Losing Oomph

Most of us know what it is to lose oomph. Age, infirmity, or just getting out of bed on the wrong side can leave us feeling tired, tetchy and lacking in zeal. It is good to know that the great saints were no different from us in that respect. St Teresa of Avila said there were times she could not swat a fly for the love of God. In the monastery we dub these periods of inertia and ennui ‘Elijah Sicknbess’. Just as Elijah lay down under a bush and wanted to die, so can we — metaphorically speaking.

By the middle of Lent, such flagging of zeal is perfectly normal and probably a good thing. It reminds us that we set out on this journey in response to God’s invitation; that it is his programme we need to follow, not our own carefully-constructed list of dos and don’ts; and that we are more in danger when we think we are making a big success of things than when we think we are failing miserably. Of course, we shouldn’t be thinking about ourselves at all, but few of us are capable of that. At least we can try to focus on what really matters: God.

If this morning you are a little bleary-eyed, wondering what is the point of going on, I hope you can take heart from this. Our goal is in sight: Easter will soon be here. It doesn’t matter whether we sprint to the end, plod on steadily or limp along with many a fall by the wayside. We just have to keep going. Elijah Sickness does not last for ever; Easter does.


10 thoughts on “Losing Oomph”

  1. This is perfectly timed for me today. I have struggled to sleep for the past couple of nights but I have to make a long train journey today (long to me, at least – over 3 hours, and the longest journey I’ve made since my agoraphobia began).

    I’m thankful to be in the position I’m in where I have been able to progress in my recovery from agoraphobia – I’m travelling to a university interview today in the hope that I can take up the study that I was forced to give up 8 years ago. But despite this sense of being grateful, I do feel bleary-eyed and a little oomph-less this morning.

    My prayers to everyone struggling with oomphlessness this Lent.

  2. Thank you
    This arrived at just the right time for me; at the tail end of my black dog.

    As an aside, have you seen the You Tube video of the US Marines singing ‘Days of Elijah’?

  3. Thank you for your encouragement. Praying steadfastness for you too as we company one another toward our heavenly home.
    Be blessed

  4. Thanks for the realistic yet humerous tone of this reflection and just right for this stage of Lent when the purple in church seems too much! Love the story of St Teresa.

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