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.

Spiritual Vertigo


Running into walls. Immobilized flat on the floor, room spinning like a tilt-a-whirl.

Vertigo – way beyond mere dizziness – often strikes suddenly and without warning. You go to sleep fine only to find your face flat against the wall when you try to walk after getting out of bed in the morning.

Causes for vertigo range from inner ear infections and sinus problems to Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (a real gem of an experience) and Eustachian tube dysfunction. Yep, had them each lead to vertigo more than once over the past 10 years.

Along with the carnival atmosphere in my head comes a general feeling of nausea along with the sense that my body and the room are at odds and at the same time united as one. Difficult to concentrate for sure when even a slight movement can be dizzying.

Since vertigo visits me at least yearly and usually 2-3 times a year, I know some tricks for speeding it along its way. Sinus spray, extra chiropractor visits and allergy medication all encourage an early departure. And never does vertigo leave soon enough.

Spiritual vertigo also disrupts my life from time to time. When this happens, I work to eliminate the cause and to basically hit my reset button. Unlike physical vertigo though, which often hits quite unexpectedly, a lot can be done to prevent spiritual vertigo from ever happening in the first place.

vertigo quote

Spiritual 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. Symptoms also include…

  1. A sort of scripture reading dyslexia where words fail to have meaning.
  2. An inability to focus, especially in churc
  3. Difficulty listening to any pastor or Sunday school teacher let alone to a friend wanting to talk about Jesus.
  4. A desire for instant and material gratification increases
  5. Telling others about worries, fears and problem instead of going to God with them.
  6. Guilt for not doing enough in any area of life.
  7. General apathy for life.

Spiritual vertigo usually hits me when I…

  1. Let down my guard.
  2. Get too busy and fail to consistently apply the basics (prayer, Bible study, fellowship & praise).
  3. Let others negatively impact my attitude.
  4. Forget to steer clear of comparisons.
  5. Let circumstances dictate the existence of peace and joy.
  6. Let another person shake my faith.
  7. Get overwhelmed with life.

Whether my own fault or the result of a fallen world (usually a combination of both), God allows spiritual vertigo to motivate me toward change. Perhaps He wants me to accept a new level of leadership or confront a wayward friend. Or maybe He simply wants me to remember my dependence on Him as I realize my utter helplessness in a world spinning out of control.

Coming soon… The Cure for Spiritual Vertigo.

DISCUSSION: Please share any experiences with vertigo, physical or spiritual in the comments.