Thursday, September 20, 2012

What to Know When You Plateau

It's a great feeling to see results after hard work in the gym. Whether you lose pounds or inches, or your energy levels have risen, or you're sleeping better, those results are rewarding. Knowing you worked your little booty off sweating, pushing through the pain, and that it's making you stronger — well, that's when it's easy. But what happens when you stop seeing results?

The very same thing can happen in your spiritual life. You've been having your quiet time, uncovering the layers of your flesh and becoming more and more intimate with God, and suddenly, you plateau. What does that mean? How do we move past it?

It happens to everyone.

Know that you're not the only one who plateaus. It's not necessarily something you've done or haven't done that's stopped you in your tracks. When you first begin working out, you can drop weight and get healthier than you were so quickly. You make progress so easily. The plateau happens when you've been doing everything right. Your body adapts to that level of activity and catches up with your mind. You don't gain weight, but you don't lose any either. You don't make any more progress, and it can be very frustrating.

Spiritually plateauing happens to everyone too. That's why the Bible says to renew our mind each and every day. Even doing that, you can still reach a point where you feel bored or stagnant in your relationship with God, and in turn, with others. 

You're ready to move to the next level.

This one's pretty obvious. So you've plateaued, and you've got two options: to slip back, do less work, and get less healthy OR do better and get more healthy. The choice is easy. The problem is how do we do better? 

The good news is that when you realize you've hit a plateau, you can be sure that you're body is ready to go to the next level. Now's the time to really dig deep and explore why you've plateaued.

Physically speaking, is it because you've been doing the same workout routine for months on end? Have you been running and sprinting like an Olympic marathoner but haven't touched a weight in years? Do you need to focus on strength? Endurance? Flexibility? 

Spiritually speaking, these questions can be a bit more tiresome, because our flesh resists change. We resist reflecting on how we may need to dig deeper into our souls and ask those hard questions because that requires us being vulnerable. We live in a world that encourages self-sufficiency, but to get past the plateau, we must ask ourselves: Are we hurt? Are we disappointed? Do we have regrets? Which areas of our life are we not letting God in?

Either way, the only way to do better is to ask these hard questions and make a change.

It's time to change it up.

This part of the journey is just that — a journey. Experiment with different activities for your mind, body and spirit. It's trial and error. After you've asked those questions, sometimes you still don't hear a clear answer.

My only answer is to try something different.

Physically, try swimming. Try yoga. Try group exercise. Make a workout buddy. Go outside. Go inside. Take a week or two off.

Spiritually, make a change too. First of all, wake up. When I've hit a wall spiritually, it's usually when my eyes open to the things I've been ignoring for a long time. Maybe I've been neglecting an area of my life that I really need to pray about or surrender to God. Maybe I've been sweeping some kind of hurt under the rug or stuffing some of my feelings, and this plateau is happening because they don't all fit inside me anymore. They're beginning to overflow. Let me tell you, this plateau can be very overwhelming, but there is hope.

With any plateau, know, more than anything, that you are moving forward. You are growing. You are healing. God is working when you feel like you are not.

Personally, I struggle in a plateau because I tend to think of myself as a strong woman, and when I hit this wall, I feel weak. And I hate being weak. I like to take care of other people. It's hard to let God take care of me.

What kind of plateaus have you experienced? I'd love to discuss this more with you in the comments. Thanks in advance!


  1. I linked up to this post today- thanks for a great post and a great reminder!

    here's the link:

  2. Thanks, Tami! So happy you linked to it on your blog. I truly appreciate it! :) Blessings to you!

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