What do you do when growth and progress come to a halt and the feelings of complacency and stagnation reign supreme? That’s a question I’ve been asking for the past few months. For a fairly long season, I felt the growth in my life. Challenging though it was, I knew I was becoming a better person. But I slowly grew into a state of complacency and without realizing it, my growth had stagnated.
I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I hate with every fiber of my being the idea of stagnating. Maybe it’s because I feel called to be more than I currently am. Or perhaps it’s just an innate desire to grow. Honestly, I don’t know where this intolerance comes from. And part of me doesn’t care. That part just wants to get out of this funk and start moving forward again.
This recent bout with stagnation was pretty rough. From my growth as person to my relationship with Jesus, I wasn’t seeing any forward movement. In some areas, I actually felt regression. This threw me into a brief spiral of craziness before I finally decided to act.
But some of the actions I feel I’ve had to take haven’t been easy.
One of the first changes I made was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do – I left my church. While there were actually a decent number of reasons behind this decision, a big driving factor for my departure was the spiritual stagnation I felt mired in. My faith wasn’t really being challenged in my current environment. So, after a hard-fought internal battle, I felt my time at that church had come to an end.
I spent the next month away from the church world as a time to decompress and hit the reset button. That month helped me clear my head a bit and when it came time, I was ready to find a new Sunday morning home.
Towards the end of 2017, I found that new place I was looking for. Since then, I’ve been mindful not to fall into the same mindset I’ve had before about church. I’ve been trying new, and hopefully better, ways to engage my faith. Getting the fresh perspective of a new environment helped a lot in that regard.
Fast forward to mid-January. My new church holds a 21 day fast at the beginning of the year to ask and pray for the year ahead. Rather than go the traditional food route, I decided to give up YouTube and video games for that period. That may not seem super spiritual, but those two things had encroached upon too much of my free time and I knew that needed to change.
So for the next 3 weeks, my two favorite forms of entertainment were no longer available to me. At times, I wanted to give up and run back to those distractions. Over time, those desires fell as others rose.
That time off gave me lots of time to think and reflect. It helped me reset some of the ways I think and how I use my free time. I also believe it helped further break the stagnation I’ve found myself in.
While I feel better about my growth, I still feel I have a few chains to break. If I’ve learned nothing else through this period of stagnation, I feel that I’m better equipped to handle it next time it comes around. I’ve learned that a great way to kickstart growth is to hit the reset button. Take some time off for a brief period and start again. Having a fresh start has helped me see things in a different light. Because I’m so caught up in learning from this new perspective, I haven’t had time to stagnate.