Get up. Shower. Go to work. Eat lunch. Come home. Eat Dinner. Watch TV. Go to bed. Repeat.
There’s a certain comfort to be found in routine. It’s safe. It’s predictable. But it can also be dangerous. Structure is important and regimens can be healthy (exercise, sleep schedules, prayer, etc.). These routines help keep us grounded, centered and balanced. However, there are unhealthy so-called routines that are actually ruts in disguise.
Sometimes we get so conditioned to a particular pattern and burrowed down into the grooves that we’ve created by doing the same thing day after day, that when we encounter anything different, anything outside the norm, we freak out. It’s easy to find ourselves in these places as our modern society is built to facilitate and encourage such things.
But we also create for ourselves routines that retard our potential. They leach away our happiness and contentment. Most of these habits are born out of depression. They’re self-prescribed medication meant to help treat the pain we’ve experienced in life or numb the discomfort that comes with disappointment. We develop habits and adopt (in)activities which alleviate the realities that we don’t want to (or aren’t quite ready to) face. And while this can be insulating and beneficial in the short term, when we withdraw so far into them, like junkies addicted our fix, we lose sight of what it means to live. We fall into a kind of half-life—into a funk.
It’s so very important to recognize the funk we are in, and it’s easy to discern if we indeed are. We make excuses and try to justify why we’ve retreated and become second-class citizens of life. “My health prevents me from doing…” “I don’t have anyone to do anything with…” “It’s too expensive…” “I just don’t have the time…” False. We may think these are reasons, but they are actually excuses.
Yes, you may not have the health to do certain activities, but it doesn’t prevent you from pursuing others. You may not have people in your life with whom you can do things, but there are other things you can do by yourself; or there are things you can do which give opportunity to meet people with whom you can do future things. There are a myriad of optional things we can do to enrich our lives which cost nothing—nothing but simple effort in trying. And there is always time. We may think we our schedules are so full with this or that, but when we take a close look at just what it is that is filling that time we can identify what is and isn’t important. If we aren’t engaging in things that feed our souls and stimulate our imaginations, we are giving into funk and we are wasting our potential for joyful fulfilment.
Getting the funk out isn’t always easy. Depression is a difficult demon to exorcise. Depression deprives us of our energy and motivation, holding us prisoner within ourselves. It’s a very real thing, and a very tragic pit in which to fall. But there is a way out—a way to rid ourselves of our funk and once again discover life. It might mean just finding something different and going through the motions for a while until interest builds and hopeful expectation replaces disheartened defeat. Take a different way home. Read a different kind of book. Attempt a different hobby. Go for a walk. Turn off the computer, turn off the TV, crawl off the couch and try something new. Different is the enemy of funk.
We make our lives seem so small when we disregard the diverse opportunity and awesome potential that life offers. Sure, circumstances might prevent us from doing certain things we would otherwise like to do, but when we get stuck grieving those missing opportunities, we ignore all the other wonderful things God has created for us to do. So get up, get the funk out, and live. Even if you find the tiniest of deviance from your routine, if you continue to work your way out little by little, you’ll rock yourself out of your groove and realize that life is more than a one-way highway and that there are many awesome things to be found when we explore what’s beyond the off-ramp.
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