5 Steps to Fight Your February Funk

 My friends, writer’s block is upon me. I feel mentally marred. This is a foreign feeling to me. When I think of blocks I picture clogs. How do you take action when you know you have a clog? You take steps to pull, push, or pulverize the clog. It could be hair hanging out in your drain (definitely guilty of this) or a toy in the toilet. You don’t know the root, but you know there’s a problem prohibiting progress on your path. Usually, the words flow out of my fingers like water flows from a fountain. I’ve been struggling to write a certain message. I started off strong in the beginning, but the second part is just falling flat. Because my mind is notorious for running off on tangents,  I began thinking about how sometimes in areas of my life I get in a funk and fall flat. Even the most happy-go-lucky folks get in a funk. It happens to the best of us.  I think of myself like that pitiful happy birthday balloon that slowly loses its air until it’s shriveled and its limp balloon body looks so sad you have to throw it away and put it out of its misery. What if I could inflate myself again? What if I could fill myself back up instead of letting this funk make me flounder in failure?

 

We are almost to March. Can you believe it? Where did the time go? I spent time in December thinking about how God wanted to use me in 2015. I haven’t shared that with the world yet because I rather do a recap at the end of the year to see how exactly God directed my steps this year. But, let’s just say I’ve been pressing on with all the plans that were placed on my heart at a progressive pace. Yes, for once I’ve paced myself instead of moving forward fast-and-furious. I’m beginning to see the value in slow-and-steady instead of functioning at full-rev full-time. Chances are you too made New Year’s Resolutions or goals for the new year. Can you remember your resolutions? Are they a distant memory now or have you kept consistent in your pursuits?I believe February is that in-between month. What do I mean by that? January I start off strong with my daring dreams and ambitious adventures of how I am going to impact and influence the world I live in, but once February rolls around I find myself stalling, slowing down and slacking off. I’m all about looking at the bright side, so if I have a “bad” month I’m definitely glad it’s the shortest one of the year. Honestly, a part of me craves the warm weather of March when I know I will thaw out and regain my momentum. Is winter wearing you down too? If you are up north you probably have cabin fever. Some have a legitimate fever (thank you Flu). Still, others just have the February funk. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, I’m hoping the five steps to fight the February funk will help you finish February flowing and flourishing.

Step 1: Make the move

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

Guys, going through Regeneration I heard this verse A LOT. Now, I know all scripture is God-breathed and it was used at the right time to encourage and comfort, but if I don’t continue to MOVE in my reading of scripture and simply stayed still at Exodus 14:14 I miss the very next verse.

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”

Yes. The Lord does desire us to still our restless hearts and souls, but more often then not he wants us to keep moving. Sometimes stillness is used to soothe and secure us in our Lord, but other times stillness equates to stagnation.  I don’t know what it will be for you. Go for a walk. Take a friend out for lunch. Journal your thoughts.  Start crafting. Do something nice for someone else. The best way to make your day is to make someone else’s. Think of the advice you would give a friend in a funk and then apply it to your life. I know this is easier said than done. It’s easy to look at the glass half-full when you are standing underneath a waterfall, but when you remove yourself from the flow or the flow ceases it becomes a challenge to keep the same perspective. Today I just finished a run. You know what happens when I get those muscles moving? My mind starts firing off ideas so fast I can’t get me Evernote out to capture all the creativity. This tells me that if I want new, innovative ideas I’m going to have to move.  You’ve got to keep moving. Sometimes it takes all my strength to put one foot in front of the other, like convincing myself to trek in the ice to the gym tonight, but once I get going the world better watch out!

Step 2: Maintain Momentum 

Okay, now that we are moving it’s important we maintain that momentum. God tells Joshua to march around the city for six days and then on the 7th day march around the city seven times. If he would have stopped on six on the 7th day the walls of Jericho wouldn’t have come crashing down. If you want your funk facade to fall you are going to have to maintain your momentum. Don’t stop now. Man, just think about how Moses was in a forty-year funk. Talk about a guy who had a lot on his plate long-term. With God, he delivered the Israelites out of Egypt only to listen to their complaining and grumbling in the desert for forty years. But, if he hadn’t maintained the momentum he wouldn’t have helped the Israelites reach the Promised Land. There’s always a reason for perseverance.

What are some ways to maintain momentum in the modern world?

Remind yourself of your personal vision or the “why” behind why you are completing a specific activity today.  I bet Moses had to remind himself and be reminded by God frequently why he was leading his people out of slavery into a land of freedom and abundance. Moses’ funk far exceeding the month of February,  but he was constantly reminded by God’s provision and power why he maintained momentum. Find your why to get you by. 

Reward yourself. I think this is something important that we often neglect. No, not everything in life should have a reward or award attached to it, but in your own personal goals, it might help maintain momentum if you create incentive. The memory that comes to mind is when my mom would make the kids do chores on Saturdays. Yeah, you can already tell how well that went over. Instead of making it mundane, she would put fun activities mixed in with the not-so-fun chores. Why, yes, I’ll vacuum the floor, because I know afterward I get to create an obstacle course in the backyard. Find the fun before reaching the finish line. 

Renew yourself. Rest is a critical part of maintaining momentum. You define what rest, renewal and repair are for you. I think of NASCAR where cars are racing around the track around 200 mph. Does this relate to your daily routine? Because these high-speeds cause quick wear-and-tear on their car, they know if they don’t pull over for a pit stop they could end up permanently stoppedFind your pace and pause for your pit stop.

Step 3: Manage your moods

Minimize the moping. Don’t believe your mood in the moment reflects your ability to move or maintain momentum. When I find myself in a funk I often complain about the funk instead of creating and carrying out a plan to fix the funk.  Complaining is not constructive. You show me someone who complains a lot and I’ll show you a miserable person. Instead, I should trade in my grumbling for grinning. Wear your smile for the world and watch as you begin to see your world transform. When you smile it’s similar to throwing a feel-good party in your brain. You can fool your brain using your facial expressions. Get to grinning and say goodbye to the grumbling.

Step 4: Mouth your mission

Speak life! If you know me, you might be aware I have a reverence for the power of words. They have the power to build up or break down. They have the power to create bitterness or blessings.  Start positively encouraging yourself with a morning pep talk. I’m working on creating one for myself. I would love to hear what the pep talk you tell yourself in the morning to negate the negative and proliferate the positive. 

Ephesians 4:29 NIV

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Self-talk is necessary. I have to listen to my thoughts all day. There’s no escaping that! If I want to face and fight a funk, I can wield God’s word as a weapon. By speaking life to my mission, I trick my brain again into believing it.

Step 5: Maximize your Motivation Muscles

Muscle grows by being broken down. It amazes me that we have to be broken down to be built up stronger. I think this applies to more than just our physical bodies though. If you are in a funk and feeling broken down, just think of it as building your motivation muscles for the next time you are in a rut. Life is a big experiment with trial-and-error. When you are feeling unmotivated, try new ways to shake it off and set you up for success for the next time you feel stalled.

Some see the glass half-empty. Others see the glass half-full. I see the glass needing a refill either way. As you fill up your cup by doing these five steps it will force the funk out. Share with me the tools you use to fight your funks in the comments below!

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