What do you do when you are lacking inspiration or motivation? I sat down to write this newsletter article and nothing came to me. I started three different articles and each fizzled out after the first paragraph. I feel as though my mind has caught the summer doldrums. I even googled “Free Newsletter Articles” to see what I would find!
Just like my writing inspiration, our Christian life is a series of mountains and valleys. Sometimes our spiritual lives feel like a hike through a lush forest and other times it feels like trudging through a sandy desert hoping… praying… to find water soon.
Sometimes we bear some responsibility for these highs and lows. Many of us know the thrill of stepping out in faith in some way and seeing the hand of God move in our lives. These moments don’t happen without us making a decision to exercise our faith. Sometimes we make our own desert by not watering our faith. Our habits of prayer or Bible study or devotion or worship attendance or Christian conversation slip and we are the poorer for it.
But sometimes the mountain or valley is not due to something we have done or not done. God is purposely taking us through either a season of thrilling wonder and faith or a season of desert wandering according to His good will for our lives.
If God has takes us into the desert, some fine things happen during these dry times. Spiritual hardiness is not built only in the sublime and powerful spiritual experiences many of us have had. Hardiness is built when things get hard! Muscles get strong by lifting heavy things. Paul tells us to rejoice in our sufferings because produces perseverance perseverance, character; and character, hope. This hope does not disappoint us because it is in God himself who loves us. (Romans 5). When God leads you to it, God will lead you through it. Rest assured that God is doing something good.
“But what if I have done it to myself?” you ask. What if my habits or decisions have led me to this place? God loves you no less! You might look at your desertification a little differently. God may be letting you feel spiritually parched as a form of discipline. The book of Hebrews has words for those undergoing discipline: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11). In this case, you need to let yourself be trained by the way you are feeling as a result of not praying or not going to church or not reading the Bible or in some other way letting the spiritual habits and focus of your life slip. God lets us feel the dryness, the emptiness that comes from moving away from him, because he loves us. He wants us to notice the distance and turn around.
If you are in a spiritual high place, fantastic! It’s a wonderful place to be. If you are in a spiritual low place, turn toward God instead of away from him. Examine your life for ways you might have walked away. And continue the road of faith. You, like a runner in training, are growing stronger through this difficult time.
Peace be with you,