Runnin’ on Empty

It’s Monday night at 9:22pm and I am working on a post that will be available first thing tomorrow morning. I had a post written, and I was going to publish it, but the fact of the matter is that despite having a beginning, middle, and end, it just wasn’t complete. When it came time to decide what I was going to write about tonight, I realized I’ve got nothing in particular on my mind. I tried to write about community, but I have yet to master the art of writing passionately when everything inside me just wants to watch more Dexter. (The fact that I’m making myself write at all is a drastic improvement over my old method of only writing when I felt like it then being surprised when I realized it had been three months since I posted something.)

Fortunately, I’ve been playing the Introspective Christian game long enough that I have come to recognize this apathy for what it is: The result of existing without consuming anything spiritually challenging. Despite the fact that I’ve been a good little do-be so far when it comes to my weekly posts, I haven’t actually written anything in my journal in weeks… Maybe months. The way I work, is I need to be confronted with some kind of spiritual game-changing truth relatively frequently. I will then consider this truth from a multitude of angles, draw my conclusions, and then share them with whoever will lend me their eyeballs.

The means by which this spiritual truth is discovered varies considerably. My favorite method is when God drop-kicks me over the Field Goal of Epiphany. Unfortunately for me, God refuses to be contained in a formula and I have yet to make this happen with any consistency of my own volition. For a while I was a big book reader. I devoured the books you’d find in the “Christian Living” section. Years ago, however, a switch went off and I suddenly started feeling that the majority of the books in that section were trite, shallow attempts by Christian Publishers to line their pockets with the money of the gullible. I’ve had a very hard time finding a book that is actually as life-changing as the cover claims it to be. Finally, there’s church of course. When I was at Bible College we had chapel three times a week. More times than not, it was awful, but just being there forced me to consider why I hated it so much so there was still growth to be found.  Now that I’m what you might call a “grown-up” and church only happens once a week, you’d think it would be easier to show up. Not so. For various reasons I’ve not been able to make it to church hardly at all this summer.  That, combined with the fact that the small group I’m attending is on hiatus, has left me spiritually impoverished.

Clearly, it’s no wonder why the ol’ think tank is running on empty. I need to do something about it. I’ve got some plans in the works, but in the mean time, I could use some opinions, dear readers… Where do you hunt for Spiritual meat?


10 responses to “Runnin’ on Empty

  1. I hunt for spiritual meat within the hearts of those that I can of help to and then I ultimately find that God has placed in the last place I would ever think to look….. within my own heart. Take it easy on yourself and have a wonder-filled day.

  2. I’m finding a great deal of spiritual food in my personal time of reflection. Where God’s brought me, how He brought me, WHY He brought me. The lessons I’ve learned along the way…it’s even sparked thoughts for future ministry…different than I’ve ever pondered previously. I’m always surprised to learn that I’ve learned many lessons in the course of my time here on earth…why does that always amaze me? The latest is on leadership: transactional or transformational. Here’s a fab article on each. Give it a look. See if it sparks anything…

  3. For much of my life, since I have been raised in the church, I have struggled with going through patterns of trying to hunt down “spiritual meat.” I think at this point in my life, meeting God in community prayer is the strongest way I encounter him and walk away feeling changed and filled.

    I had set times for this in Knoxville, and an incredible church community who was passionate about just spending time with Him. Now I’m in NYC, and New Yorkers barely have time to feed themselves dinner let alone devote hours to prayer. But this idea keeps prodding my heart that you know what? Maybe they just need the invitation. Maybe I can be a conduit for what God wants to do in this city. It’s entirely counter-cultural here, but isn’t that what the gospel is all about?

    I’ve been reading Jon Acuff’s new book, Quitter, and am finding so many enlightening and frustrating reflections of myself in the pages. He has some good truth to share on apathy and the refusal to go after our dreams. I think you would deeply identify with it too. Since this is the guy who blogs “Stuff Christians Like,” his approach is both poignant and funny – not at all selling Christian BS.

    • Can I ask what you mean by “group” prayer? Do you mean people praying individually in a room, or people praying together for something specific? Personally, I’ve always gotten more out of praying individually, but I’d be interested to know if there’s another way. Also, I think I recall seeing you post about Quitter over the last month or two, I’ll see if I can get a hold of it.

  4. hmm you’re post seems to allude to the one I have yet to find the time to write. It’s bouncing around in my head and I think perhaps has even found a good form and direction. Pray that I find the time to write it out before it drains out my ears like so many other neat thoughts. Life is busy

      • Wednesday is my one and only day off so I think i can swing it should I not get distracted by “shinies”.

  5. By community prayer, I do mean praying together. (Although the beauty is that people could come in to this atmosphere, but choose to pray alone or not to pray out loud). Sometimes the focus is the city, or sometimes it is based off a passage of scripture, but the purpose is not so much to dump what is on your heart on God, but instead to embrace the opportunity to be quiet and ask what is on His.

    I realize that trying to listen to God is tricky business, but the wall I often seem to run into when I pray alone is questioning if my interactions are legitimate or if I am just making myself think I am hearing from God, and just echoing my own desires back to myself. When I pray with others, I am always amazed by how someone across the room often begins to pray the very same thing that is on my heart and mind. This has happened too many times in recent years for me to be skeptical about it anymore – it can’t be coincidence. I walk away better knowing the heart of my God, restored and refueled to go out and love others and live life in a way that ushers in His Kingdom.

  6. Paul, I can really relate to where you’re coming from here. Thanks for this blog post. My personal view on this is that the very fact that you’re even reflecting on this part of your spiritual life means that it is healthier and fuller than you may think at first glance. I have to remind myself the very same thing when I go through moments like this. I know some may see this simply as an excuse of some sort, or may try to explain that you’re just “not trying hard enough”, but when I take the time to examine why it is I feel this way, I realize it’s sometimes quite the opposite.

    • Hey Mark! Thanks for the comment. I pretty much share the same sentiment, but at this point it feels more like a matter of potential… Things between God and I aren’t bad, but I know it could be better. I think many of the posts I write are an attempt to figure out where that potential might be leaking from so I can better understand how to patch them.

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