June 5, 2009
Giving Up the Funk
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do ... So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I didn't sleep well the night before. So naturally, the next morning I was prepped to be in a funk. And on a Sunday, no less.
The coffee didn't taste as good, and my morning bagel wasn't that satisfying. Even the butter I slathered over and under and inside and around every toasted nook and cranny did nothing to lift my spirits.
No fun e-mails or messages when I got online either. No witty updates. No crazy photos with crazier captions. No entertaining stories posted by any of my friends. Nothing.
I tried flipping around the tube next, but I couldn't find anything of interest or distraction either. Just news. Gloom and doom. Infomercials to infinity. And some "interesting" religious broadcasting.
I had gotten up later than normal, so I knew I wouldn't make it to the first service at church. Actually, I didn't want to go to the second service either. Didn't want to go to church at all. And so it was official: I was in a funk.
I then decided it was best that I stay home, because I was really tired after all. And how could I possibly drive the considerable distance to church and pay attention throughout a thirty-plus-minute sermon and everything? Especially when powered by such a horrendous night of rest.
As I was creating this rationale in my mind, something told me to call my mom. So I did. I shared my predicament and my stay-at-home plans for the morning. And after I hung up the phone, I thought I would feel better about my decision to skip church and that my explanation to someone else and their agreement would get me off the hook. But somehow, I knew it wasn't right. My cup was empty. Bone dry. And I needed to get it filled. Fast.
So I got it together and made it to the late service, but my funk was still ever present. Everything and anything annoyed me: the fresh 'n' perky greeters at the door, the music man leading the hymns too slowly, the off center tri-fold creases in the bulletin's sermon outline, the special music that wasn't so special, and even the pastor. His message was emotional and caused him to speak slowly and pause often—either for dramatic effect or due to his heart's softness in responding to the important subject matter: God's love and its expression through us (1 John 4:7-21).
Had I been sitting at the end of my row, I would have left. But (providentially, I believe), I was seated in the middle. So there I stayed with my heart of stone. I didn't laugh. I didn't tear up. Everyone else around me did, though. They were open. They were ready to receive what God would say to them that morning about the condition of their hearts.
As I drove away from church afterward and scowled at the sunny day around me, I asked the Lord to help me give up the funk. I didn't know what had caused it, and I didn't know why my heart didn't want to worship him that day.
Like Paul contemplated in Romans, I did not understand why I was doing what I did not want to do. In my mind, I wanted to worship that morning. I wanted to receive. I wanted to love. But my sinful nature was battling and blocking; it wanted to control the desire of a child who really wanted to honor her Father.
Over the next couple of hours, I got to the end of myself. And the stoniness of my heart—the rebellion—began to crumble. I softened. I teared up. "What a wretched woman I am!" I could have shouted, echoing Paul's sentiment. And I know that this transformation—this removal of my funk—was not of my doing.
Who will rescue me from this body of death? Perhaps you need to ask this same question today.
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! That is the answer, my friend. And truly, and ever so gratefully, it's all any of us should say when we understand our condition and when what we hate is what we do.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Are you battling the funk today? Although we still have a flesh nature this side of heaven, we also have Christ in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Don't give up. You can give up the funk. Ask your Heavenly Father to help you overcome, so that he may be glorified in and through you.