Curing Spiritual Vertigo

VERTIGOSpiritual Vertigo feels like a rut, like being stuck in the muck and mire of a pit. Feelings dictate actions, and truth becomes muffled. When you have spiritual vertigo, you feel like you’ve hit a wall and don’t know which way is up.

Curing Spiritual Vertigo

Regardless of the reasons for Spiritual Vertigo, the cures that truly work remain the same. Consider these tried and true approaches for restoring balance when Spiritual Vertigo hits and even for preventing its onset in the first place.

  1. Go back to the basics. Are you praying daily? What about scripture reading? My pastor says that in 30 years of ministry, the one commonality among those who succumb to spiritual decline is neglecting these basics.
  2. Repent where necessary. Losing focus on God always means I placed other people, events or feelings (other gods) above Him. When this happens, ask God to make you aware of areas requiring repentance, and then ask Him to forgive you and help you move forward with renewed focused & refreshed energy.
  3. 220px-Circle_change_1Be still & be quiet. Often, the busyness of life leaves us feeling like our heads are spinning. We barely have time to breathe let alone stop and assess our spiritual health. While taking time for quietness and stillness may seem counterintuitive when your “to do” list rivals Santa’s naughty & nice list, doing so almost always clears the fog and helps reset priorities. (For the many who struggle with being still and quiet, check out this series on The Discipline of Silence.)
  4. Connect. Being a shy introvert, the last activity I feel like participating in when any area of my life is unbalanced, especially my spiritual life, is connecting with others. I realize extroverts are slightly different in this way, but I do see a protective barrier socially even with my outgoing friends when they suffer from Spiritual Vertigo. I’m always amazed how much more stable I feel after genuine connection. For this reason, I know it’s important to push past pushing others away and to obey the scriptural mandate to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) which requires that we actually share them.
  5. Consider a change-up. My son has pointed out a “change-up” pitch in baseball several times to me because I struggle understanding what it is. Fortunately, I do understand the importance of a mental change-up when spiritual vertigo hits. For that reason, I regularly employ regular change-up habits to attempt to prevent ruts in my spiritual life. Those include reading a new author, changing my prayer location, trying a new activity and exploring a new hobby. Learning about another’s interests or unique skill and simply finding some way to take in new information or old information in a new way can provide the needed change-up to cure Spiritual Vertigo. My brain seems to get revived when I do something that creates new pathways or clears ones filled in by neglect. (I think there’s even research that supports this!)

Refuse to Give Up

Everyone experiences some degree of spiritual vertigo at some point in their lives. Regardless of what works to restore balance for you – and it may differ each time – one approach that works for everyone is not giving up.

Keep trying approaches until something works. Eventually, you’ll find what you need to hit your reset button. When you do, not only will the spinning life disappear, but you’ll likely discover renewed spiritual health like none you’ve ever known before. Just like our immune systems becomes stronger by successfully fighting illnesses, so too do our spirits when we push through spiritual vertigo. Just read the Biblical story of David for proof of this.

DISCUSSION: What cures have you found for spiritual vertigo?

Note: This post and the post Spiritual Vertigo were inspired by the post Kilter by Bill Grandi at The Cycleguy’s Spin.

23 thoughts on “Curing Spiritual Vertigo

    • We do tend to bring these things on ourselves much of the time. Dan, I feel led to just say that I know we can be unsure of changes we need to make sometimes and that we often want some input but don't know who to ask. Please know I am available if you need objective input. If I'm off on this leading and this doesn't apply, please feel free to disregard. No pressure. No worries. No hurt feelings.

  1. Crying is a pretty good cure, too. When I've really grieved over a situation that has me off kilter, I usually feel better. Great advice! Thanks so much, Kari.

    • Good one, Melanie! I'm glad you brought this up. I'm not much of a crier, so it didn't rise to the top for me. In fact, we "joke" at my church about who to go to if you want someone to cry with you and the fact that it isn't me. I'm sure you can analyze a bit of why that is. It's not that I don't think it's a good idea, it just doesn't happen easily for me.

  2. I think it helps me when I read about someone who has overcome something difficult and still remained strong in their faith. It is an encouragement.

  3. Great insight. As I posted on Facebook using your article – this advice is needed for all whose daily walk is more of a stumble rather than a comfortable stroll through their life. Thanks, Kari.

  4. I've never thought about the concept of "spiritual vertigo" although I have experienced what you're describing. I think for me your first point (Go back to the basics) is how I've over come in this area. Essentially by sticking to the basics over the long term. Being consistent and continuing on even when it's not easy.

    • I am amazed at how just firming up the basics gets me back on track in so many areas of my life from exercise to eating to my spiritual life. To me, it's about having a strong core that strength comes from, and that's what the basics give. Consistency certainly is key. And if there's one thing I've learned is that this who journey, while really very simple, certainly is not easy.

  5. #2 is the biggie for me. If I'm not feeling close to God, it's almost always because I'm letting something else get to be too important. So if I don't feel close, I go looking for idols or unconfessed sin.

  6. My dad has suffered with vertigo several times, and your analogy is spot on. Thanks Kari. I really relate to "Connect." You're absolutely right that even those who are extroverts by nature can pull into themselves when life is off. In fact, that's the first way I can tell when I need some spiritual spinning.

  7. Two things really help me when I experience this. One is to go for a long walk, either by myself or with my wife. It gives me time to think out my circumstances and bring my mind back to where it should be. The other is to clean the house or do to dishes, anything physical really, it seems to also help me clear my mind.

  8. You nailed it when you talked about getting back to the basics. For me, I've noticed that that is always what is suffering most. Just simply doing my best to earnestly engage in the spiritual disciplines does much to cure my vertigo.

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