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Spiritually Out of Shape

Jan 22, 2024

This post is by Shari Gabourel.


Every now and again, I’m inclined to have a mental meltdown. I try not to exceed two in a given month…but when life keeps happening, the number tends to go up. 

The truth is the mental meltdowns I experienced were more or less spiritual breakdowns. And the breakdowns, as it were, were generally sparked by some perceived crisis, considering my limited perspective. 

A narrow perspective can sometimes be attributed to where an individual is or is not spiritually. When a person is spiritually fit or spiritually in shape, they usually present a firm and convincing character. They put into practice the Biblical assertions that guide Christ followers on how to conduct themselves under pressure. 

Several years ago, my husband telephoned me from a private room at his workplace. His voice unexcited and low, he said, “The investigator has asked to meet with me again.” I asked, “Why?” He replied, “She needs to speak with me regarding the items found on my credit report.” I attempted to assure him that all would be well and that a quick prayer would be sent up to reiterate that fact. Unimpressed by my words of encouragement (or not), my husband promptly terminated the phone call and vowed to call me back after his meeting.

At such time, my husband had secured a managerial position with a prominent research and development firm in Southern California. Although he passed a preliminary background inquiry upon being hired, a subsequent and more invasive background check was initiated. While my husband’s employment with the company was classified as low-risk, he was subjected to the same clearance protocol as those obtaining a high-risk clearance. Unfortunately, he had a number of credit blemishes on his report that had proved problematic and required an explanation. My husband expressed concern whether or not the factual explanations would be acceptable or if they would result in a loss of employment.

After the call, I digested his palatable concern. Now I’m concerned. Could he really lose his job? Please God, No!  What on earth would we do if he were to be involuntarily terminated from his employer?

The thought of this possibility has now elevated my consistently normal blood pressure. I can feel my heart rate increasing. I’m being visited by images of scenarios that suggest life as we know it will adversely change. Will we become delinquent in our bills? Will we have to move? If he lost his job, how soon could he get another one? We’d have to live on my sole income! How’s that going to work? It’s not! Oh my God! What are we going to do?

My friend, these are my beginning signs of a mental meltdown. My thoughts are unleashed and running here and there. What if this? What if that? I’m gravely afraid of a probability that has yet to come to pass.

Sadly, my default had been to begin a perceived crisis by permitting myself to become mentally undone and an emotional mess! 

In other words, I was spiritually out of shape. I didn’t have the appearance of anyone who was a confessed believer in Jesus Christ. I hadn’t been doing my spiritual exercises.

It was as if my mental/spiritual capacities had experienced atrophy from minimal usage. I felt depleted of the spiritual nourishment I had refrained from consuming on a daily basis.

While I’ve been known to recite a number of verses from the Bible and can even differentiate between books found in the Old and New Testament, I needed more than that back then. I needed to be able to draw upon what should be an arsenal of the Word of God deeply rooted in my heart.

So after speaking with my husband and having my mini meltdown, I said a tearful prayer. Shortly thereafter, the following text came to mind: 

Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7NIV).  

As I attempted to mull over the Scripture, word for word, I’m hoping my recollection of the text will serve to remove the anxiety I’m feeling. No such luck!

There’s no question that I am beyond anxious. I am disturbed. I am agitated and worried. I have prayed to the Lord and presented to Him my request. I have also thanked Him for what I hope to be a good outcome. I am now waiting for the peace of God—which by the way transcends all understanding—to guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus

And I’m waiting.

I’m still waiting. 

What exactly am I waiting for?

The peace of God, right?

What is His peace suppose to do?

Guard my heart and guard my mind in Christ Jesus.

What exactly does that feel like? Is there even a feeling associated with this process?

I don’t know. 

I’ve assumed that at some point, my anxiety should dissipate, and my vitals will return to normal. Yet, they have not, and I still feel like I’m “all over the place” mentally.

The truth is, if you haven’t made it a practice to read the Word of God regularly to try to get an understanding of His Word by hearing and listening to God’s word, the odds that you’re going to have a mental meltdown is sharply high. 

Begin to or return to reading the Bible routinely. Never mind that you don’t understand everything you read. That’s not your problem. Allow God to reveal to you what He means. 

If you eat every day, you can ingest the Word of God every day. Whether it be by reading or listening to it (audio or spoken), you can get God’s Word into your system. 

Visit Psalm 119:11. David said, I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you (NIV). Will you still sin? Probably. But probably a lot less than you would by not “hiding God’s Word in your heart.” 

As for my husband’s investigation, thanks be to God, his credit record survived the inquiry and his employment was secure. 


Shari Gabourel is a Generation Xer, an aficionado of all thing’s chocolate, and a proficient coffee drinker. She holds a B.S. in Business Management and a Graduate Certificate in Christian Ministry. While working towards the certificate through The King’s University, Shari had the unforgettable privilege of studying abroad at the historic Oxford University. Her husband and two teenage daughters are transplants from Southern California to North Carolina and are gradually adjusting to the southeast. Shari continues her love of writing and studying the Word of God. When she’s not writing, she and her family enjoy playing Uno while overindulging on Whit’s Frozen Custard.

Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

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