Funk

What a great word.  It covers all manner of bad attitude, laziness, apathy, fatigue, anger and hormones.

If my daughter is having a bad morning, I say she was in a funk.  If I am feeling a bit depressed, I’m in a funk.

Keep saying it over and over again and it becomes hilarious and meaningless.  Funk. Funk. Funk.  Funk.   Sounds exactly like it should, maybe because it sounds like ‘stuck’ or ‘muck’ or ‘junk’.  Or that other word…

I was in a funk the other day on the way to church.  I am uptight when we are running late.  I am uptight when we are even approaching running late. So this Saturday Jon and I aren’t really talking and there is some tension, he knows I am in one of my moods (a.k.a funk) and I am manically  pressing every button on the radio to find a song that I like (purposely avoiding NPR even though I know that’s what Jon wants to listen to, because it’s possible I am not a very good spouse when I am in a funk) and finally land on Beyoncé’s Put a Ring on It.

A few seconds into her…

All the single ladies, All the single ladies

as if on cue, Jon and I started dancing simultaneously (as much as our seat belts would allow).  We are so cool.  I know we don’t always look it, what with the bible commentaries and diaper bags and NPR listening, but we totally are.  I dare you, where ever you may be right now, to put on that song and try not to dance.  I declare it CANNOT be done.

Soon we were singing together, with all this amazing hip hop wannabe attitude, our poor children suffering in the backseat…

If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.
Wha-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

That Saturday all it took was a little Beyoncé to get me out of my funk.  Sometimes it’s not that easy.

I have felt in a writing funk lately which is making me ask all kinds of hard and interesting questions about purpose and creativity and The Holy Spirit and vulnerability.  I actually swore off writing completely the other day but then Relevant Magazine asked me to write something about GMOs.  I don’t care about GMOs actually.  I mean I know I should care about them and am thankful other people do, but I just don’t.  So I wrote my perspective on these BIG ISSUES and the editor replied that it wasn’t at all what he was looking for but liked it anyway so published it.  He sort of hacked up my rambling first draft but I”m not complaining.  You can read it here.

So then I thought I wouldn’t actually swear off writing since somebody liked something I wrote.

Does that make me a narcissist? 

Again, more questions of purpose and creativity and the Holy Spirit and vulnerability.

I get in funks with prayer and Jesus.  I get in funks with housework and lesson plans.  I get in funks with my husband and my health and my emotions.  I get in funks with writing and cooking.

I have a list of things I would tell to someone else if they were feeling like this, so I am going to play staff worker with myself.  This may or may not be healthy.

Hey Kirsten,

You don’t need to feel a certain way, quit trying.  Emotions can be deceiving.  You don’t need to understand everything either.  Just figure out what the next step is, even if it is a baby step.

Often times you are certain that the big picture laid out in expansive detail is EXACTLY what you need to move forward, to feel normal again.  But answers don’t usually come that way.  Jesus won’t always tell you precisely how things will unfold, but he will lead you in a next step – which is much more manageable for our puny human brains anyways.

Jesus my entire house is a disaster area, I don’t know where to begin. What is my next step?  (I pretend not to hear if the answer is laundry or bathrooms…)

Jesus I am not feeling connected to you.  What is my next step?

Jesus I am so irritable with my husband and kids.  What is my next step?

Jesus I am not sure why I am writing or if I should bother to continue.  What is my next step?

Secondly, remember HOW you connect with God.  God is life.  God is light.  Beyoncé is fun but God is better.

There’s this book called Sacred Pathways, which outlines different ways in which we connect to God.  I haven’t actually read it or remember all the different “ways”  but knowing how you connect with God the best, how you notice his presence, how you worship is helpful.  You are unique.

When’s the last time I went for a hike?

Lastly, quit keeping things to yourself and tell a friend.  I know, I know, you’re an introvert and an internal processor and don’t like to ‘burden’ other people with your funk.  But when you share with another human being, one who loves you, whether it’s a deep dark secret or those pesky hormones taking over, you feel less alone and your problems seem smaller.  That’s worth something.

When’s the last time I sat down and asked somebody to pray for me and with me?

I am thankful that I don’t suffer from depression, just the occasional funk where I am stuck in some muck and junk (sorry, a lot of Dr. Seuss being read around here…) and can’t write another word or put my best foot forward.

But in turning my face to God, his light and his faithful care overwhelm, so that joy and delight can be the true markers of my life, even when the funk threatens keep me down.

Psalm 43

Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.

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