revered, was beautiful this morning. Something to reflect on! Thanks, Jess.