Losing Our Spiritual Footing

Hope when we losing our spiritual footing in the face of extreme difficulties. www.kimfredrickson.com

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

Hope when we losing our spiritual footing in the face of extreme difficulties. www.kimfredrickson.com

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.

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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?

Please leave your comments below and share on social media or via e-mail with others who might benefit.

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10 thoughts on “Losing Our Spiritual Footing

  1. Wow. So good. As always Jesus speaks at the right time. Not even knowing you are struggling. No word’s for circumstances and then he sends them. Ongoing chronic stress is disorienting. Why ongoing yet learning skills to be free from long standing thinking that keeps you in unhealthy patterns hard work but amazing freedom from what others think. Thank u for your encouragement

    1. Bev, so glad Georgia’s post came along just when you needed it. So true that ongoing chronic stress is disorienting. So glad your hard work is resulting in growth and freedom!

  2. Hello,
    This blog TRULEY BLESSED Me !! I am sooooooo Encouraged by your heroism and determination. Many times we ALL going through in the area of “Trusting God” but either afraid or ashamed to admit it. BY reading this blog today I can truthfully and openly say there has been I lost my trust in God BUT I’m GLAD that in the midst of me losing trust, He(God) did NOT give up on me…#BecauseHeLivesILive

    1. Yvette…so glad you were blessed by Georgia’s story and all she learned and generously shared with us. Yes, you are so right that are so blessed that God never gives up on us!

  3. I too, am blessed, by these thoughts. Its so easy for me to lose my footing around long standing unanswered prayers for adult children or when things are not going the way I prefer or expected. Transparency is so powerful and I appreciate yours. I am encouraged!! Thank you.☺

  4. “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?”

    “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.”

    . . . .To say I relate would be a total understatement. . . The journey of the dark night of the soul is horrific but it is where we learn who we are, without people telling us. No one can know in advance how and where the night will come, and what form God’s darkness will take, mine came from intense research into Christian origins. That’s a story that took me through the gnashing rocks of Christian Orthodoxy all the way to the very furthest shores of my imagination. . . . But that is what happens when you do your level best to be brave and completely, totally honest (—with no question begging, no special pleading, no magical thinking, etc.) . . .The truth will set you free but first it will shatter your heart to pieces.

    There are definitely times when we must suffer God’s absence, when we are called to enter the dark night of the soul in order to pass into some new understanding of God, some deeper communion with Him. . . . But really God is never absent. He is everywhere in the world but at those times we are far too dispirited to love. I know I was far too dispirited to feel Him — to find Him. —But all it takes is letting grace wake love from our intense, self-enclosed sleep. . . . I always wanted to hold happiness in reserve, like a bottle of champagne. I postponed it because I was afraid, because I overvalued it, and then I didn’t want to use it up, because what do you wish for then? . . . . . I wonder about the explorers who sailed their ships to the very ends of the world. How terrified they must have been when they risked falling over the edge; how amazed to discover, instead, places they had seen only in their dreams. And it is only when we are truly alone without someone else to lean on but Christ; left with our own inner solitude that we can undergo a real process of change. That’s the introspection that is needed to bring out the light that has dwindled down to ash and allow it to reignite the fire of our being. . . .but I know myself it is enough to almost finish one.

    “No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.” ―Carl Jung

    1. Aleea…thanks again for your wonderful thoughts. I love the way you acknowledge that there are times when we do not feel God’s presence, yet He is there fully loving us seeking us and waiting with us. As you shared, you certainly have wrestled with what Georgia talked about, yet have grown as a person and in your relationship with God. Praise Him!

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