Flat Spots Here and There – Part 1

This is part 1 of a 2-part series by Kathy Howard, author of “Fed Up with Flat Faith.” Kathy’s book inspired the series “Battling Boredom: My Struggle with a Flat Faith.”

4-23-13 Kathy Howard

Kathy helps women live an unshakable faith for life by encouraging them to stand firm on our rock-solid God no matter the circumstances of life. The author of five books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and a certificate in women’s ministry. She has been teaching the Bible for over 25 years and speaks regularly at women’s retreats and events.

Kathy and her husband live in the Houston area and have three children, a son-in-law, and one precious grandbaby. When the family gets together there are also four dogs in the mix.  Find out about her books and speaking ministry and get discipleship tools and leader helps at her website: www.kathyhoward.org.

Flat Spots Here and There – Part 1

I had several “fears” surrounding the release of my new book “Fed Up with Flat Faith.” The first was that no one would buy it. The second was that people would buy it and not like it. Of course, then the Holy Spirit reminded me that my purpose in writing is to obey and please God. The results are up to Him; God can do whatever He wants with it.

But I have another concern I think is legitimate and I want to talk with you about it over the two guest posts Kari has so graciously given me. I don’t want anyone to think my faith is 100% pumped, 100% of the time. That would certainly be discouraging for those who experience the normal ups and downs of the Christian life.

I have to constantly check my attitudes and discipline my behavior to stay in the middle of God’s exciting activity. And even then I occasionally hit lows. The difference between my “now” and my “before” is that now, “flat” is the exception. Before, “flat” was the norm. It was all I had even known.  (Read the first chapter of “Fed Up with Flat Faith” to hear more of my story.)

4-2-13 Flat Faith

One temporary period of flat faith hit me about fifteen years ago. It began when a friend received a cancer diagnosis. My initial reaction was natural and normal. Sadness for her and fear for what might lie ahead. Then came the anger – anger at God because He allowed this trial in her life.

Then I just simply started to shut God out. I spent less and less time fostering my relationship with Him. Soon, I got to a point where I didn’t pray or read my Bible at all.

It lasted six months. I woke up one morning with the Holy Spirit pressing in hard. I missed God. He was waiting. I got on my knees in repentance and turned back to the Savior.

In retrospect, I have a clearer picture of what went wrong. When I got the bad news I should have taken my hurt, questions, and anger to God. Instead, I shut Him out. My view of Him was too small. I didn’t trust Him to handle things. I had a limited, earthly perspective instead of an eternal one.

This period of flat faith was truly of my own making. I lost sight of God’s sovereignty and grace. I traded my eternal perspective for an earthly one. But God faithfully refreshed my memory and called me back to Himself.

DISCUSSION: What about you? Has there been a time where an earthly perspective threw you off track?

Be sure to check out the second half of this guest post in Flat Spots Here and There – Part II!

18 thoughts on “Flat Spots Here and There – Part 1

  1. Kathy: thanks for taking the time to write on Kari's blog. I think I am one of the few men who comment. 🙂 As a pastor, I am ashamed to admit there have been times I have done exactly what you have done here. I have gone weeks, even months, without meaningful communication. I run on remote. I run on rote. I wonder if anyone even notices besides me. I know when things aren't right, but sometimes it just takes a good swift kick from God to jolt me back. i could list several times this has happened and I have allowed earthly perspectives to throw me off, but this is too long as it is, and not the place. 🙂

    • Cycleguy, thanks for sharing with such honesty. Too often believers are afraid to share their struggles because we think we must put on this "perfect" face. But honesty about our struggles is what we need in order to receive encouragement and accountability! That's when we can become to grow!

    • Admitting this happens, for me, brings such freedom and peace. Freedom and peace that comes from our forgiving Father. I have found too that when these times happen, not only does God draw me back to Him but my faith grows and becomes stronger too. So, not only does He bring us back into fellowship, He goes even further and makes that fellowship even sweeter than before. He is SO good to us.

  2. Kathy,
    I think those things happen to all of us at one time or another. The other thing that seems to happen is we drift away because we are not doing the daily things we need to stay focused. We let other things just take priority that should not. Most likely good things but still things that we let crowd God out or push Him down on the list. This one can be more dangerous at times I think because no event caused it… we just let it happen due to inaction. A crisis will hit and we are left wondering where we veered off. We have to be guarded against both as to not go flat. You have to take steps to keep a drink from going flat… either through using it currently or guarding it with a perimeter(cap). We have to do that with our faith too. Use it and guard it.

    • Mark, thanks for sharing that visual with us about the soda. You are so right, we must guard our faith. And we pay careful attention that we do not allow the "urgent" to crowd out the more important!

    • We certainly do have to stay diligent on a daily basis, don't we Mark? When our lives go on cruise (literally and figuratively), it can be easy to find ourselves off course if we don't deliberately choose to refocus daily, weekly, monthly, etc. And often, I need to get back on course multiple times a day.

  3. I'm honored to be Kari's guest blogger while she's away! Would love to hear your comments and thoughts. Have you ever experienced a temporary time of flat faith? What was it like?

  4. I am so honored to be Kari's guest blogger here on Struggle to Victory! I would love to hear from you! Have you experienced temporary seasons of flat faith? How did it come about?

  5. For some reason I could not link to the first chapter of your book, though I have heard parts of your story in other settings. Thank you for your honesty. Indeed I have found in my life that so many people write how to do things, and if you try and fail, you feel just that, a failure. But when they share their honest struggles with us it makes it so we know if we fall, we are not down for the count, but God is always there to pick us up, brush us off, forgive us, and help us get back on track. When my dad died I was 17. I ran away from God, so angry with Him. It took years to find my way back. Today I have an awesome personal relationship with Him and I do my best to keep it active by prayer, reading blogs and books, and the Word. I also have been making a real effort to count my gifts and blessings and give Him thanks. Thanks for sharing!

    • You hit on the keys here, Mary. Keeping your faith active through prayer & reading and by putting forth effort to be thankful. This sums up what we need to do to keep from drifting. Keep setting the example!

  6. This has happened to me often when I've let the world invade my thinking in one way or another. It could be the love of money or the love of the praise of men. It could be fear. It could just be simple busyness. But worldly thinking and a worldly orientation has been responsible for many a flat time in my life. The thing is that when I'm truly in the midst of those worldly times, my hunger is often lessened – and I don't even really desire to change as much as I would like. But that's where God is merciful – he'll break you if he needs you to get you to hunger for him again.

    • Great way to say it, Loren. I can definitely relate. When we fill up on junk, we are not hungry for the healthy stuff that nourishes us and helps us grow. We need to be so aware of what we take in. More and more, I am realizing the importance of taking out the bad and adding in the good in every area of life. And, I am so thankful that He does what He needs to do (or allows what is needed) to get me back into fellowship with Him. He's always faithful.

  7. Great post. I think we all go through those types of seasons, we are human:) I've been really seeing the need to refocus my own life so I'm spending more time fostering my relationship with God. Thank you for this post.

    • Doesn't knowing that we all go through them truly help us keep going through them? Scripture does say this is why we need to share our struggles, right? Would like to hear more about how you are refocusing your life and fostering your relationship with God. Perhaps that will come in your blog posts. This is a passion area of mine, Dan, and I am willing to support you in any way I can. Just say the word.

      • Great point about sharing our struggles. I'm just being more intentional about reading my bible, praying, and worshiping. Making sure God is my top priority and focus on a daily basis.

        • That's certainly where it's at, Dan. We simply cannot make progress that matters without those basics. Great job! Keep it up! And, keep me posted. I'll do my best to encourage.

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

Leave a Reply

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