Feeling Like You Are "In a Rut?"

I have a confession to make.

Notwithstanding my best intentions to stay positive and hopeful, and to inspire others as well...

I have found myself the last couple of weeks to be "in a rut."

What does that mean, anyway? To be "in a rut?"

I looked it up; and the saying originated in the pioneer days of  the early 1800's, when the wheels of the horse-pulled wagons would literally end up in a "rut." A rut is a worn groove in a path. A definition is a long, deep track made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles.

Oh yes. I'm in a rut. I'm locked into a mandatory routine of back and forth, back and forth -- to work, to appointments, to errands, to bed; and then waking up the next day and doing it all over again. Even weekends have been taken up by many unexpected "have to do's" instead of any sort of restful break.

It's stuck in the rut. Yuck.  When you are in a rut, it's not boredom -- you have plenty to do. It's not depression. It's not even "the blues." It's just "going through the motions" and finding yourself lacking inspiration.

So what to do to get out of the rut? Are there any verses or words from Christ that can help?

Here are a few truths to think upon and a few recommendations to help get unstuck from the rut:

1. Pray. Of course this will be the first recommendation. Often times when in a rut, though, you don't even know what to pray for, so you may skip a prayer time or even just "go through the motions" in prayer. Remember, however, that if you have accepted Christ, then the Holy Spirit will interceed for you when you do not know what to pray for, or how to pray (Romans 8:26-27). Try this: simply pray

"God, I'm feeling ______________ (tired, stuck, uninspired, feeling down for no good reason); and I don't know why or what to do to get unstuck in my mind. I just want to ask your Spirit to interceed for me and help encourage the change in me or in my mind that needs to happen to get un-stuck."

Then look up and review some of your favorite verses, and most importantly, grab a notebook or journal and write down the date that you prayed this prayer. This is important because you will want to look back and see how quickly this prayer is answered.

2. Plan out your day or your week to get any "unfinished" tasks you are procrastinating on done. Many times we find ourselves in a rut because we have been procrastinating. Actually schedule the time into your weekly calendar for finishing the task or project, or at least finishing a portion of it, if it is a large or ongoing project.  Then get it done. Knock out  the task that may very well be keeping you walled into your rut.

3. Next, this is even more important than #2. Look at your weekly plan and schedule in some time to do some activities that are "not typical" for you that you will enjoy. If you haven't been exercising, then schedule in a walk for an hour. If you do exercise regularly already, then do something different. Drive to a pretty park and walk or jog there, instead of just walking around your neighborhood. Go do something "touristy" in your own city or nearby town. Do something to purposefully and intentionally step out of the rut for as little as an hour. It may just be the "spark" you need to help get inspired once again.

4. Finally, be intentionally thankful. I've learned that being intentionally thankful, no matter the circumstances, seems to soothe many of life's ills. No matter what your circumstance, there is something to be thankful for, even if it is something that seems small. Colossians 3:17 prescribes, "Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." The truth is, you cannot keep your thoughts in a rut and also in an intentionally thankful state at the same time. The thankful thoughts will drive out the thoughts that keep you stuck, and will leave no room for the dull and listless thoughts to take further root in your mind. If you are really having a hard time being intentionally thankful, then write down at least 10 things you are thankful for, and tape it to your alarm clock. Every morning, read that list and pray thankfulness over it before you even fully get out of bed to start your day of "to do's."

Oh, and at the bottom of that list of yours, add Psalms 107:1, and read it out loud when you get to it:

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!"

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