Sailing Out of the Doldrums
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
Have you ever visited the doldrums? Most people would say that while they have been in the doldrums at some point in their life, but not many people have ever visited them. In fact, the doldrums is a specific location near the equator. It is considered a dead zone for sailors.
The winds from the northern hemisphere converge with the winds from the southern hemisphere at the equator. Of course, the equator is hot so the air from these winds heats up and rises creating an area in which there is very little wind but a lot of violent storms. In the days when ships relied on the wind for their power, getting stuck in the doldrums was a very dangerous things. Ships could be trapped there for days or weeks at a time and many were destroyed by the vicious storms.
We can also get stuck in the doldrums in our lives. We can find ourselves in a place where there is no wind filling our sails and we are just drifting through life. This is a dangerous place to be. What does it take to get sailing again? How can we get some fresh wind in our sails?
I heard Pastor Andy Stanley comment on a recent podcast that, “Change creates momentum.” I have found that making changes, even small changes in my life, can provide a fresh perspective. A while back at C3 Church in Atlanta, we went through a sermon series based on the book Fresh Air by Pastor Chris Hodges. If you are stuck in the doldrums or even if you just need a little nudge to get sailing again, check out this great book.
Here are a few ideas of things that we can change to generate some fresh momentum in our lives:
1. Change your workout routine. Try some new machines or exercises. Check out a group fitness class. Buy a few sessions with a personal trainer. If you don’t have a workout routine, start one. I think that we forget that if we are out of balance in one area, it is going to cause problems in other areas. Physical training is one of the greatest ways to fight depression and generate some momentum.
2. Change what you are listening to. Instead of listening to music on the way to work, listen to a book on CD or a podcast. Why not use your commute as a time to learn something new? In my city of Atlanta, the average commute to work is thirty minutes. That is a minimum of an hour a day that we have the opportunity to learn something new, worship, or hear inspiring preaching.
3. Do something different at work. I realize that this is not always possible depending on your job. If the opportunity is there, however, look for new ways to do your job or talk to your boss about some additional responsibilities. Many companies have money set aside for training that never gets spent. Ask your boss if they would send you to take a seminar or training course. They might just say, “Yes.”
4. Who are you helping? Something powerful is released when we get our eyes off of ourselves and look to serve others. Serving gives us a sense of purpose and it helps us to put our own issues in perspective. It might be as simple as volunteering to help a co-worker with a project or joining one of the service teams at your church, but look for something you can do to help others. So many communities have volunteer organizations that would welcome any help you could give!
5. Do something new spiritually. No, I’m not talking about changing religions. I am talking about doing something different when your faith gets stale. You might want to check out one of the YouVersion’s Bible reading plans or start keeping a journal to write down what you are learning as you read the Bible. In your prayer time, how much time do you spend praying for others versus the time you pray for your self? Putting other people ahead of you in prayer is a fantastic way to gain a fresh perspective. Maybe you could add some worship music to your devotional time and spend some time in worship.
Can you think of any other ways to get unstuck? What did you do the last time you found yourself in a rut?
Would you consider becoming a part of our team as Annie and I serve the Lord in the US, South America, and India? Here is the link. Thanks so much!