Caught in a Flu Funk

Posted: October 7, 2009 in Uncategorized

Recently I sent an urgent text message to my best friend, Pam.

“Is it possible to have emotional swine flu?  Because I think I might.”

She laughed and suggested a lot of really funny ideas for ridding oneself of the dreaded disease.  I will spare you those details, but I’m still wondering about this.  Here are a few of the symptoms I was experiencing:

  1. A desire to pummel the next driver who cuts me off, fails to signal his turn or in any other way makes me mad in traffic.  Otherwise known as:  “The desire to pummel all other drivers.”
  2. A longing for comfort food like mac & cheese and mashed potatoes.  Okay, maybe that one is a problem even on the best days, but it’s intensified on emotional flu days by a “this will solve my problems” mentality.
  3. An aversion to happy people.
  4. The ability to cry at the drop of a hat.
  5. The inability to think about the future because, “This day is never going to END!”

When I was little and got sick, my mom would say, ‘Bo is feeling punky today.”  That’s the best way I can describe the way I’d been feeling emotionally.  Not dying.  Not hopeless.  Just punky, you know?

I know there are those who would say Christians should never have down days, but I disagree.  Almost all my Bible heroes experienced a day or two or two hundred of glum.  Discouragement.  Gray sadness that even edged its way on over into despair.  As I emerge from the season, I can see that I was a good long mile from despair, but definitely traveling through the shadowy land of sorrow that is sometimes a part of the journey to joy.

And maybe that’s where you find yourself today.  If so, I love you and I will pray for you because I know how you feel.  If not, maybe you could add your prayer power to those who are trudging through life in a fallen, foggy world and have hit a rough patch on the trail.  Maybe this will help, and maybe it won’t, but here’s what’s worked for me to deal with my H1N1 of the soul:

  1. Start the day, every day, in the word.  Even when it’s hard.  Even when you’re tired.  Even when it seems dry and dusty and very far from the grit and gloom of your actual life.  The Word is the hope we have for new life and it’s the easiest thing to abandon when times are tough.  I could post a bunch of scriptures to read when you’re discouraged, but I think the Holy Spirit is so good at leading us to living water, so I’ll stay out of the way on that.
  2. Exercise.  It’s just good for you in so many ways.
  3. Share your heart with someone – but not everyone.  If I tell one person I’m struggling, it helps to bring things into perspective.  If I tell several people, it becomes my identity.  Ew.
  4. Be intentionally thankful.  Think of things.  Make lists.  Absorb good moments when God shows up and reminds You that He is the giver of every good gift.

My little virus was temporary and was caused – I think – by weariness, transition and a few other miscellaneous things.  I don’t enjoy those setbacks, but I’m trying to learn – in the process – to let His healing go deep and His love reach into the places that are weak, but hidden away in my strong seasons.  He is good to work every single thing – all things, all seasons, all emotions – together for our good, to make us look more like His own dear and wonderful Son.

Wishing you joy.  Believing in hope.  Standing in faith for a flu-free day.


  1. Jen Hoffmann says:

    just what i need to hear at just the moment when i’m about to despair…how do you do that so often Bo? Someday i hope to be half the encouragement you are…well, maybe i’d really like to be more than half, but today i have EH1N1 and half seems like a good goal
    thanks. again.

  2. Karen says:

    Wow Bo, this is crazy. It is just what I’m feeling, too! All week I’ve felt out of sorts, and “punky” fits perfectly. I’d never thought of it as emotional flu until now.

    For me it’s a combination of emotional, spiritual and physical weariness…and at the very time that I’m feeling lethargic and blue I’ve also got a strong desire for productivity. It’s like my brain, mind, heart and body are all at odds with each other. I’ve churned out several written pieces, re-organized my bible reading plan for the upcoming month, started a food journal on the nifty website you shared yesterday, and I went for a walk at the nature preserve with my middle daughter today!

    I think what is pulling me out of it, and this sounds cheesy but dang it, it’s the truth…is that the Joy Project is in the works and we are going to have TWO groups not one and a college student at GFU that I only remotely know is coming and is inviting house mates to come and HOW CRAZY IS THAT? If God does anything more with the Joy Project today He’s going to overwhelm me.

    So Bo you are just amazing. This post was perfect and I’m going to annoy several friends by copying it and sending it to them. Bless you and bless your tomorrow….you are like a spiritual flu shot girl!

  3. bolovesjoe says:

    Wow – both of you ladies are just the ticket for me today I tell you! Thank you for the encouragement…I’m blessed to call you both my friends.

    Karen, I had one DVD come back with some “skipping” issues…if you run into that, please let me know. Regardless, I think I’ll send you the new ones when they come in (the second printing are on two discs instead of one and so they’ll just be better all around, but we were trying to give people only ONE dvd to keep track of. 🙂 ) Okay. That’s it from me.

  4. bolovesjoe says:

    And another thing, Jennie – it was definitely warm enough for a walk today! We need to just defy the temperature and make it happen!

  5. ELizabeth McColl says:

    OK, Re. the drivers in the Pacific North West, Bend in particular…..I was so thankful when I was there that I was not honked at for going too slowly or for not taking off fast enough when the red light changed so I find it hard to imagine that someone cut you off…..apparently it does happen…

    Re. Christians shouldn’t have down days…..try reading the Lament psalms…22, 44……..they are there for a purpose……..and don’t get me started on Job, Jeremiah….Jonah…..

    All in all, it’s good to share these things and I especially like you sharing that sharing your heart with a friend is good….sharing with everyone and it becomes your identity….what a good premise to live by…

    Thanks, Bo. I would give much to be in Bend right now….

  6. Taylor says:

    Thanks Bo!! I needed that today!!!

  7. […] My schedule looks good, life is going pretty well, I think I’m through the worst of the nasty EH191.  I’m just not all that excited about Monday.  So, when I woke up, I felt myself slipping […]

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