“Some people say faith is a childish game. Play on, children, like it’s Christmas day. Sing me a song, sing me a melody. Sing out loud, you’re a symphony. I want you to live forever, underneath the sky so blue…Take courage when the road is long. Don’t ever forget you are never alone.”
Do you ever just go through the roughest spiritual dry patch & you have no idea when it’s going to end or what it’s going to take to spark something inside you again? I’m there. I’ve hit a brick wall, and it sort of feels like doors are slamming shut rather than opening. Now I know, something good is coming. Heck, good things are happening all around me. This is not an ungrateful post. It’s a “I’m so stuck in one place & my mind is moving so fast that it hurts” post. I’m at the most beautiful college in the entire world. I have the best job anyone could ever ask for. I have the most amazing people doing life with me & taking this walk with me. I have a God who has told me that there is nothing I can do that will make Him love me any more or any less.
My mind is moving at a million miles an hour & I’m ready to just shut it down for a few days (however, that would be a terrible, terrible idea). I’m discovering that it is becoming harder and harder to just BE. STILL. That is all I want, and I’m beginning to realize I have to set up my own boundaries to get to that place. Prayer is hard, and finding time in The Word is nearly impossible, but life is even harder without those things. I know these are so important. So so so important, and yet, I still struggle to find a balance. A balance of run-this-far and jump-this-high and cross-this-off and don’t-eat-that and make-time-for-this and just-one-more-coffee-date and pray-pray-pray and fall-to-your-knees and study-for-this and you-don’t-have-time-to-cry. It’s too much at once, and I haven’t figured out how to deal with it all yet.
I think what’s happened is I’ve been pouring out and not filling up. I’ve drained myself, and it’s time to find that living water again. He’s here. He is always here. So while I might think I’m going through a dry patch and I have these moments of why isn’t He listening to me? I know that He is there. A couple of weeks ago, while we were sitting in Adirondack chairs outside of Morgan-Deerfield and staring at the stars on a Sunday night, a dear friend reminded me that God answers prayer in 4 ways: yes, no, not right now, or I’m planning something so much better, so please, be patient. That was something I’ve been needing to hear, so desperately. I think I kept praying and eventually gave in because I just subconsciously thought, “Oh, well, I guess He doesn’t hear me. I’ll just keep on struggling with this and try to deal with it myself.” And that was so superficial of me. Why on earth would I think He didn’t hear me? Of course He hears me. He hears the things that just kind of skip through my mind that I don’t even spend that much time dwelling on, so He must hear the things that consume my mind. I know He does, and that is what will get me through this patch.
In the midst of this period of dryness, I’ve created a prayer wall in my room. Every day, I write down the things I’m struggling with or the things I’m grateful for or the things I’m surrendering to God on a note card and tape it up on the wall above my bed. It’s a wonderful reminder to be grateful for everything I have, even when it feels like the world around me won’t stop spinning.
I’m the kind of person who wants to do things on my own. Not only do I want to be independent, but I want others to be dependent on me. I crave that, and it’s another thing I’m learning about myself. Sometimes, this is a great thing, especially in ministry when you sometimes just need to be a presence to people without any words being said, or when people seek advice and you actually have the words to say. However, at other times, this is so bad. I had a teacher in high school tell me, “If you’re tired of people walking all over you, then get up off the floor.” So much truth. These are the words that I love to be reminded of. I want people to depend on me, but I need to take care of myself first. I need to make sure I have my stuff together before I try to help others.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” // John 16:33 ESV
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” // Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
I truly hope that you were able to identify with something in this. I know it might have been a bunch of me rambling and ranting (as per usual), but I hope you leave this knowing that He listens. The God of the universe listens to you & me, and He understands us. Every trial & tribulation that we face, He has been through it. He has lived it. He is answering us though, every single day, even when we think we hear nothing. He cherishes you & He loves you. He loves you with a love that is not corrupt or manipulative or pushy. He loves you despite your short-comings and sin and mistakes you make over and over again. Not only does He still love you, even after You question His will for your life, but He relentlessly pursues you & chases after you. He seeks you out & desires your heart. He delights in you. How loved does that make you feel? Take heart & rest in that today, for He has overcome the world.
P.S. “The Lord delights in you as you are in this moment.” EA