Break Out of That Rut

Just the other day, my friend turned to me and said, "I am in a rut."


We were about to eat lunch together and were trying to decide upon a place to eat.  We decided to meet at Jason’s Deli.  Pleasant.  Good food.  Jason’s is a popular lunch place during the week.  I’ve been there–many times.  I have eaten there several days in a row, meeting a different person each day.  I keep suggesting to people that we meet there.  I have the same routine whenever I go there.  I look at the menu, read through the options, and then order the salad bar.  A few years ago it was a chicken salad sandwich.


Yes, it was my friend who told me he was in a rut.  But–it sounds as if I am in a rut as well.  How boring!  I’ve got to do better.  If I’m not careful, I will soon be filling the empty bowl at the salad bar, still in the rut.


Do you ever begin your week feeling like you are in a rut?
  We serve this creative God who has created an awesome world and now is recreating our hearts. Yet, for some reason, we get in ruts.

Consider the following:

1. You might consider reading a book by an author with whom you are unfamiliar. Try a book you think will stimulate your heart and mind.  Try authors like: Henri Nouwen, C. S. Lewis, Scot McKnight, Gary Thomas, Gordon McDonald, Phillip Yancey, William Willimon or Tim Stafford (just a sampling).

2. If you have been using the same Bible for years, trying reading from a different translation. Try the New RSV, The Message, The English Standard Version or some other translation with which you are not too familiar.

3. Make sure that there is an appropriate tension between your private devotional time and actually doing something in obedience to what you know. Without both you are likely to get spiritually imbalanced.  All study and no ministry can lead to a spiritually "bloated" Christian.  A commitment to ministry without time in the Word of God and prayer can cause a person to lack any depth or fire-power for such ministry.

4. Try praying for specific people.  If you don’t know them well, try to imagine what their lives might be like given their life situation.   Pray for them by name.

5. Consider having conversation with a person who is very different from yourself.  Ask that person to lunch or coffee and ask questions about life, the person’s walk with God, helpful resources, etc.  This is a practice that has blessed me greatly through the years.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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5 thoughts on “Break Out of That Rut

  1. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions.

    I especially like your recommendation about choosing a different Bible translation for devotional reading. This really seems to work for me.

    Thanks for the excellent thoughts, brother

  2. Jim this is a near classic line: “All study and no ministry can lead to a spiritually “bloated” Christian.” What a great line. I love it! Can I borrow it??

    Bobby Valentine

  3. Jim,
    Thanks. Good down to earth counsel.

    We need that ongoing sense of the freshness of God’s daily renewing of our inward person, and of the newness of his mercies and faithfulness every morning. So at heart this is relational. But it is what we do (or do not do) that can help us live by faith in this ongoing and moving reality. Though I think ruts with the deadness that seems to accompany them, can be means by God of cutting out what is not helpful in our lives.