I've fallen head first into the Ramadan dip. My circadian rhythm has been knocked completely off kilter and I'm stuck in a cycle on-off siestas that do not respect social norms.
I put off writing yesterday and today because I didn't feel that I had anything of value to say. Still, I went through the motions and propped myself up against the desk and stared cross-eyed at the screen. Nothing came.
I started to think that no one would notice if I didn't post anything today. I could get away it. So I turned off the computer and drifted off into another pointless nap.
Man Having Siesta (Barcelona 2007)
My hope is that by speaking about my Mid-Ramadan crisis, you might find some encouragement in your own situation. There have been a few things which have challenged and encouraged me over the last two days, some of which happened only a few moments ago.
While I was procrastinating, I spotted some tweets that Najeeba Syeed Miller had written,
"Love the honesty Ramadan induces in our relationship with our bodies; it reveals resilience & frailty. Perhaps the two great lessons of Ramadan include recognizing the wonders & limits of the human body and learning to ask for help from others. That we can be whole by accepting brokenness and living in a state of relational, communal learning & healing."
I knew all too well the weakness of my body. I'd felt limp all day. But the thing that stood out for me was about having the humility to ask others for help.
So I did.
I wrote a quick tweet about lacking motivation and within a few seconds I received lots of messages of encouragement from people telling me that I was in their prayers. I went from feeling alone and useless to feeling uplifted and supported. A few moments later I began to write this post.
Ramadan is a great reminder that you don't have to muddle through life on your own. We can all support each other and although the kind things we do might seem small they often have a huge impact.
Najeeba's words reminded me of an article I had read by pastor Wes Magruder. As you know, I've been an avid fan of his blog this year and if I ever I'm presented with an opportunity to speak about it, I leap on the opportunity. On this particular occasion, it seemed that the Ramadan gremlin had struck him down too and he felt drained and on the verge of a cold. From his physical weakness, came an inspired article about accepting and embracing our physical weakness during Ramadan because they are reminders that,
"When we are weak, then, God promises to be strong. When we falter and our bones quake, God offers to renew our strength."
But what if you don't feel good enough to accept God's mercy this month? This is certainly something that I've struggled with this week.
During Ramadan we're essentially exposing ourselves to our own weakness and vulnerability. To the outside world, we might seem super pious because we're fasting and watching our language but the truth is that during Ramadan, each and every one of us is forced to look in the mirror. A harshly lit, changing room mirror where we can see our character stripped bare with all its flaws. And it's not pretty.
This is when a lack of motivation sets in. We think we're not good enough. That we haven't lived up to our intentions. And worst of all, we start to think that we don't deserve the blessings of this month.
How should we respond to these feelings?
I, as well as many people, was deeply moved by the latest Quran Weekly video, in which Nouman Ali Khan explains a passage in the Quran that says nothing we can do as humans is so bad that it is beyond God's capacity to forgive. This tells us that we shouldn't allow ourselves to be debilitated by regret or guilt. It doesn't matter if you've spent the last three weeks pottering about and not achieving anything. That's in the past. You still have the here and now and each new passing moment is an opportunity to turn it all around.
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Thank you to all those who encouraged me this evening. It meant a lot.
Links of the Day
If you're feeling low or lacking motivation, take five minutes out of your day to watch Nouman Ali Khan's Video on Forgiveness here (There's a short recitation in Arabic at the beginning so don't worry that you can't understand!)
Check out Wes Magruder's article Weakness is Good for inspiration.
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