I admit it.
I’ve done my share of “putting on a happy face” in my lifetime, but, I’m learning to be open and honest. So, I’ll be honest in saying that lately I’ve been feeling very spiritually dry.
If you took a glance at previous blogs or you’re one of the very few and far between who actually read this, you’d catch a trend of the last semester being a very eye-opening, growing, challenging, etc. time for me in my life. It was awesome. It was scary but, it was awesome. I’ve gotten the privilege of talking about all I’ve learned and have been learning with teens and adults this summer which has been very cool. I’m blessed.
But, life is full of mountain top highs and lots of lows, and I feel as though I’ve plateaued somewhat, or I’ve just stumbled into some dryness. Day after day and night after night I’m immersed in sermons and music and sermons and more sermons and more hymns and more worship leaders and more Hillsong covers and more sermons. I hear incredible men of God speak nothing but truth into thousands of lives day in and day out. I have scripture thrown at me left and right. I work with twenty something Godly people who challenge me and serve me and love on me 24/7. I watch teens and adults give their lives to Christ. I see Compassion children sponsored and lives changed and the Gospel lived out. I’m practically swarming in Bible land.
You may ask, “How can you feel spiritually dry when you’re immersed in THAT all the time??”
Yeah, exactly, I’m immersed in THAT ALL the time. It’s frighteningly easy to become indifferent and apathetic. It’s easy to become self-righteous. It’s easy to become jaded. It’s easy for it to become routine.
Dude, I feel so distant. I felt so connected to God, so close to Him…but, I don’t right now.
Our schedules are hectic, decent time alone with God is scarce and many of the times you do get to settle down for a little while, you can barely keep your eyes open long enough to open your Bible. Sometimes I feel as though I’m reading just to know I did, but I’m not letting it penetrate my heart and change me.
I’m starting to get pretty tired which causes me to go way inward. It’s so easy for me to get really selfish and lazy and look out for number one. I’m fighting all of these things daily…hourly…minute by minute.
It’s easy at this point to start believing the lies Satan tells me. The ones that say I’m not good enough, or Godly enough…that I’m no use to the team…even the superficial ones like that I’m fat and ugly and disgusting.
I feel as though my daily prayer has been for God to come back to me…even though I know He hasn’t gone anywhere. I want to feel His presence. I want to know Him. I want Him to reveal more and more to me about who He is and what He loves. I want the joy that I had in enjoying Him over these past few months. I don’t know where it went.
This morning in staff devotional we studied Psalm 126.
“When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.”
Basically, it’s a psalm of lament that recalls a previous time of God’s mercy and grace on His people. Out of this dry, difficult period, the psalmist begins this prayer to God in remembrance of this incredible time in the past when God “restored the fortunes of Zion (Jerusalem)”. Where he filled their mouths “with laughter” and their tongues with “shouts of joy”. The Psalmist declares that “The LORD has done great things for us”.
Then the psalm turns to a prayer for renewed restoration, taking encouragement from past events of renewal and compassion and mercy and mighty movements from the Lord to pray for more of it.
My fingers touched verse 4 as I read it over and over.
“Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!”
The Negeb is the arid southern region of Judah. It’s extremely dry. It’s a desert and stands in stark contrast to the lush northern region.
That’s where I feel like I am right now. I’m in my very own spiritual Negeb, and I’m crying out, “GOD SAVE ME! God RESTORE my soul!” …crying out for streams of water to run in the dryest of the dry.
I want to fight for authenticity as a friend of mine often prays for. I don’t want to fake my way through the summer pretending that I’m constantly on a spiritual high, feel very close to God, and don’t struggle with anything. I struggle with so much, but, the beauty of the Cross is that God has redeemed my soul and Jesus has conquered sin and death and has reconciled me to God while I was yet a sinner and filthy rags was all I had to offer, the Holy Spirit lives inside of me and the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the grave lives inside of ME, and I am no longer a slave to sin but a slave to righteousness. The Holy Spirit is groaning on my behalf and is praying for ME in accord with the Father’s heart and will for me. Holy cow. This is great news.
So this is my prayer in the desert…when all that is in me feels dry. This is my prayer in my hunger and need, my God is the God who provides.
So, that’s where I’m kinda at right now. Don’t get me wrong, my summer has been incredible so far and continues to be awesome. My team is wonderful and I’m learning a lot and having a ton of fun. I’m truly blessed and humbled that I get to be a part of this. I don’t know why God chooses to use insignificant screwed up people like me, but, I’m thankful that He does.
I’m praying for renewal. I’m praying for the joy that I once had. I’m praying for God to rock me. I’m praying to be filled and poured out. I’m praying against apathy. I’m praying against selfishness. I’m praying and fighting for authenticity. I’m praying to be like Christ and want Christ more than anything else in this world.