Following Jesus is supposed to equip us for life. For real life. Not for some imaginary life. Not for a fake life. Not for a superficial life. But for life in the real world. I suspect that’s why the blogs I post about real-life discipleship are the ones that tend to get the most positive feedback. They’re the ones that pick up and comment on the stuff of life.

So I chose to be honest and write at the end of last week (in a blog entitled Power in Perseverance) about feeling rather uninspired. Not uninspired about being alive – but noticing that my creative edge has been blunted over the last few weeks. I’ve noticed it in a number of ways, not the least in blogging. Rather than having lots to comment on I’ve felt like my ideas-tank has been low. I  know that happens sometimes and there might be all sorts of reasons why. I also know you need to take care and make sure you’re looking after yourself.

I’ve had a range of responses since last week’s post. Whilst a few were worried that I was about to burn out, crack up, or lose my faith (and I’m grateful for their concern!) most have found what I wrote incredibly helpful. Here are three:

Thank you for sharing this Matthew, it has helped me tremendously as I’ve been going through some ‘stuff’ lately!

Perfectly timed Matthew, I think that perhaps you are not the only one feeling this at the moment, perhaps the world is attempting to get in under our skins! So actually you have been inspired to write about your lack of inspiration and this has resonated with people! I wanted to share just the opening of a prayer I wrote on this matter “My faith in you is strong when I am weak, Though there is often need for my will, My heart remains true, in you, for you, all of my days.”

Thank you Matthew for your blog on perseverance. As a new Christian working through my identity in Christ, it is encouraging to know that even the vicar of the lovely church I belong to also gets periods of being uninspired. Thank you for sharing this as it inspires me to persevere when things seem a little tough. Thank you.

So I’m encouraged to press on. To persevere. To keep following Jesus. And to share how being a disciple is really for the long-haul. It’s not just for the easy times. It’s for the difficult days too. And don’t forget that it’s often how we cope during the hard times that rubs off on others and gets the attention of those who are not-yet believers. I need to be reminded of that as I struggle with an infected tooth today…! So if you’re waking up to a difficult day today – perhaps feeling uninspired, sad, lonely, tired, stressed, ill, low or just under pressure – then stay focussed, stay following and stay as fresh as you can. Keep doing the basics well. Hang in there. And as we are commended to do in Romans 12:1-2, dedicate your life again to the Lord. He is closer than you think.