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Spiritual fog is very much like a hike in the woods on a foggy day.
A path through the spiritual fog
I have spinal stenosis. This particular day, I was dealing with some sciatica pain and my husband wasn’t sure I would be able to take this route as there are hills. But I had no problem and this has now become my favorite trail ever.
Walk along and you’ll see why I find it so peaceful. (Excuse the pictures.)
The path starts to lead up a hill.
And it continues uphill.
Isn’t this chartreuse oss beautiful?
Finally, we reached here. I love sitting here and looking out over the cliff.
Hoffmaster State Park, Norton, Shores, Michigan
And then we reach Lake Michigan.
And the fog lifts.
Spiritual fog can be uphill and crooked
Sometimes life is just like this walk. Uphill and crooked. The path is steep and the weather foggy and we put one foot in front of the other hoping to find sure footing. Eventually, the fog lifts and we see our way once again. That’s what faith is like. God sets our feet upon a rock making our footsteps firm. Psalm 40:2b
We don’t quit walking though
We don’t stop just because we can’t see around the bend. The uncomfortable truth though is that we all do at times. If we don’t actually quit, we at least feel like quitting. We needn’t stop just because we can’t see around the bend. In fact, maybe that is a new definition of faith, walking forward when we can’t see around the bend.Tweet
I know I’m certainly not the first person that has linked fog with faith. It’s a common enough analogy. It isn’t about the fog anyway.
It’s about the walk
Sometimes, our walk through the clouds is long. Sometimes our walk is short. And our “fog” can be anything. It can be disappointment, anxiety, depression, stress. Sometimes it’s illness or grief.
It may have come upon us suddenly or have evolved over time. While it might be important to know the cause, for right now, you just have to keep walking through it. You can examine the cause later.
Aspects of spiritual fog
I thought I would feel excited at this point but mostly I’m scared. It is an honest book. It’s been written for years. I changed the format and left out a lot of material because I wanted to keep the book’s price within reason. As is it, I feel it’s too expensive but I have no choice with publisher.
I managed to get it down from 332 to 206 pages by changing the formatting and deleting a lot of material I really liked. Needless to say, I have a lot of leftover material for the next book.
Life never consistently runs smoothly. We all know that. And it helps to reconcile ourselves to it instead of expecting every day to be glorious. We are always drifting in and out of fog.
Foggines can occur after we’ve met a goal. It’s a natural let-down. We’ve been working so hard and all of a sudden we find ourselves discombobulated. We don’t know what to do with ourselves.
I’ve had to be so focused for so long and now I don’t. It’s like I’m in a big field and don’t know what direction to take. So, I feel “foggy”. I would worry about it except Beth Moore (author of many books) wrote about this very thing that happens to her after she finishes writing a Bible study. It’s like Satan throws every arrow he has against her to make her doubt what she has written. Other authors say the same thing.
A spiritual fog will not be lifted until we recognize our part in the process. I would suggest that as Christians we often bring on the fog because we don’t practice the spiritual disciplines. You may not even know what they are but they are the only way to truly know God.
Richard Foster has perhaps done the best job of explaining the spiritual disciplines, in his classic book, Celebration of Discipline. Other pastors, authors, and scholars have added to these but I feel that these additions all fit under Foster’s original six: prayer, bible study, meditation, silence/ solitude, fasting and service.
While these are simple-sounding, they are not easy. Not by a long shot. And they require consistent practice.
But even when these are practiced, we can bring on our own fog. However, because these disciplines are practiced, it also means we will walk through our fog and come out on the other side.
Here’s my personal fog story. It’s about the fog that showed up after I finished my book.
My book was actually completed a few years ago. All I have been doing this last year has been trying to reword it so it would fit as a devotional. The content has never really changed. I see that as good because it means that in all my rereading I’ve still come back to the same message.
It’s very, very close now to showing up on Amazon and other booksellers. I’m expecting one more edit and then it will be “live”. I wish I could say I was done at that point but, alas, there’s all the marketing after that. The actual book launch will be a few weeks from now. I guess this is more of a soft opening.
Writing the book was relatively easy because I love the research and the whole process. All the rest has been extremely stressful. At times, I lost the joy that obedience to God brings. Last week I sent in what is probably the final, final manuscript for one last look and one last approval.
Having said all that, however, I am definitely writing another book. Just not with the same publisher.
But God leads us out of that fog
It feels like I’ve given birth. I guess you could call this post-book depression. So as I think of the day I first walked that path and remembering how the fog cleared, I know this will, too. God holds onto me in the fog just like he holds on to me in the light. He’s ahead of me walking and clearing the way and beside me enabling me to take the next step. He’s behind me when I need a shove. Just like he is for you.
In a fog is not the time to put aside the spiritual disciplines. In fact, we may need to hunker down and apply them even more. Feeling bad is no excuse for ignoring God and I would imagine God is hurt when we ignore him at these times and try to handle it ourselves.Tweet
Remember, when your fog appears, God is still present. And, eventually, the fog lists. Because that’s what fog does.
God bless you today as you walk your own path.