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  • Writer's pictureStephen Percy

A Spiritual Funk

A Spiritual Funk

Depending on your age you may be more familiar with ‘funk’ as the irresistibly, toe-tapping (or get-out-your-seat-and-shake-it-on-the-dance-floor) a genre of music (I’m listening to Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ as I type!), but others will understand the word differently. To be ‘in a funk’ can mean one is lacking in motivation or energy, or your usual levels of ‘vim and vigour’ aren’t what they were. Older readers may prefer Karen Carpenter’s description – “What I’ve got, they used to call the blues”.

Summarised in a word, being in a funk feels a little ‘meh’.

Maybe you can relate.

Has there been a season where you’ve felt flat? Despondent? A bit fed up?

I’ve been navigating my way through a ‘funk’ recently. There was something going on that took a lot of emotional energy, and which I came out of feeling pretty battered. I’m naturally a resilient type, and I’m grateful for that characteristic, but as things drew to a close and began to move on, I found… find… myself in a bit of a funk. It’s been a few weeks of walking in what could be described as a ‘fog’ and I’ve felt physically and mentally run.

Truth be told, I’m not writing this primarily for you, I’m writing it for me. I generally enjoy writing but even the motivation to write through the past several months hasn’t been forthcoming.

So here are a few practical tips that help navigate those ‘meh’ seasons.

Root yourself in the One who never changes

King David suffered greatly and had good reason to feel utterly devastated (see 1 Samuel 30). Facing difficulties and hostility s“…David found strength in the Lord his God.”

Our times and days change. Seasons of joy can be eclipsed by times of acute sorrow, only for rejoicing to return at some point. Most days involve a combination of happy/good and unhappy/sad… or somewhere in between. Our emotional response to situations has potential rise and fall depending on how good or bad we find the events we’re experiencing to be. But God doesn’t change. Yet if we fix our hope in the unchanging One, God himself, we won’t be as emotionally storm-tossed as those who don’t. Don’t misread me: I’m not suggesting we’ll be spared any difficulties or challenges, or that tough times won’t come, but that we can choose to rejoice because of who God is and what he’s done. Those things never change.

Don’t make profound changes

If you’re not on an even keel emotionally, don’t make life-impacting decisions. If the decision whether to have peanut butter or jam on your toast causes consternation, deciding to change jobs/move house/have a baby are probably not the things to consider next.

Wait it out and return to the big-ticket items things when the fog has lifted. Until then, just keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy the jam… or peanut butter… along the way. Routine helps.

Enjoy grace for the moment

We do a good job in church in talking (and rightly so!) about the bigness of God and his infinite nature, but in the day-to-day of walking through a ‘funk-y’ season, those things can feel impersonal or overwhelming. It’s good to remind yourself that in your present state – in this moment – his grace is sufficient. Sure, it’s infinite, but it’s also personal and ‘here and now’. Remember that God’s love is steadfast and that his mercies are new every morning. Take hold of grace in the moment.

Take physical exercise

I’ve been a slow learner on this. A lot of my days are spent sat with people, often drinking coffee (no complaints here!) but medical/scientific research shows that the positives of going for a walk, hitting the gym, plating football, etc, far outweigh the highs of another caffeine hit. The Apostle Paul, writing to his young mentee shared the wisdom “Physical exercise is of some value.” Get up and get moving #releasetheendorphines!

Talk about it

Remember the ‘80s BT advert featuring Bob Hoskins telling us ‘It’s good to talk’? Well, he wasn’t wrong! As part of Jesus’ family we are to bear one another’s burdens and to stand alongside one another through the highs and lows of life – to rejoice with those who rejoice and to mourn with those who mourn. Cultivate relationships that can bear the weight of authenticity and vulnerability, then take the plunge and share. What you fear could happen (being laughed at, taken a dim view of or outright rejected) almost certainly won’t happen. What will happen is that you’ll give somebody else the opportunity to minister the grace of Jesus – to be his hands, feet and wisdom – to you. It’s a tremendous thing!

So, life can feel a bit ‘meh’ at times. Navigate it well and learn what you can from it. A funk isn’t a sign that God has fallen out with you, and unlike more serious clinical diagnoses the nature of a funk is not as intrusive, nor the duration as long.


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