My life isn’t always easy, definitely not short of hardships and struggles, but it also isn’t lacking in joy, fullness, or peace. Over the past couple of weeks I have been in and out of what I would describe as a "funk." A funk is having a case of the mean reds (*term used in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of”). It usually starts with a thought or progression of thoughts and ends up somehow working it’s way straight down to my heart leaving me discouraged and frustrated.

Sometimes the reality of the present, circumstances in my life or other's lives, really anything…can throw me into a funk. The truth is funks are inevitably going to happen. I can’t avoid them. They happen and there is no time limit to them.  At the root of each funk I am always faced with the fact that my reality isn’t just in the present but it is also beyond in the reality of things to come: eternity. The hope for the funk is that through Christ there is victory over my (and your) funk.  

One of the first things to go at the onset of a funk for me is that I give in to the lies. I stop preaching truth to myself. Honestly sometimes it’s just easier. It’s easier to give in and believe what is not true. Other times I don’t have the energy to fight it. It’s tiring… it’s exhausting.

Then the fear sets in. I just become afraid. It’s at this point that I’ve really invested in the lies. The biggest lie I believe is that it's up to me to get out of this. I will seriously believe that I can change it through my own willpower. That it’s as simple as fixing my attitude. Sure I can smile and fake joy and happiness and even lie to myself that it’s all good, when really it’s not and no one is buying it. The fearfulness of the unknown at this point is so crippling that I’m unable to move myself beyond it. Buying into the what-ifs and what I think to be true while disregarding what is actually true. I am left alone in my funk with thoughts and lies unable to change or get my way out.

Moving beyond the Funk…

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from the woman who discipled me in college was how to process things in light of eternity instead of temporal circumstances. She invited me into her life to learn with her and see her diligently fight sin by God’s grace. This is done by getting to the root of the problem in my heart. She didn’t avoid my sin or heart by giving me lip service and throwing it in a closet only to have it one day all fall on top of me (which for years was my pattern). No, she genuinely trusted the Lord and worked through things trusting Him to take her to the root of the "funk" and then realizing that only He can uproot whatever it is by His grace and through the Spirit's work in me. 

How to process the funk…

  • Be honest. With God, yourself, and others (through prayer, journaling, reading scripture).
  • Be reminded that if you draw near to God he promised to draw near to us (James 4:8).
  • Be still and know that He is God (Stop. Stop trying to figure it out on your own, rest in the Lord by seeking Him in his Word and know Him).
  • Be quick to pray, pleading that He would pill back the layers and reveal to you blind spots that are feeding your sin. Instead, He gives you the strength to fight the lies when they come flooding in.
  • Be quick to trust the Lord. How arrogant are you to think that you can fix yourself or that you know yourself better than the Lord who created you?
  • Be quick to repent and confess your sin.
  • Be willing to die to yourself. As selfishness prevails, so will the funk. 
  • Be free from your sin and free to delight in the Lord even amidst hardships.

Processing and figuring out the problem can be the hardest part. Other times it’s the sweetest. We aren’t promised happy endings to all things in this life. We often live as if we are privileged and deserve them. We toss aside truth and in place put ourselves on God's throne and think of what we would do differently to get what we want. Or we live like there’s a cloud over our head and are so bogged down by what we think is reality. Because of our sin and flesh, we get stuck in believing lies and forgetting truth. Be encouraged that while your happy ending may not be here or the cloud just doesn't seem to leave – when you go to the Lord with your funk you shift your eyes off of you and on to Him. Your reality isn’t in your funk or mean reds it’s in and through Christ, who defeated the grave and with that he also defeated your funk. 

Amanda Edmondson is on staff at Sojourn Community Church is Louisville, Kentucky. You can follow her @amandaedmondson.