Getting Through Spiritual Dry Spells

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013

Summary

Ever feel like you are just going through the motions. Like you are going to church because you know it’s right, but it just isn’t making that special connection. How do you work your way out of it? What can you focus on to bring you back to a rewarding relationship with God and the church?

Objective

It seems like a lot of people go through spiritual dry spells. People sometimes feel apathetic about their relationship with God and/or feel like God’s voice is silent during a difficult time. The objective is to provide some practical tips for getting through times of spiritual dryness.

Bible Readings

1. Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

2. Job 30:20

“I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.

3. Matthew 8:26

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Catechism Readings

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The first commandment requires us to nourish and protect our faith with prudence and vigilance, and to reject everything that is opposed to it. There are various ways of sinning against faith:

Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness.

  1. Paragraph 162

Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.” To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church.

Small Group Questions

  1. What do you do when you are going through a spiritual dry spell?
  2. Is there some activity, sacrament or inspirational book that helps you get back on track with your spiritual journey?
  3. Have you talked with a priest or spiritual advisor during this time? How has this been helpful?
  4. How has FathersTeam been helpful in this process? How can FT be improved in this regard?

Accountability

  1. Ask yourself – is there anything I am doing to block God’s voice? Take time to reflect on what you have been doing lately.
  2. Have you been praying, receiving the sacraments, going to Adoration etc.?
  3. Are you filling your life with other distractions?

Author(s)

Tony Heekin and updated by John Fahrmeier

Included Resources

From http://www.conversiondiary.com/2009/07/9-tips-for-spiritual-dry-spells.html

Make sure you’re not doing anything to block out God’s voice
– Is there specific sin in your life that is blocking you relationship with God?
– Are you holding a grudge against someone?

Keep praying (no, seriously, keep praying)
– Mix up your prayer life a bit. Add the rosary if you are not currently saying it. Pray with your spouse.
– A spiritual dry spell is not the time to start subtracting spiritual practices that you once felt called to do.

Receive the sacraments

– Increase the frequency with which you receive the sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession. As with prayer, it’s tempting to slack off on going to Mass or Confession if it doesn’t lead to an emotional experience, but the sacraments are channels of grace regardless of how we feel when we receive them.

Read inspiring spiritual books
Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire

In the Shadow of His Wings

Come Be My Light

He Leadeth Me

Finding God’s Will for You

10 Prayers God Always Says Yes To

Make sure there’s not a physical cause

-Though we always have free will to turn to God no matter what the circumstances (as I was recently reminded), I’ve found that if I’m staying up too late, constantly eating junk food, not exercising, pushing myself too hard, etc., I’m far more tempted to turn away from God than when I’m feeling good physically — and this alone can lead to spiritual dry spells.

Make sure you’re recharging your batteries
-This is similar to the above, but it’s so important yet so often overlooked that I think it’s worth addressing as a separate point. It is critically important to understand how you recharge your batteries, i.e. knowing what activities give you energy vs. what activities drain your energy.

Find a spiritual director
-Spiritual directors can help you work through questions like, “Am I doing something to block out God’s voice?”, “What could be the purpose for God’s silence in my life right now?”, “How can I keep praying when I feel so unmotivated?” etc.

Consider counseling

-If you think you might have serious unresolved issues in your life that are impacting your relationship with God, you may want to consider finding a Christian counselor to help you gain peace in those areas of your life.

Research the Christian understanding of spiritual dry spells

-If you’ve done all of the above and nothing is better, it may simply be that God is withholding spiritual consolation from you for a reason.

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