Summer Slumps? No, We Keep Growing!

Praise the Lord! He is good.
God’s love never fails.
Praise the God of all gods.
God’s love never fails.
Praise the Lord of lords.
God’s love never fails.   –Psalm 136:1-3

The best way to get out of a slump is to never get in one in the first place.

No matter how good of a baseball or softball player you were, you had a slump. At some point it felt like you were never going to get another hit. Maybe it was six or eight plate appearances until you broke out…or maybe it was more.

Chris Davis, of the Baltimore Orioles, just set the Major League Baseball record for most at bats without a hit; 49. That’s a long slump! Let’s not pile on Mr. Davis, as the closest most of us have gotten to a MLB batter’s box was a guided tour of the stadium or our seats down the first baseline.

Can you imagine what 49 at bats without a hit would do to your confidence, self-esteem, and your sleep?

Maybe you haven’t had a hitless streak but you’ve probably found yourself in a slump in other ways: days without exercise, weeks without a solid night’s rest, or years since you felt peace and happiness.

Slumps can feel impossible to climb out of, but they do make for great comeback stories when we give them to God.

If you find yourself in a slump in your faith, now is the time to break out. How? Well, you can’t just try harder. The harder we try, the more frustrated we get when we fail. And most of us would have broken our “faith” slump long ago if it was as easy as trying.

Instead, we should start turning our lives over to God; one choice at a time, and one day at a time. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Today is where we live into our call to be followers of Jesus. Don’t try harder. Trust God more.

Soon enough we will find ourselves stringing some faithful choices together and the love of God will lift us up and out of the slump. God’s love never fails us. We simply try to provide for ourselves instead of trusting God more.

When I started this journey of being a pastor I made a promise to myself. I would listen to the advice that I heard repeated by people who had lived faithful lives. I’ve heard a lot and learned a lot. I’m trying to keep my promise to myself. Here are some of the repeated advice from people who have impacted my life.

“Don’t chose work over being present with your children. You’ll wish you hadn’t missed those years.”

“Don’t forget to keep your marriage strong when your children are taking all your energy and attention. Eventually, the kids leave and you don’t want to be rooming with a stranger.”

“Linger at the dinner table and share conversation.”

My opening sentence about slumps is another word of advice. We don’t need to purposefully allow ourselves to fall into slumps just because we trust God will lift us out. The sneaky slumps will always try to pull us in, but “the best way to get out of a slump is to never get in one in the first place.”

Summer weather is arriving and that means our summer schedules are beginning. Friends, don’t fall into a spiritual slump! God will lift you out this fall when the lakes get colder and the boats are put away, but you don’t have to slump this summer.

Keep reading scripture. Keep coming to worship. It isn’t a matter of trying harder to be faithful. It’s about allowing room to continue to grow in faith.

So, if you foresee a summer slump, talk to your pastor. Ask for a mid-week worship service. Figure out what daily scripture to read and how to stay connected.

If I could talk to Chris Davis today, this would be my advice. (And don’t be confused, he’s not asking this .325 high school hitter many questions.) The harder you try, the worse the slump gets. Trust God and if 0-49 turns into 0-50, you aren’t loved any less. And after the slump ends, and it will, the best way to get out of the next one is to never start a slump in the first place.

Church, we don’t have summer slumps. We keep growing! To God be the glory.

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