January 29, 2017

Winter Is Not Forever by Bob Jones

Some words sound like they mean. Take the word “languish” – defined as “remaining in an unpleasant place.” January can be an intense month for those who are languishing. But there is hope and gratitude.

Dr. Merry Lin, a registered clinical psychologist says, “One of the biggest mental health issues I see on a regular basis isn’t depression or anxiety. Its people who are languishing.”

Languishing is not the presence of mental illness; it’s the absence of mental and emotional vitality. Dr Lin calls it the “winter of your soul.”

The winter of our souls can feel all-consuming and never ending. The good news is winter is not forever.

Dr Lin has over twenty years of experience in counseling individuals, couples, and families on a variety of personal issues.  She found herself “languishing” a few years ago.

Dr Lin observed five things that contributed to the winter of her soul:

1. Living a life of ignored introspection.
2. Action valued over reflection.
3. Rushing through life mindlessly.
4. Not growing through hardships.
5. Not knowing that she was stuck or why she was stuck.

10 Statements Of The Languishing
Use the rankings below to evaluate where you are.
1 = not at all true
2 = sometimes
3 = often
4 = most of the time
5 = completely true

1. I am juggling my responsibilities and feel like I can’t keep up with the demands of life.
2. When I stop I feel emotionally or physically exhausted.
3. I wish I could take a significant break to rest and reflect on my life with some soul-searching.
4. My spiritual life feels dry and lifeless.
5. I have a hard time sensing God’s presence in my life or experiencing His love for me.
6. I seem to struggle with the same issues over and over in my life and don’t know why.
7. I don’t like to think about negative or uncomfortable things for too long and I distract myself to feel better.
8. I’m uncomfortable with strong emotions and would rather focus on practical, sensible things.
9. I feel stuck, knowing I need to make some changes but unsure where to start.
10. People rely on me and think of me as competent, but I don’t know how I feel or if I care anymore.

If your total score is 10-20 you appear to have good self-awareness. Use the opportunity to truly live out what you know.

If your total score is 21-30 your life could use some improvement. Take a look at the scores of 3 and higher to identify what you need to focus on.

If you total score is 31-50 take heed. Seize this opportunity to re-calibrate your life.

Re-calibrating Your Life
1.  Start by simply affirming that God cares about you. He knows where are you and how you feel. He will help you move your life forward.

2. Ask yourself, “What activities, tasks, or relationships are draining the life away from me?”
Write down everything you’ve done – or tried to do – in the past month – your meetings, tasks, events, responsibilities, connections, etc. Are these things sapping your energy or bearing fruit?

3. Note the things that are rooted in fear or insecurity.

4. Work at addressing one issue at a time. Tackle the one you feel is most simple to deal with. Then address the next one.

5. Thank God for his favor.

Taking time to re-calibrate in winter will ready you for spring and the new life God is bringing to you.

Robert (Bob) W. Jones is a recovering perfectionist, who collects Coca-Cola memorabilia and drinks Iced Tea. His office walls are adorned with his sons’ framed football jerseys, and his library shelves, with soul food. He writes to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose.


  1. Thank you so much, Bob, for this thoughtful post; you share some good information. Although I am not presently languishing--I see myself in a new spring season--I have been there in the past and recognize those winter symptoms too well.

    Brenda Leyland

    1. Glad to know you are in " a new spring season." Nice to be in spring during the middle of winter. :)

  2. What a practical post! I took the test and I scored 15. I'm sure there might be other times in my life when the number would be higher but right now I guess I'm in a good place. However, i know so many other people who are not and who would really benefit from your suggestions.

    1. 15. That's good. I'm glad you're in a good place and flourishing.

  3. This is very helpful for people who may think they suffer from depression or anxiety, but are in reality languishing. I scored 18 on the test (phew!). I enjoyed reading your writer bio also :)

    1. Thank you Susan for letting me know you liked my bio. Are you a collector or Coke or other items?

  4. Practical questions to ask oneself. So true that changes can help winter pass into a new season. Looking forward to my Spring. Thanks for this post, Bob.

    1. Thank you Marnie. Spring is on the way!

  5. Thanks for this self-assessment, Bob. Although I'm in the Spring season, your points on recalibrating, epecially working on one issue at a time, were very helpful.

    1. Thank you Sandra. Waiting for a picture of you. :)

  6. Eye-opening and affirming. Thank you for sharing these practical tips!
    Pam Mytroen

    1. Thank you Pam for commenting, for your supportive emails and for helping with this blogsite.


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