Have you found yourself in a funk lately? Are you not as satisfied or happy in your life as you expected to be? Are you trying to look at things in a positive light but finding it difficult? Many people feel the same way. Sometimes, it feels like our minds and bodies are cooperating against us to lead us into a rut for seemingly no reason. But there’s always a reason.
We need to look at the reasons we ended up in this unfortunate state and make resolutions to do better. Dave Durand joined Morning Air to talk about his best advice for getting out of a rut, doing your best not to fall into a rut again.
While looking at the contributing factors to our problem is the long-term solution, Dave began by talking about what advice he has for moving forward immediately. What’s going to allow us to function in our roles at work, in our families, and in our friendships?
“Play offense,” said Dave. “What happens a lot of times when people get stuck, they move into a helpless, victim mentality.” That may be understandable because sometimes we are the victim of somebody else’s thoughtless decisions. But when we retreat into a victim mentality, our only solution is to wait for somebody to save us. There are people who can and will help us, but we can’t be dead-weight.
So, we should look at the things under our control: daily routine, responsibilities, chores, hobbies, good habits/virtues, and the way we express our attitudes and moods. When we’re productive, we’re developing this skill of living outside of ourselves. Naturally, productivity begets growth. As John pointed out, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” In other words, if we aren’t proactive about moving on from the rut, the rut won’t loosen its grip.
The second tip Dave suggested for breaking free from these mild bouts of depression is to increase our energy. This is a focus on our bodily health. All too often, people ignore the connection between mental and physical health. It’s necessary to pay attention to what we eat, the quantity and quality of our sleep, our media consumption, and our exercise habits.
If we do find ourselves in a rut, that temptation to treat ourselves like a victim can easily become a reality if we stop taking care of ourselves. Poor diet, lack of exercise, and no sleep is a recipe for hormonal dysfunction, which just leads to feeling worse.
There is an old joke about a man who prayed all his life, asking God to let him win the lottery. Always struggling financially, he would get down on his knees and implore God to let him just once be gifted with that magnificent windfall of cash. He promised he would use the money for good and he would be generous and wise with it if he could have enough to take care of his financial situation. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. He prayed every day but had no luck. 80 years passed and the man died without ever having won. When he got to the Pearly Gates he asked God, “Lord, I was faithful to you my entire life. All I asked is that you help me win the lottery. Why didn’t you let me win?” The Lord replied, “You never bought a ticket.”
If you want to be happy, you have to buy into the methods that you know will help you get there. You wouldn’t complain to your dentist about toothache and cavities if you never brushed or flossed your teeth. You can’t wallow in a state of victimhood without trying to help yourself.
“If we’re just going to say, ‘Lord, give me the energy to do this or that,’ and we’re going to circumvent the very fact that he gave us a body that consumes things mentally and physically, then we’re not participating in grace so much as we’re asking God to [do the work for us].” God always does the heavy lifting. We just have to do our part.
Dave said the third step to getting out of a rut is to jumpstart your prayer life. This is the one that he finds most people object to. They don’t even want to try it. But Dave says developing a spiritual life while we are struggling is the most reasonable thing we can do. Asking God for help during a difficult period in life is like someone who is starving asking for food. It only makes sense. Prayer is often broken down into four types: Petition, Adoration, Contrition, and Thanksgiving. Prayers of petition are when we are asking for something.
When things are going well, our prayer shouldn’t be reduced, but changed. We thank God for the good things we have, and we glorify and praise Him for his goodness. Dave points out that the real saints will find it within themselves to praise and glorify God even when things are not going well in our lives.
For more segments like this, tune in to Morning Air on weekdays at 5am CT