I have the honor today of sharing a post, “Losing Our Spiritual Footing”, by my author friend, Georgia Shaffer*. Georgia and I met when Georgia was gracious enough to provide an endorsement of my book, Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend.
Georgia and I also shared a rough last three years as we each battled a serious illness. As few days ago I received Georgia’s newsletter in my inbox, and I asked her if I could share it with you. She graciously said, “Yes”.
Celebrating Three Years!
Three years ago, this October, I had surgery to remove what I thought was one small tumor inside my left lung. Turns out, after surgery, I discovered things were much more serious and I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Although I continue to receive maintenance chemotherapy every four weeks, I’m happy to report God and the prayers of many friends have blessed me with the ability to continue coaching, speaking and writing.
Initially, however, I was thrown off by my new diagnosis. Recently, I looked back at an entry from my journal at the end of that first year:
I lost my spiritual footing but did not realize it
In an emotional fog and totally confused after the diagnosis of stage IV cancer, I felt disconnected from God. Although I was sure the answer was to spend more quiet time with God, pray harder and read the Bible more, I could not seem to do these in any deep meaningful way. For eight months I did nothing. I felt like God had put me on the shelf. I no longer cared about life. I lost my purpose and focus.
Then I read Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. In it he writes about the “psalms of disorientation.” He explains these are “psalms where the soul is disoriented, God is absent; darkness is winning.”
The word “disoriented” jumped off the page
Something shifted inside of me. That’s it, I thought. That’s the word to express what I’ve been facing for the last eight months. Something had been rumbling inside of me, but now, finally, I had a word to describe what I had been experiencing.
What I discovered is sometimes when we lose our footing, pausing, waiting and seeming to do nothing can be the most helpful thing we can do. As John Ortberg writes, “We do nothing. We wait. We remember we are not God. We hold on. We ask for help. We do less-we let go of our need to hurry through it.”
Finally, at the edges of my awareness, the darkness finally broke
Jesus, the bright Morning Star, appeared once again. In that radiant light, I realized I had changed. Despite my lack of trying to fix my situation, and the effort it took not to totally give up, I understood that I had grown deeper emotionally and spiritually.
Losing our spiritual footing can be an unsettling time, even for Christians
If you find yourself in that place of disorientation, wait on God. Don’t rush. I learned he can bring you through it as you look to him. Today, I am thankful for the three years God has given me. I strive to live well each day and continue to pray for many more years of health. Please join me in that prayer.
Thanks so much Georgia for sharing your heart in such a real and vulnerable way. Your honesty about losing your spiritual footing during such a difficult time is so validating to all of us. Knowing God s present and will bring us through hard times gives us hope.
*Georgia is an author, credentialed Christian life coach, PA licensed psychologist and professional speaker. Her books include Taking Out Your Emotional Trash and Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make.
I would love to get your input
How did Georgia’s sharing impact you? What stood out to you?
Do you relate to losing your spiritual footing when “disoriented”? What brings you hope?
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