Maybe you’re not quite depressed, but you’re definitely not flourishing. You are experiencing “languishing.”
What is “Languishing”?
In his New York Times article on the subject, organizational psychologist Adam Grant summarizes this feeling as, “a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.”
Holistic Help for Languishing
With this complex emotional state, we need to think about how to get our whole selves healthy. God has made us whole people—body, mind, and soul—and he wants to heal all of us.
Spiritual Questions for Languishing
1. How are my spiritual disciplines going? Discipline helps us do our duty. And doing our duty can turn into delight. So, if I feel lackluster with the things of God, I can start with re-upping my spiritual practices.
2. My devotional Bible reading? This daily practice provides my spiritual nourishment.
3. My prayer? Perhaps I need to pray more frequently during my day. Or perhaps I need to spend better prolonged time in focused prayer.
4. My other spiritual disciplines? Whether it’s fasting, service, evangelism, or others. God has given me tools to grow in his grace. Am I using them well right now?
Relational Questions for Languishing
5. Do I really have community? I need strong ties with family, among friends, and with fellow Christians. Is my Small Group a trusted community for me?
6. Am I being transparent and vulnerable? Unless I really share my life—its ups and its downs—I can’t expect to gain intimacy with others or really grow through my circumstances.
Mental Questions for Languishing
7. Am I practicing mental rest? I must eliminate some things so that I can focus on one thing. Whether in parenting, recreation, or work, this is how my mind works best.
8. Am I practicing mental challenge? A healthy brain is one that is challenged. Am I reading a book I wouldn’t normally pick up, or engaging my mind with something new or different?
Emotional Questions for Languishing
9. What am I feeling right now? Perhaps I need to increase my emotional vocabulary to put a name to it. But my emotions are indicators of something happening deeper down that needs addressing. So, I need to be able to first identify what I’m feeling.
Physical Questions for Languishing
11. How is my nutrition? If I’m eating whatever I want, it’s likely effecting the health of my body. But I can eat healthier this week.
12. What am I doing for physical activity? It doesn’t have to be a gym membership; but I need to get some kind of exercise multiple times each week. This helps me regain energy, strength, and mental focus.
13. How’s my sleep? I may need a bed time. Or I may need to take other steps to get healthy sleep that will empower my days’ efforts. Rest is God’s gift to me, and it reminds me that I’m not the one who “neither slumbers or sleeps” (Ps. 121:1-8).
Holistic Health in a New Season
Right now can be a new season. Find one of these questions to ask yourself. Answer honestly. And renew your commitment to health in that area. That’s your start to find Jesus’s “rest for your soul” (Matt. 11:28-30) as you take on his yoke. And, through it, he’ll lead you from languishing toward flourishing.