Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part II

When I first realized that my battle with boredom was really a struggle with a flat faith (Part I), my game plan changed. Instead of thinking I needed to simply change my routine, I realized I needed to address some heart issues. Those issues revolve around connection and comparisons (Part III).

Flat Faith and Connection4-4-13 Flat Faith

In “Flat Faith,” Kathy Howard says that “what we fail to realize is that our reluctance to seek help will keep us right where we are.”

Kathy also points out that “our culture does not hold up dependence, submission, and subordination as ideals to attain. In fact, the opposite attitudes reign supreme. Independence, self-gratification, and me first are king!”

For several years now, I have touted myself as being a “loner.” What I’ve come to realize is that my pride in being a loner was really a mask for avoiding dependence. I wanted to appear independent and in control of my life. In other words, the ideals of our culture had gotten into my spirit and negatively affected my attitude. And one thing our culture does well is breed discontentment.

My approach to living revolved around independence, and that clearly does not reflect God’s heart.

“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Corinthians 12:18-21)

A focus on self-sufficiency and independence definitely do not promote the inter-dependency that the Bible clearly teaches. Discontentment grew for me because my thoughts were fixed on appearing in control and being independent rather than on existing and connecting as a part of the body of Christ.

Like Kathy, I identified with Nicodemus who was “trying to do all the right things” but still felt “disconnected from God.” Unfortunately, this keeping up of appearances really plays into Satan’s hands, since he “loves to trip us up with pride.”

Since, as Kathy says, “God designed the body of Christ to encourage and build one another up,” I realized that I needed to depend on Him to create the relationships and interactions He knew I needed. That’s not happening when I keep to myself 80% of the time.

The reality, as Kathy puts it, is that “your full and complete spiritual growth and maturity depends on other members of the body obeying God. And their growth and maturity depends on yours.”

No wonder I was discontent. I was missing out on much of what God intended to play a part in my spiritual growth, interaction with other believers. And that interaction needed to go beyond weekly church services.

4-4-13 ConnectedThe Role of Accountability

For almost a year now, I have been meeting regularly with an accountability partner. In addition to meeting face-to-face, we also continue our discussions between meetings via email and text. This relationship provides an avenue for practicing transparency and for connecting over how God works in our lives. God used this relationship to bring me to a place that allows me to be transparent in my struggles with flat faith.

This accountability relationship helped me learn the value of connection, and I now more fully understand that limiting my connection with others to an extreme is partially to blame for the boredom I am experiencing.

As Kathy puts it, I need to truly embrace the “symbiotic relationship with other believers to become all God wants [me] to be and to receive everything God wants to give [me].” While I knew the importance of connection, I failed to fully embrace it. The result? Loneliness and a flat faith.

Thank you for continuing on this journey. The next leg, Part III, focuses on the role that comparisons have played in causing my flat faith. Part IV focuses more on the role of boredom, and Part V details my Boredom Battle Plan.

DISCUSSION: What role does connection play in your faith?

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all direct quotes are taken from “Flat Faith” by Kathy Howard. Also, be sure to heck out Kathy’s guest posts Flat Spots Here and There – Part I and Flat Spots Here and There – Part II.

 Subscribe to Struggle to Victory by Email or Subscribe in a reader

23 thoughts on “Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part II

  1. Kari: I can certainly identify with this. I have always had (much to my horror now) a built in arrogance that I always tried to pass off as self-assurance. When I was in my mid 30s or so, someone told me I was an "egotistical something or other" and I sloughed it off. One year later it hit home. He was right, even though he said it with a mean spirit. I needed that accountability. I had fostered this "I am me and I can do it" aura that was damaging to all my relationships. Especially God. I put on airs of having a vital relationship with God but it was just hot air. I pray continually for the right kind of heart now.

    • Thank you for your transparency. Accountability can sure come in many shapes and sizes. Becoming a parent was a huge one for me with regard to my character. Takes diligence to change, and a solid prayer life is vital. God has done a great work in you first in that you realized what needed changed and second in changing your heart. So thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit!

  2. Kari, thanks for sharing about your experience with an accountability partner. I've learned it takes a lot more wisdom and strength of character to submit ourselves to others in this way than it does to do it on our own!

  3. That is the one thing I am struggling with in this new life on the road. I miss having time to sit and visit with others, but God is providing NEW outlets through other Christian sisters who blog. They have become “friends” and people I pray for and who I know is some cases pray for me. I am thankful I can share your journey Kari. You spoke of our reluctance to seek help. As I read that I thought about why? And I knew the answer for me is because of judgemental people in my past, and my desire to be seen as having it together, being a good christian. So often we do not ask for help because people do not understand, but in the bloggers God has lead me to, their honesty about their struggles has allowed me to look more closely at my own life and not feel shame and guilt, but God’s love. Renee Swoop wrote, “Because God’s love is perfect I don’t have to be.” What freeing words those are. Thanks, sorry to be so long.

    • No need to apologize for the length. Good words. Because I am at home a lot by myself, my online friends are crucial for me. They offer accountability in a different way, and they challenge me to be transparent and to share my life. God is certainly doing a work through the blogging community. I am reluctant to seek help because people don't seem to want to help. That's the way it's been for me in the past. I haven't found the encouragement that I needed, so I quit looking outside of myself for it. There's more to it than that, but that's a big part. Tough stuff we are working through, but I think important to work through it. Deal with it or let it control you.

  4. In order to enter into the relationships that you and Kathy talk about takes courage for those relationships to be worthwhile you have to make yourself vulnerable. The more vulnerable and real you are with that person the deeper the relationship can be and consequently the deeper you could be hurt by it. It takes risk to be in this position but the reality is I think God wants us to place ourselves there. He does not promise we will not be hurt but that he will be with us.

    • You are so right, Mark. True accountability relationships like this take courage and depth and risk. But isn't that what Jesus did? He was betrayed, yet it didn't stop him from seeking relationships. He's the model for me to follow. We will be hurt, but He will be with us. So true.

  5. I thought I posted earlier, but it does not seem to be here. Thanks for sharing. This has fit so well with the Bible study I am doing with Renee Swope about becoming confindent in who I am in Christ and not letting doubt and fear keep me from moving forward. I love Kathy's words on humility. That seems to be another area God is speaking to me about, and I have found that the more I try to listen to God the more I find Him speaking in many ways. One of the things of being on the road is the lack of accessability to friends. I am so thankful for the sisters in Christ who blog and share their lives and allow me to share mine and grow with them. Blessings to all of them.

    • Just was able to moderate comments, so your comment should be there now. Confidence is Christ is something I am learning too, yet I am realizing that it’s a gift and not something I need to figure out how to develop and have. He offers it freely, and I need to accept. Humbleness is definitely a part and so hard to learn. It’s something we have to keep working at. At least I have to recommit to it over and over again, sometimes multiple times a day. The internet can sure be a wonderful ministry and connection tool for sure. I really depend on it in so many ways to help me stay connected.

  6. Good post. I always try to put that face on too – the "I have everything under control" face. Why is it so hard for us to show weakness? Too often, I think it is because we fear rejection if we lean on someone else – and we get our feelings hurt. That has happened to me, but I need to learn to trust in God that things will be ok. That has always been the hardest for me to give control of. I also know that I need to be more connected to fellow believers. It is hard when you have those at home that do not believe. I have tried to explain that to others that have a partner who is Christian and I am not sure that they understand. My desire to be at Church is not understood. My desire to be around other people who believe as I do is not understood either. So – it is a challenge. I think that has a lot to do with my struggles – sometimes it is easier to give in than to argue. So – I guess my struggle with flat faith is more a struggle to FIND faith and time to share it with others and if I did spend more time with believers, my faith would grow. Hmmm…more to think about. 🙂

    • The reasons it is so hard for us to show weakness are many and varied, and no two people have the same combination of reasons. For me, I am constantly disappointed in the responses (or lack of) when I do show weakness. I feel so alone in it so much of the time. So, I guess that is rejection. But you’re right in that trusting God is the answer. We need to risk the rejection anyway. After all, that’s what Jesus did. (If you read the discussion with Mark in this comment stream, you’ll get more depth on this idea.) Having a family who does not believe and support your faith has to be tough. And you’re right in saying that some of us cannot understand or related to that. Even if I can’t, I can still pray for you and listen to you and encourage you. Also, I know of several women in our church who are in your same situation, and I KNOW they would jump at the chance to support and encourage you from a perspective that really connects with yours. We just need to have coffee sometime and chat. Or, you know how to get to me via email too. I’m here for you and will support and encourage you however I can.

  7. Connecting with other people of faith is huge when it comes to our spiritual growth. Both myself and wife are home body’s and have to force our selves to spend time with other people of faith. One way we are doing this is by attending a small group every week. Great thoughts!

  8. Connection is hugely important to my faith. I really like the idea of an accountability partner. I think my husband is that for me. Everyone else nicely tries to make excuses for me. 🙂 I so appreciate your vulnerability in this series, Kari.

    • My husband is my top accountability partner too, second only to the Holy Spirit. Finding one outside of those two relationships is a definite gift. Thanks for the note about vulnerability too. It’s a risk putting yourself out there, but I have to be obedient. Such a gift when I receive confirmation that it was the right choice.

  9. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part I | Struggle to Victory

  10. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part III | Struggle to Victory

  11. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part V | Struggle to Victory

  12. This has been a prayer for me lately for my wife. She so desperately wants a really good friend. Part of the problem is me – maybe it's just my maleness. I don't know. But I kinda don't really care. I'm OK with being a loner in a lot of ways. I wouldn't say I'm an island, but I don't value community as much as I should.

    • I really get your wife's desperation in this area. For me, this was a longing since my childhood, and it was a space – a hole really – left for a long time. At the same time, I get the loner approach too, since I tend to veer that way for a variety of reasons. One reason is that I've been disappointed so many times by community that I've trained myself to not need it, or at least think I don't. But, the more I study scripture, the more I realize how important community is to God. For that reason, I am making myself increasingly move in that direction. All that being said, I'm sure you are supporting your wife in her efforts to find that connection. You certainly can't make it happen for her, but your prayers and encouragement in this area will go a long way in helping her in this area.

  13. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with Flat Faith – Series Summary | Struggle to Victory

  14. Pingback: Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith – Part IV | Struggle to Victory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *