Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by June E. Titus. Thanks so much for this encouragement, June!
Psalm 86: 1 (Read entire chapter),
O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
I love words. Especially intriguing to me are words that sound like what they mean—“onomatopoeic” words. “Ennui” could be one of those words. It aptly describes a recent blah-ish period in my spiritual life. The word sounds—well, blah. Many excuses could be listed to attempt justification of those spiritual doldrums. But, to quote late nineteenth/early twentieth century evangelist, Billy Sunday, “An excuse is a skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” Like a sausage.
Jog a dull spirit by a sermon or some special issue may work for a moment, but the next moment it is forgotten. Boredom sets in. God Himself is the only one sufficient to extract such a dullard from the hole of their own making. (Psalm 40: 2-3a)
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
How God pulls me out of my self-dug hole filled with boredom, blahs, and ennui:
· Don’t depend on sermons, good works, Bible study groups, to throw in a rope to climb out of the hole. Rather, get a proper perspective of the holy, sovereign creator, who loved me so much He became the Incarnate Son of God to die in my place and make me the child of the King of kings. That’s the rope; I grasp it in faith. Then I am ready to hear sermons, do good works, and go to my Bible study.
· Get back into God’s Word—not just a daily verse in a devotional with an encouraging half page. Read a portion each day, learn the lesson it has for me. Not my neighbor. Me.
· Pray. Ritual prayers are only as meaningful as the heart and mental conception behind it. Table grace, bedtime “now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleep,” or even the Lord’s Prayer, are meaningless if I do not think of what I am praying. I need protracted prayer: time spent talking to “Our Father” as a child who has a reverent awe of His majesty, yet can sit at His feet and communicate the desires of my heart. I can tell Him how much I love and need Him. I can take my prayer concerns and the concerns I have for others. I need patient prayer–to keep at it when I can’t see the end God has designed, but faithfully persist. I need specific prayer that names not only names, but names needs and concerns attached to those names.
· Do good for others. Believe it or not, I am not in this world alone with my pocket full of blahs. To help pull another from his hole, I must crawl out of mine.
· Don’t allow temporal distractions derail a spiritual journey. When I pray the line in The Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation,” I have to understand that God’s train is right on track, but there may be stops along the way to tempt me to get off the train and wander about. The distractions may not be harmful in and of themselves, but in my human frailty, I can veer off on my own and spend unredeemable time in an irresponsible manner. Derailed.
Funny thing: Some of the opposites to ennui are words like cheer, delight, and enjoyment. The temporary kicks resulting from mundane activities may only rebound on the unprepared traveler. On the other hand, to serve God with a whole heart is to enjoy life—delight in every mile of the way—living in His presence. The opposite feeling from ennui is “BAM!” I am looking to get a “bam” out of my walk with Jesus.
June Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.