Dealing With the Spiritual Blah-dee-dahs

I’m about to be very real with you, so buckle up.

I’ve been experiencing a significant case of the spiritual doldrums lately.  No doubt this kind of thing happens to the
best of us, and in my case, it happens to the rest of us, too.  While this summer I was on fire (and really, for full effect you have to read that as “on fi-yah”) for the Lord, as of late I’m just kind of feeling ho-hum.

Kind of dull.

Kind of blah-dee-dah.

Don’t get me wrong or anything, I’m still all in, Team Jesus all the way.  I’m just lagging in my usual joyful exuberance and inspirational overload that I’m used to; hence, the overabundance of stories lately on my blog about drunk driving pet squirrels, car jacked three-legged turtles named Stumpy, and dog poop.

I admit, a big part of my problem is other people.  If I didn’t have to deal with other people, particularly other people who I find annoying and downright stupid at times, I would be fine.  In fact, my life would probably be so fine I’d waltz around spontaneously singing show tunes and dancing with an umbrella in the middle of Broadway Street in the rain if the opportunity presented itself.

Unfortunately, my life is not a screenplay and I am not able to write out all of the annoying and seemingly stupid people who are keeping me from singing show tunes and dancing in the streets.  I’m kind of stuck with them, and if I’m being honest, a few of them are really bringing me down.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, either.  Two weeks ago, my BFF and I had one of our traditional GNOs (girls night outs) that consists of a trip to Barnes & Noble after our boys are put to bed for a cup of joe and a shared dessert of the decadent variety.  We catch up on all the things we don’t normally have a chance to catch up on during the rest of the week.  Normally, there is a lot of laughter involved.

The entire evening costs way less than a trip to a mental health counselor with far better results.

Our last GNO, however, ended up being more of an all out vent fest.  It seems that my BFF and I have a lot in common, including the same taste in annoying and stupid people.  We ranted, we vented, we griped for two hours about everything that was wrong with these people, everything that wasn’t going the way we wanted it to in our lives, and everything else that we could think of that was remotely negative.

The fine staff of Barnes & Noble had to throw us out of the store because we weren’t done with our tirade yet; so, we left and continued our diatribe from Fort Wayne all the way back to New Haven to my friend’s house, where we sat in the driveway and continued to talk for at least another 45 minutes.

Maybe it was the coffee talking, but I don’t think so.

Here’s the thing.  One would think that after all of this pent-up stuff was let out, we would feel better, right?  The truth of the matter is, I know I didn’t.  I know my friend didn’t, either.  The next day, I felt just as insipid as I did the day before, and perhaps even more so.  I really thought that a GNO with my Bestie would make everything better.  It didn’t.

Where did I go wrong?

As I strolled along my street the next morning, the beautiful fall leaves creating a colorful tapestry beneath my feet, I mulled over the night before in my head.    Seemingly out of nowhere, the following conversation took place in my head: (Side Note:  Mom, if you’re reading this, I apologize.  I know it makes you nervous when I start talking about the voices inside my head.  I promise you, though, they are completely harmless and I have been taking my medication 🙂

Voice:  ‘You know where you went wrong, don’t you?’

Me: ‘Uh, no.’

Voice:  ‘You did a lot of talking.  You did a lot of complaining and griping.  You didn’t do any thanking for what is going right, and you didn’t do any praying for what you want to see changed, or for what you need help with.’

Me: (Silence)

Voice: ‘Oh, and Beth?  Maybe you should consider praying for those people you’ve labeled annoying and stupid.  Maybe they need your prayers more than anyone else.’

Me: (More Silence)

That’s where the conversation ended.  I had nothing more to add, primarily because I knew the voice in my head was 100% right.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to do about it, though.

After some thought, I realized that perhaps my friend and I needed to revamp our GNO into a GBSNO (girls Bible study night out).  We could still do our traditional Barnes & Noble thing.  We could still have coffee and chocolate or whatever other calorie laden dessert strikes our fancy at the Starbucks counter.  Just from now on instead of babbling on and on for over two hours about all that is wrong in our worlds, we’re going to have a purposeful time of prayer and Bible study.

Yep, we’re going to make positive changes in our world and it feels really, really good!

Tonight is our first GBSNO and we’re cheating a little teeny bit, or rather, we’re celebrating in a big way our new adventure.  We’re taking our GBSNO on the road to the Hundred More Years concert tour featuring Francesca Battistelli, the Sidewalk Prophets, City Harbor and Andy Cherry.  There will be absolutely no ranting allowed in the car on the way to the show,  though.  Praying will be allowed, as will reading the Bible.  (Well, I won’t be reading the Bible since I will be driving.  That would be kind of dangerous I suppose.)  I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

What I want to know is, how do you deal with the spiritual blah-dee-dahs?  E-mail me at beth@bethstauffer.com.  I’d love to hear your story!

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Tuesday Tunes Playlist

Dear Readers:
I’ve received quite a few e-mails lately asking me about what my music playlist sounds like lately. Yes, I’m aware that I have been somewhat negligent in writing about music lately, and I do apologize for that.  So for fun today I thought I would post a Tuesday Tunes Playlist of what I have been listening to lately and what has been speaking to my heart. Enjoy!
#15—The Words I Would Say (Sidewalk Prophets)—Yep, I realize that this is kind of classic.  It’s by far the oldest song on this list. Lately, this song has been popping up in my life in weird places when I need a boost.  For instance, I was in a real foul mood at Gordon Food Service shopping for a picnic at church last weekend, and sandwiched in between songs by The Cure and Bon Jovi was ‘The Words I Would Say’.  Very strange, but in a good way.  It definitely brought a smile to my face and turned my attitude around in record time.
#14—Obsolete (Sara Groves)—I really like Sara Groves.  She has a haunting quality to her voice and the lyrics to her songs are just flat out brilliant.  This song just kind of hits my feelings on the head lately, and in a way that I don’t think even I could describe as well as Sara does in this song.  Highly recommended listening, along with the rest of the her album ‘Invisible Empires’.
#13—Redeemed (Big Daddy Weave)—This song just touches my heart every time I hear it, which fortunately is quite frequently as it’s getting a lot of radio play these days in my neck of the woods.  I think this may be my all-time favorite BDW song!
#12—Higher (Lecrae featuring Tenth Avenue North)—I have to admit, when I first saw this song listed on Lecrae’s newest album, Gravity, I did a double take.  Lecrae…and Tenth Avenue North?  How exactly would something like that work, anyway?  Well, let me say for the record it works quite beautifully.  Great song, I totally love it.  Further proof (at least to me) that Tenth Avenue North makes everything better!
#11—Gold (Britt Nicole)—There are a lot of really good songs on Britt Nicole’s latest project.  If I had to pick one, I’d say ‘Gold’ is one of my favorites.  Without fail, it brightens my day and gets me going no matter what else might be going on.
#10—Pushing on a Pull Door (For King & Country)—Yes, for those of you in the know, this is my theme song.  I have written an entire short story based upon inspiration derived from this song. Luckily, I haven’t actually been hanging upside down lately like I was in the story I shared, but I’ve definitely been pushing on some pull doors lately. 
#9—Good Morning (Mandisa featuring TobyMac)—Here’s a no fail recipe for a song that I will love:  Have Mandisa sing something positive and upbeat, and toss in some TobyMac for good measure.  Seriously, that’s a no fail recipe for a great song.  These two together are like peanut butter and jelly (well, that might not be the best example since I’m allergic to peanut butter). Anyway, I think you get the picture.
#8—For the First Time Again (Jason Gray)—I’ve just recently discovered Jason Gray, and I’m quickly becoming a fan.  This song really hit me the other day while I was driving along in my car, as it very accurately described a place in my life I’ve been feeling lately.  I’ve listened to it a lot in the time since then.  If you are feeling a little run down, I would recommend listening to this song for sure!
#7—Opposite Way (Leeland)—I had a strange experience with this song over the weekend.  Honestly, if I’ve listened to this song once, I’ve listened to it a hundred times  as I love the CD Opposite Way.  Yet, as I was driving along the highway on interstate I-469 on Sunday, Opposite Way came on the radio and it was as if I heard it for the first time.  I was struck by the lyrics, and I swear it was like I never really heard what was being said in this song before.  I would encourage you if you don’t have this CD to get it, or at the very least look up the lyrics to this song.   Beautiful, poignant, touching.  Definitely go check it out!
#6—All I see is You (Trevor Morgan)—I really like Trevor Morgan’s CD, The Blessed and the Broken. If you don’t have it, you should. It’s really, really good.  I’ve been listening to All I See Is You a lot lately, and it has become the prayerof my heart these last few weeks. Another highly recommended song, and CD.
#5—Angel By Your Side (Francesca Battistelli)—Her name maybe difficult to spell and kind of hard to say, but definitely worth the effort.  I love this song, as it has been both an encouragement and comfort to me lately. 
#4—Even If (Kutless)—I’m a longtime fan of Kutless, and as such I have to admit that their latest project “Believer” is one of my favorites.  What I like about Kutless is that they sing the truth.  They aren’t compelled to make everything tidy and neat, and they tend to cut straight to the heart of what really matters.  I really admire them for that.  Even If is one of those songs that is a brilliant amalgamation of hard truths amidst a unifying hope in the Lord.  For sure, if you haven’t yet, you’ll want to give this song a listen.
#3—Center of It (Chris August)—I posted a review on my blog awhile back about Chris August’s new CD, The Upside of Down.  It’s been in a continual state of replay since I got it back in August.  It was hard to pick just one song off of the album to include on this playlist, but I decided to go with Center of It because of the reminder it provides me that no matter what is going on in my life, God is in the center of it all.  Worth a listen (or a hundred!)
#2—Never (Hyland)—Okay, here’s my rant for today.  I think Hyland is one of most underrated groups in Christian music today.  They have some really great songs and I so enjoy listening to their CD, Weights and Measures.  They also have a single out called “Beauty in the Broken,” which I think is spectacular.   Their song, Never, is also a standout in my book.   The lyrics are so relatable and heartfelt that I find myself coming back to listen to this song over and over. 
#1—Banner of Love (Luminate)—This is such an awesome song it should be mandatory listening for everyone.  If everyone listened to this song, and then attempted to live by the lyrics, the world would no doubt be a more beautiful place.  Truthfully, if you haven’t heard this song yet, you need to listen to it and you’ll see why it’s my #1 pick on my playlist this week! 
And there you have it!  You can view pins of all of these videos on my Pinterest Board, Tuesday Tunes Playlist!
Much Love,
Beth