Winter wind sweeps white over grey, and the fields once so luxuriant with farmers’ crops are beige with sleep. It seems the whole world has grown spiritually stagnant in its own quiet way.
I remember the sun-splashed fields of goldenrod as I read beside the window.
Some deep part of me feels stagnant as well.
I want to be vibrant and faith-filled, but we’ve shifted into a season of simply trying to put one foot in front of the other with each passing day.
How to Shake up Your Spiritually Stagnant Places
I pull out Dr. Robert Mullholland’s book Invitation to a Journey as I sit by the window. He makes a point that strikes a chord with my weary soul:
Some of us feel spiritually stagnant because we have put too much emphasis on spiritual disciplines that are comfortable for us.
Introverts feel most comfortable engaging in quiet, contemplative disciplines. Likewise, extroverts lean toward disciplines that fuel the longing to engage with others. Dr. Mullholland contends that we often become spiritually stagnant when we refuse to push out of our comfortable disciplines for the sake of growth.
Introverted disciplines include silence, solitude, meditation, and quiet contemplation. Religious circles often applaud these disciplines, and they are important. However, without balance, we will stunt our spiritual growth by focusing only on inward disciplines.
The introvert needs to push herself into more fellowship-based disciplines to find balance. Corporate worship, prayer groups, and group Bible studies encourage community.
Similarly, the extrovert needs to pursue disciplines that are more comfortable for an inner-focused person: solitude, silence, Scripture meditation, and introspection.
If you feel spiritually stagnant, pause to ask this question:
Are you pursuing only the spiritual disciplines that match your preferences?
Let’s take a look at six spiritual disciplines today. We’ll examine three that are attuned to those with introverted personality types and three that are more suited for extroverted personality types.
Consider pursuing one or more discipline that does not align with your preference. See if challenging yourself in this way stirs your soul:
Spiritual Disciplines Preferred by Introverted Personality Types:
1. Silence and Solitude
Practicing silence and solitude involves removing yourself from everyday distractions to spend time alone with God. This practice involves resting in the Lord’s presence, allowing your soul space to breathe and ask difficult questions, and basking in God’s love and goodness.
2. Biblical Meditation
Biblical meditation involves filling your mind with Scripture and pondering God. This can involve entering into the text as an onlooker or a part of a Bible story, reading and applying a passage to your personal life, journaling, and more.
Those who pursue simplicity aim to live in a way that is free from attachment to excessive material possessions. This might be a long-term commitment to practice simplicity, or it might be specific to exclusive areas of life for a set amount of time.
Practice simplicity by cleaning your closet, decluttering your home, cooking and eating in a simpler way, or setting boundaries on your spending for a given amount of time. Narrow your wardrobe to just several clothing items for a week. The goal is to reduce the desire for excess in your life as you create more space to encounter the Living God.
Spiritual Disciplines Preferred by Extroverted Personality Types:
1. Corporate Worship
Corporate worship involves gathering together to respond to God in the presence of others, usually through music. This includes Sunday morning church service and other times throughout the week when the body of believers meets together to approach God’s throne in praise and worship.
We are living in unique times. Many public gathering places are closed for corporate worship. You can still engage in corporate worship by participating in an online service. Many churches offer corporate worship services every Sunday morning.
Service simply refers to serving God in loving and compassionate ways without the need for recognition. This might be a community-based service or service within the church. The key to service is reaching out to meet a need near you. You might deliver a meal to a neighbor, hold a door for a stranger, or shovel snow for an elderly friend.
Fellowship is the practice of regularly gathering with other Christians. Extroverts are fueled by fellowship. Bible studies, shared meals, and recreational activities of all sorts are important for us all. Introverts need these activities too.
How to Get Stirred up when You’re Spiritually Stagnant
I’m an introvert. I often feel like I’ve been run over by a train after a few hours of socialization. However, when I neglect the extroverted disciplines, I begin to feel spiritually restless. It is as if something is missing, and I can’t put my finger on it.
If you feel spiritually stagnant or restless, pause to consider whether you are pursuing disciplines that suit both preferences, or if you are neglecting the side you do not typically prefer.
For a more complete list of disciplines, as well as explanations, check out this list of 27 spiritual disciplines at A Reading Christian here.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Stacey Pardoe