how to bust a spiritual plateau

I used to have patches in my faith life where everything felt dry and stale. I felt lost in the Bible. I wasn’t inspired or moved by any of the text. In those times, I’d question if God was really there. I’ll be honest: my response to the dry patches of my faith wasn’t to dig in deeper. Quite the opposite. I’d find myself moving away from God and Bible. A few days here. A week there. I’d reach the end of myself after a long few weeks, look over my routine, and realize there was one thing missing (every dang time): time spent in the Word.

I was in one of those patches a month ago. I explained all my worries while sitting on a couch I’ve come to love over the years with a trusted friend. Her answer to me was simple, “You just need a spiritual facelift.”

A spiritual facelift. Amen. A different approach. Amen. Another level deeper. Yes and Amen.

And friends, it was exactly what I needed. I’m 12 days into a new direction and I’m on fire in new ways. My desert time wasn’t a white flag, it was an invitation to try a new route.

You might need a spiritual facelift.

If you’re in that dry place right now— don’t lose heart. 

Don’t give up. Don’t walk away from the red text. To me, it’s like a workout routine. At some point, your body becomes familiar with the routine and you have to switch it up so you don’t plateau. The same is true when it comes to spiritually. I bust through plateaus by changing direction, asking for fresh vision, and choosing to see the staleness as an invitation from God to know him on a new level.

Take the dry spot has a sign to go deeper. I’ve compiled a few ways you can freshen up your time in the word when it is feeling robotic. Dig in and enjoy the process.

Try a new devotion.

My friend Carol starts her morning study off the same way everyday. She pours out her heart to God and then she begins with reading two devotions for the day: Streams in the Desert and another daily devotion by Charles Spurgeon.

These devotions are not the meat of her study time but she is constantly amazed by how God uses them to open her eyes to what she needs to pay attention to in the text that day. She considers these devotions to be her “warmup.”

I’ve recently tried this and I can say it definitely helps me to ease into my reading with a daily reading from Oswald Chambers. The reading softens my heart and gets ready for the next step in my study. Plus, it helps me figure out how to pray for people in my life and what areas I might need to focus on without even realizing it.

Start a new book of the Bible.

On the day where you feel aimless or like you’re flipping all over the text, root yourself. Text a trusted friend who knows the Bible well and ask them to challenge you to camp out in a specific book of the Bible. Or use Google as a helping tool to figure out what book of the Bible would fit the specific life things you’re facing right now.

Last summer, I spent months in Galatians. I honestly thought I might never trudge out of Galatians. But I learned so much. It was refreshing to wait on God and watch him consistently show up in new ways through that text. Bonus points? I now know Galatians better than any other book I’ve dug into and I feel closer to God because of it.

Build a new rhythm.

This is exactly what I did when my mentor told me I needed a spiritual facelift. I changed things. For the last month, I’d been showing up to God somewhat greedily. I was using the Bible to teach me what I wanted to learn. I was getting what I wanted and then walking away. So I changed things up. I built a new rhythm.

My routine changed from:

Open bible and plant somewhere relevant until God speaks.

To:

1. Start with prayer: Spend a few minutes pouring your heart out to God. Write down the worries you are facing and the problems you are encountering. There is something freeing about a) letting God into what you’re facing and b) getting it off your chest.

2. Read a devotion as a warmup: I read My Utmost for His Highest as my stretching text. It’s crazy how God almost always speaks to me through these daily devotions and starts to point me towards what we will be focusing on today through my reading.

3. Continue with Bible Plan: I recommend having a plan. The YouVersion app has a million beautiful plans to start. Or maybe try a Chronological plan. I am currently in a Bible Study Fellowship group and so we have a daily reading plan that I hold myself accountable to 6 days a week.

4. Keep 3 pens: I keep one black pen for all my words and writing. I write in a green pen when it is commentary or the words of a spiritual giant. I write in red when it’s God’s Word or words I feel God is speaking to me.

5. Pray prayers: I keep a list of prayers I am currently praying but I also use the time to pray specifically over the things I’ve learned this day and ask God to reveal someone who might need to know these words. I take it a step further when I close my study by reaching out to them and encouraging them for the day.

Your spiritual plateau is not a sign to give up. You might just need a facelift.

Bust the plateau one minute at a time and I bet you’ll meet God deeper and richer than you knew possible. I’m praying for you as you dive headfirst into something new.

Hannah Brencher

Hannah is author of the book Come Matter Here and founder of More Love Letters. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Lane.   

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