Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Blah Night of the Soul

So, I have been reading David G. Brenner's book "Opening to God, Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer" ever since I got back from Leadership Institute.  In my opinion, my prayer life is one of my weak spots.  This book, for me, has been a slug fest!  I am literally trying to slug my way through, which is highly unusual for me, because I am a fast reader and I should have had this book finished in a matter of days!

The book is not the problem, it's a great book!  I am the problem.  In the first chapter, Mr. Brenner talks about Thomas Green's stages of love.  Writing about the third stage he says this:
"If you don't know about desolation in prayer, you haven't been praying for very long.  I have certainly known long periods when it felt like my prayers were simply echoing in my head but not reaching God.  But, as we shall see, even desolation has its divine purpose.  For, here, in these periods of dryness in prayer, we can learn to drink deeply from the living water in ways that are not dependent on our senses.  It is in these dark nights that our soul can learn to see by faith, not by sight."  
I can relate to this point because I have had those times in my life when I felt like my prayers were going nowhere!  What I am experiencing right now is a little different.  I wouldn't  call it a dark night of the soul but rather the blah night of the soul.  I've hit a dry spell!  Not just with prayer but with my Bible readings, with church life, with everything.  I'm in the blah zone! I'm not heart broken, I'm not despairing, I'm not depressed.  I'm also not overly excited or inspired.  I'm neutral.  Life is just humming along and I'm going along with the flow.  There are things that make me happy and make me laugh.  There are things that make me angry and sad.  But nothing seems to surprise or shock me or really grab my attention.  It's just...there.

I know it'll pass but right now it is driving me nuts!  I have been doing my daily Bible reading and I'm still making notes but it's like I am picking up on the same things that I have been seeing for the last six months.  I've been tracking my prayers for the last 31 weeks (due to Disciple Bible Study) and they have pretty much been the same things over and over for that period of time.  I finally got to the point a couple of weeks ago where I just simply put an arrow pointing up in the prayer concerns slot because it was the same as last week and the week before and the week before that!  On the one hand, I guess I should appreciate the consistency.  On the other hand, I'm thinking to myself "what is wrong with me, that I'm not seeing any change or break through???"

Blah, blah, blah, blah.  Oh so pathetically blah!

I'm spending a lot more time watching the birds in the front yard and the way the shadows play across the tree tops.  Logically, I know this is similar to hitting the plateau in sports or exercise.  Eventually you break out of the plateau and start making progress again, but it can be very frustrating waiting for that break to happen!  It is most definitely, the blah night of the soul for me.  I have a hard time with waiting and being patient!

For those of you who may be feeling the same way, take heart!  It's normal.  It's not a lot of fun.  Eventually though, you will break through.  It's the waiting that is the hardest part!  May you move beyond the blah night of your soul and may you encourage others who are experiencing the same thing!  Not only do I pray that for you, but I am praying that for me as well!


  1. On waiting... A great book is Sue Monk Kidd's book: When the Heart Waits. If you haven't read it, I recommend it.

    Waiting can be a very active time. It is the time in which transformation takes place. Take the chrysalis as an example. During the waiting time, the caterpillar is being transformed into a butterfly. Then, the butterfly must break open the chrysalis to be free. But, it must wait a little longer for its wings to dry after that. Waiting is always a part of our journey!


  2. I have read some of her work but I am not sure if I have read that particular book! She is an incredible writer! The blah period has passed, as I knew it would. It was just a matter of patiently waiting! Not my strong suit at times! LOL