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Why Don’t I Feel Inspired Anymore?

Why Don’t I Feel Inspired Anymore?

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Question:

I am experiencing a major lull in my spiritual motivation. I started getting into Jewish things around a year ago, but now I just don’t have the passion for it anymore. Rosh Hashanah is coming—last year I was all inspired, this year I don’t feel any drive whatsoever to attend services. Is there something I can do to revive my enthusiasm?

Answer:

Do you remember how you learnt to ride a bike? Your first bicycle was fitted with training wheels on both sides, to keep you from tipping over. The training wheels allowed you to get the feel of riding the bike and build confidence. You felt so good, speeding along and never falling.

Then, just as you started to get comfortable, your parents removed the training wheels and told you to get on the bike and ride. So you got on, rode for half a second and then lost balance and fell flat. “How can I ride without training wheels?” you thought. But your parents insisted that you try again. So you did, and again you fell.

Your frustration built up, to the point that you were ready to give in. You may have wondered why your parents took the training wheels off in the first place. But had they not, you would never learn to ride your bike all on your own. It’s harder to ride without training wheels, but only then is it really you riding the bike, using your own skill rather than depending on outside help. You may fall a few times, but as long as you get back up and keep pedaling, eventually you get your balance and the bike rides smoothly along the road.

When someone gets in touch with their Jewishness for the first time, there is a thrill and an excitement unlike anything else in the world. This initial inspiration is a little helping hand from G‑d, spiritual training wheels that help us start our journey. But once we get the hang of it, once we have advanced along the spiritual path and are ready to go deeper, the training wheels are removed and we have to ride on our own. The inspiration disappears, the motivation fades, and we are left dangling.

Here’s the real test. When the excitement wears off, there are those who drop out of the spiritual life. They think that the fun is over, this spiritual stuff isn’t for me, and they move on. If we do that, then we miss out the chance to go to the next level: to connect to our souls through our own efforts. Precisely the moment when the inspiration fizzles out is when the real soul work begins. Rather than being propped up by divinely created inspiration, we have to look within and start riding on inspiration that we create ourselves. The spiritual path has to become ours, something we work for and earn.

We will fall again, but every fall brings a chance to take things to a new level. Keep on pedaling, inspired or not, and you will advance further and further in your soul’s journey.

Feeling uninspired? Your training wheels are off. You don’t need them anymore. Get up and ride.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Vivian Warshaw Los Angeles via chabadchatsworth.com December 7, 2017

Just come. Don't worry about being inspired or passionate about prayer. That will come if you come. Spirituality is like love. It begins with lust and then deepens into something far better, far deeper and lasting much much longer. Come join your congregation - socialize and study with them, get to know your Rabbi on a personal level. My congregation is my community - the people I see week in and week out, who ask nothing of me except my friendship. When we lost our daughter I learned the true meaning of community when my house was crowded with shul friends for the entire shivah period and we were surrounded by comforting people during the sheloshim as well. We go every Shabbat. It is the center of our lives. Reply

Daniele Silva December 1, 2017

Great explanation!!!!!!! Reply

Patricia Deneen Montgomery October 29, 2017

Every new experience is exciting. That's why many marriages fail when the newness wears off. The couple may think something is intrinsically wrong with the marriage, but it's just reached the place where they are going to have to work at the relationship. Feelings of love and devotion are no longer automatic. Feelings follow action, so we just have to figure out what action to take to deepen our relationship with Hashem, and the feelings will follow. Reply

Anonymous Downtown Los Angeles, California December 2, 2017
in response to Patricia Deneen:

Romance is a necessity? Add a comment...Wouldn't the answer be to keep things as they are, rather than risk the pain and suffering of a continually diminishing romance? Without romance there is little else to enjoy. I have to have romance or I just feel lost and empty. Reply

Jacob Glick Brooklyn December 6, 2017
in response to Patricia Deneen:

my marriage fell apart This is the second time we separated I tried to commit suicide I learned that the woman has the power of taking back her husband or not. this time she didn't. She does not want to stay married and wants to get even from the jewish marriage. I am surprised that the rabbi didn't try to save our marriage maybe because she's a woman Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles December 7, 2017
in response to Jacob Glick:

Relationship Too Messey to save? Sanhedrin Feedback Sounds enormously painful. Well, have a growing awareness that relationships are becoming the vehicles for rampand prodigious unseen evil influences and evil inclination among the public that are just plain running riot unchecked, and unchallenged.
marriage and family relationships are just one category of institutions that are decaying uncontrollably.
You cannot control the decay and decline of a relationship, you'll get buried beneath the avalanche if you persist in heroic efforts to salvage the rubble of a messy, relationship which is beyond redemption. Move on. Live on. Let God be your only source of love and rejuvenation. Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles December 8, 2017
in response to Jacob Glick:

Sanhedrin Feedback I have a theological question. Isn't it a terrible sin in Judaism to bump yourself off? It is in the Catholic faith. Reply

Anonymous Los Angeled August 17, 2017

It You Are Uninspired You Probably Need A Breakthrough But you are inspired. You are just not manifesting it yet.
You probably need a breakthrough. Reply

Anonymous Fl 33180 July 31, 2017

It amazing that the Rabbi has given us an example of bicycle but it seems everyone else had another experience and want to tell their opinions I think to take from each one experiences can help and provide something to continue life and believing in all mighty G-d Reply

Anonymous Near Hollywood March 16, 2017

There is Just An Abundance of Inspiration Everywhere I find too much inspiration. In my home and outside my home, inspiration is everywhere. Humanity has inspiration to spare. Tap into the stream of inspiration, it's like an oasis. It's like a stream of cool water in the desert. Just tap into it, drink from it and become an inspiration for others and you will surely be inspired from the source of inspiration which for me is the Joy of the Holy Spirit.
Inspiration is eager to be yours. Reply

Ruth Goldberg Ives Los Angeles August 3, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Sweet Inspiration That's a really neat example. Sometimes there is so much inspiration that you would like to turn down the volume a bit. But how do you keep from dampening inspiration too much? Reply

Sue October 11, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Wellspring of Compassion Hallo, I was looking for inspiration today, about prayers for rain during Sukkoth and Shemini, when excessive water is not what our nations need at all. We are not desertification, neither is it warm here, so I asked a Rabbi if there are sanctions that guide people against unaware excess of demand.
Your lovely mindset is the answer, surely. To pray for that wellspring of mindfulness that is the Joy of the Holy Spirit is a more universal approach to those "days of our joy". Reply

yaacov Atlanta via chabadofcobb.com March 16, 2017

Nice article. Now I'm gonna go ride 10 miles! Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles August 3, 2017
in response to yaacov:

Sweet Inspiration How will you tap into the stream of inspiration while riding? Music? Audio book? Reply

Joseph Ferrara Woodside March 1, 2017

David , did the best thing he encouraged himself in the Lord. Sometimes when I read the scriptures its seems like water just running through the pipes. Then I remember a verse in Isaiah where it says , " my word will not return to me void , but it will prosper in the thing whereto I have sent it ", that is a great promise which motivates me to seek Him with all of my heart and He tells us we will be found by Him when are heart is heading in the right direction and down the right path . Unto thee will I lift up my soul are cry should be and He will surely lift it up. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn July 15, 2017
in response to Joseph Ferrara:

Nice!✡ Reply

Shelli Rockville February 28, 2017

Look around you. Judaism is great! Read a book by a Jewish author, celebrate our wonderful gift. We know so much! Take your gift of Jewishness, and embrace it! Reply

Anonymous Tucson February 11, 2017

To Anonymous in Albuquerque I appreciate your compassionate response. I guess I'm a little too sensitive to ridicule. Maybe it's from feeling a little insecure in my knowledge. Hebrew has long been a struggle for me, and my biblical knowledge still isn't the greatest. About the latter I am reading the narrative portions (Joshua through II Kings) of the bible nightly. I'm using the Artscroll Tanach with commentaries. Saying "No, I'm doing this instead" has never come easily to me, but I should learn to do it. Practice might make perfect. Reply

Anonymous Paradise, CA February 8, 2017

If you need inspiration to overcome a lull... I recommend Tanya, specifically Chabad Rabbi Krasnianski's Tanya class, at tanyaclass.com, Book of the Intermediates,Tanya: Chapter 04 – Part 3 – audio Torah. While elucidating text from Tanya, he explains what is really happening here in this world when we engage with Torah and Mitzvoth and what HaShem is transmitting to us ...it will surprise you. Reply

yenty goldstien November 21, 2016

Wow mamash inspired! Thank you so much! I can't wait for Rosh Hashana Reply

Ruth J. Goldberg- Los Angeles, California October 27, 2016

Inspiration! I am am just overflowing with Inspiration. I've just oodles of inspiration. Music inspires me. Singing, playing an instruments, even whistling, listening to inspiring works of music by the masters, also all kinds of music ordinary people can be inspiring. I love all kinds of music and musical instruments of every type from various countries. I like ancient music and I like contemporary music too. But of course my ultimate and highest religious inspiration is derived from old traditional English and Celtic Hymns and praises to God.

When that your inspiration tank is on "E", try listening to inspiring music to lift up your flagging spirits. Even children's music can be uplifting. Reply

Chris Frase September 22, 2016

Thank you for the explanation. Often simple parallels open our eyes and give us the understanding we seek. Reply

Uriel September 18, 2016

I find reciting Tehillim to work well to kindle my fire Reply

Yankeleh Thailand September 15, 2016

inspiration I am answering not as a truly observant person. I think age at times has a lot to do with inspiration. When you get to a, "was there, did it all," stage, you sometimes lose inspiration. I don't look to God for inspiration. I look at myself and ask myself what needs to get done, and I do it, and this inspires me. This is inspiration and keeps me at 76 feeling like 50 again. I don't ask God for favors, and don't look to religious inspiration. We rely on religion too much instead of ourselves and our own initiatives. Reply

Eli Isaccson August 14, 2016

Thanks for this, even though that sounds cheesy. Reply

s UK July 27, 2016

ChaBaD Lifeline If we are surrounded by people who do not share our love of HaShem then often we will find ourselves struggling.

I have found ChaBaD to be a really truly inspiring lifeline.

Even those who live in a close knit ChaBaD community will experience set backs. The challenge is to keep studying Torah and even when our foot slips, know that HaShem understands our struggles and is there with us every step of the way.

Maybe, ChaBaD will be able to set up an online community support group to help people who do not live close to a ChaBaD centre. However, this would need financial support and people would have to consider either paying for such a service or making regular substantial donations, should such a service be made available. Reply

Patricia Jarrett Jacksonville July 25, 2016

Love this!! Great lesson! Reply

Summer Epstein Talent July 19, 2016

Convert's losing inspiration, Get a good OLD Prayer book and spend much time with your nose and your heart in it. I have been at it for 15 years and still do it. Oh talk to G-D. Tzipporah Reply

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