Has anyone ever looked at you and asked if you were okay and for a split second you thought about saying “no, not really” but you didn’t because the truth is you are not really sure what the problem is? Deep down you know you are not yourself but you’re not sure why. You want to ask for help but for what? You are fine. Things in your life are okay. You are not going through a tragedy that’s rocking your world yet you don’t feel like there is anything to celebrate either. It’s like you can’t put your finger on what is wrong but you know that something isn’t quite right.
You’re not hot. You’re not cold, you are much worse; you are stuck somewhere in the middle. The Bible talks about it being lukewarm but I have a different description for it: you are Blah.
Beware of blah. It’s a real thing and it’s a trap. It appears innocent at first. You feel a little dull and doesn’t everyone feel that way sometimes? After all, we can’t be sparkle and sunshine all the time, right? But dull left unchecked leads to apathetic and apathy has a way of sucking up all your good energy, leaving you tired and weary. Once you are weary, forget it. It becomes difficult to find the good in anything.
Not in yourself, your circumstances, or even in others.
When you lose sight of the good, you lose heart. And once your heart isn’t in it, you start down the twisted path that leads to feeling blah and there doesn’t seem to be a way out, especially of something you can’t put your finger on in the first place.
When you find yourself sinking into the pit of blah one of the best actions to take is to reach out to someone. Find a sticky person. There’s something refreshing about another perspective to help you see it's not all 'doom and gloom' and 'no way out'. It’s a simple solution. All it takes is being willing to talk about it but, as simple as it sounds, it’s the hardest thing to do because it can be uncomfortable. Instead, when someone is standing right in front of you, you trade what might be an uncomfortable conversation for your comfortably rehearsed smile and say, “I’m good.”
Why are we as women so content to push people away and settle for a life that is okay or good when God has designed a life for us that can be great? God knows that one path which leads to great is the ability to share our lives with others. When we find ourselves face to face with a friend, all that’s needed is to admit we have a struggle and ask for help--but we don’t. It’s like drinking a cup of plain coffee and then realizing you could have had a breve latte with toffee nut syrup and caramel drizzle on top, extra hot please. The plain coffee was okay but it could have been so much better. All we needed to do was ask for it. But instead of asking for what could be ours we take our plain coffee with a side of self -pity, mix in a negative attitude and drink it like it was made especially for us. And it tastes just like we feel…blah.
Why are we as women so content to push people away and settle for a life that is okay or good when God has designed a life for us that can be great?
I found myself in this exact place and I realized that I was a pastor’s wife that didn’t want to do the very thing God placed me here to do. I didn’t want to do church or people or ministry; I wanted to be alone in my self-imposed state of blah and do nothing. I became consumed with the difficulties of my life, the pressures of ministry and I lost my focus for anyone other than myself. Church was okay but it wasn’t great. We weren’t broke but our finances were becoming hard to stretch. I wasn’t turning my back on God but I wasn’t pursuing Him either. My life just felt dull and I could feel myself sinking into a pit of sadness and I didn’t know how to climb out.
Here’s the thing about blah: it causes you to focus on everything you think is wrong with you instead of focusing on God, Who is everything that is right in you.
I should have reached out to someone as I had several people noticing that I
wasn’t myself but, instead, I began to notice how everyone else’s life appeared so much better than mine (according to social media anyway). I had ministry friends whose churches were growing when mine wasn’t, other friends who were taking fancy vacations that I couldn’t afford, and still more who were getting promotions and finding success and what was I getting? Nothing but a big heap of blah to keep me company. Instead of seeking God, I sought my phone. I would go through long scrolls on social media until I was stripped of all joy in my own life. As long as I was focused on what appeared right about everyone else’s life, I could only see what I thought was wrong about my own.
Carrie Wilkerson, an author and speaker friend of mine says this: "If it’s stealing your joy, you can either put it away or put it in perspective." The comparison trap of social media was certainly stealing my joy and causing me to lose my perspective and this was something that needed to end so that a new perspective in my life could begin.
Social media should come with a giant warning sign about paying too much attention to what is going on in the lives around you. People’s lives according to social media have to be kept in perspective for what they really are: a highlighted version of what people want you to see. When you can’t make this distinction, it needs to be put it away. Otherwise it becomes too easy to compare your life with others, only to find your own life never measuring up. It will keep you feeling blah and so consumed with self that you lose the ability to celebrate the good things happening for other people and that was NEVER in God’s plan--not for any of us. God meant for us to share our lives with others, both the happy moments and the difficult situations.
Ultimately God showed me that I needed more days in my life that I was not the center of my life.
We all have things in our life that can consume our thoughts and cause us to worry or doubt or focus too much on ourselves. Now, when I find myself sinking into a pit of blah, I try and do something that gets my mind off myself.
Focus on someone else’s needs.
Offer someone else hope.
In short, serve others, like Jesus did. It’s the key to fighting blah and finding joy.
Excerpts were taken by permission from Lisa Goins' new book Courageously Uncomfortable, when the real woman you want to be is on the other side of fear. Lisa shared more insight to the book in last week's episode of Let's Talk with Sanctuary, Sanctuary's BRAND NEW PODCAST. Subscribe and listen to Episode One with Lisa and host Bridgette Tomlin on your favorite podcast app or by clicking here.
Lisa Goins is a pastor's wife to Kelly, a mom of four, and a speaker and encourager of women. She recently founded the She Knew Gathering and is now author of Courageously Uncomfortable, "a book that shares the deep desires of my heart to encourage women to break free of their comfort zone and pursue the life God meant for you to live, even if you have to be uncomfortable while you do it!" Courageously Uncomfortable is real life for Lisa as she strives to push forward, courageously and uncomfortably, in all God has for her to do. Some of her favorite things include coffee time with Jesus and friends, M&M’s ("I'm forever a slave to my sweet tooth!"), TJ Maxx, Hallmark Movies, beaches and all sunny spots by the water, and speaking to and encouraging women. "Whether it's for 2 or 20 or 200 or 2000, I come alive when speaking as I see women move beyond their deep regrets and insecurities and make a decision to show up for their new life; the one full of God-given potential and unlimited possibilities in Christ Jesus.