wilderness moments.

Can I be uber honest today?  {not that I’m ever not honest…but we’ll just say I’ll open up about an issue that many people just simply don’t talk about. and yes, I said uber, it’s definitely a word that I love and the general population don’t use enough :)}

So my honesty begins with the truth of this new years season: it was tough for me. Even beyond tough; it was just plain awful. {or you could use the words depressing, empty, lifeless or even, dry, if that floats your boat} It wasn’t just one bad day, or even two bad days; it was a consistent battle everyday to feel just good about life.  Ya know that feeling that you can’t shake, kinda like you have a looming cloud over you that keeps any sort of joy or general excitement from entering your brain.  That’s the kind of tough I’m talking about. 

I literally went from moving a thousand miles an hour, going full speed ahead in the fall with school, ministry, teaching and jobs, to a dead stop right before the new year.  The semester ended,  job put on hold, ministry on break, and I was left with crickets chirping on my to do list.  Needless to say, with my responsibilities on hold and a bare schedule for a whole month, I’ve been more than a little restless.  {is there anyone who feels me on this?  do breaks get to you too? or maybe its just us overactive, chaos driven extroverts that experience this…?}

This has just been one of those seasons when I have felt drained of energy….with no motivation to do absolutely 239042692692608622_nPebfiQd_banything…and my idea of getting ready for the day was changing from one pair of pajamas into another clean pair of pajamas {yes folks, it was that bad…I was in complete pajama days. not even yoga pants…full on pjs}. And that is how my new year really started; dry. lifeless. depressing.  And in that immense lull of life, I felt totally weird and alone.  It seemed in my mind that everyone else was having an inspiring break, filled with amazingly awesome and fun experiences…and I was home alone watching romantic comedies on the couch. {it pains me to even type those words…the overachiever in me cringes at the whole situation}

Interestingly enough, Tuesday night was the first Vintage {don’t know what Vintage is…check it out} with our egroups {or small groups} meetings.  I was reconnected with all of these amazing girls, and strangely enough, the reoccurring theme in our discussion was how everyone was experiencing the same dry season! {thank the Lord I’m not alone! :)}

The whole discussion on Tuesday night made me think about how many of us actually experience dry seasons {whether it’s right after new years or throughout the year} and never know that we aren’t alone.  When we think that we are alone in a battle or dip in life we will often stay in that place longer than we are supposed to.  Satan loves to keep us separated from our people, our encouragers and our cheerleaders because he knows if we feel deserted and isolated then we are weaker in resisting his lies.  It’s much easier for Satan’s lies to cloud our whole vision when we don’t have other people keeping our vision in check.  We need each other to spur one another on; we need each other to lift us up when we are falling; we need each other to bring laughter when we are just simply feeling blah.

Even more, Satan loves to keep us feeling alone…and depressed.  He loves when we get stuck in a rut, feeling hopeless and lifeless.  The truth is; there is often a reason and purpose to each dry season we experience.  The feelings of being hopeless and alone in that season are the lie from Satan. {please understand that truth!} We are never alone; God is always with us.  We are never without hope; hope all flows from what Jesus did on the cross once for all time.

So how do we get out of these dry times?  How do we slowly crawl out of out pits and into an abundant life again? {i’m not just talking about the uber spiritual answers now…but the tangible, practical answers of how the heck do I actually start to feel better again!?}

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In my times with the Lord recently, and from conversations I’ve had with some wise friends, I can say that I think there are two spiritual elements that draw us into these dry seasons, and there are two practical things we can do about it.  {notice I said spiritual…this doesn’t even cover the lows in life in regards to seasonal depression…clinical depression…etc. especially in terms of meds, vitamins and all that jazz.  Just a note to be aware of!}

1. Sin. {yup..i said it.} This is an element that we all don’t want to admit exists, we want to pass it off and skip to the next reason, because we don’t want to face our own mistakes and shortcomings.  But I think this is often a huge part of our own wilderness and dry seasons.  Our own disobedience {whether partial, full, intentional or unintentional} will lead us into a barren wilderness.  Not because God wants to punish us there, not because he wants to leave us to rot, but because he wants us to have the opportunity to see our actions or words for what they are {sin and disobedience} and then return to the loving arms of our redeemer.

2. God has something awesome for us to learn or experience. There are so many distractions in our lives; from school, to texting, significant others, jobs…the list never ends.  God won’t compete with all of that commotion in our lives; but he does place us in a circumstance that will allow us to slow down and hear his still small whisper.  Our savior will lead us into the wilderness so that he can whisper tenderly to us there.  We then have no distractions, no emotional barriers and we become humbled enough to finally call upon the name of our Lord to hear what he has to say.  

Can you see yourself in either of these categories? {I sure can… I’ve definitely experienced both forms of wilderness living}

So what do we do next? {this is the practical

We embrace the dry season and find God in it. I mean we truly seek after God in this time, not just throw up some single prayers…but deeply press into the nature and loving arms of our creator.  We eagerly ask him to reveal himself… and then we leave him space to speak! {leave him space by possibly sitting in silence, or having a social media fast for a week, having regular time in his word, or just creating a day of solitude to allow God the platform to whisper into your heart}!  We must seek his word and go before God in humble expectation that He will either point out the sin in our lives or share the truth that He longs for us to know and experience.  And then when God speaks, we either repent of our sin {another word that probably makes some of us cringe…}, turn back from our own disobedience and press into the loving forgiveness of our Savior.  Or we lean into Jesus to hear his divine whisper clarifying for us the truth that he wants our hearts to grab ahold of or the experience he wants us to fully embrace.  

I love that I’m not alone in my dry seasons, I love that we aren’t alone in our dry seasons.  We all experience these times at some point and while the reason for the season will be different among us, we can all grab hold of the same truth. God is God; He is the God of our emptiness, the God of our wilderness and the God of our dry times.  That truth is what gives us hope to get out; that he will not relent to free us from our chains and give us the abundant life that he desperately longs for us to live.  There is a reason for this dry season, but we all must lean into Jesus to figure out what He longs for it to be used for. 

Don’t lose hope in your dry times; you are not alone and abundant life will come again. It’s not my promise to you; it’s His.

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2 thoughts on “wilderness moments.

  1. As I was reading through this, I definitely could relate to your comments about how feeling alone is a lie from Satan. Back in August when I first moved from home down here to TN, it was the toughest thing. I had no friends for support and encouragement (physically present ones anyway), no community of believers around me yet, and just total uncertainty with what lay ahead. Satan definitely took advantage of that time and I just wasn’t aware enough yet of his tactics so it was a sort of unintentional giving in to his lies. When I found myself starting to doubt God’s love for me, I knew something was definitely wrong and had to change. After reaching out to a few incredible & godly friends from back home and allowing them to speak truth back into my life, I slowly was able to find a peace again. I just continued doing what I knew I had to do – searching God’s word for scriptures that spoke about who I am in Christ and the victory we have in Him. My confidence and trust in Him was gradually strengthened, and I was able to go out and get plugged into a church and meet some wonderful new sisters! I know God was using that ‘wilderness’ experience to teach me to depend on Him more and draw me nearer to Himself. Thanks for sharing your heart Laura, I love reading about what God teaches you.

    • Karin, Thanks so much for your sharing part of your story! I love that God spoke such a powerful message to you in the midst of that wilderness time. I would love to hear more of your story, it sounds like God is doing AMAZING stuff in your life! :)

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