Dry

“People in Bible College and serving in ministry are supposed to tip-toe through spiritual sugar plums all day while God whispers sweet nothings in our ears.”

Recently a Christian friend asked me if I ever felt “dry” in my Christian life.  I chuckled.  Spiritual dryness is a reality that hits all believers. The first time it hits can be devastating. I was in Bible College and a part-time youth pastor when one of my “desert storm” experiences hit with a vengeance. Yeah, I know, people in Bible College and serving in ministry are supposed to tip-toe through spiritual sugar plums all day while God whispers sweet nothings in our ears. But just go with me.

It didn’t matter what I tried, nothing helped. God might as well have been dead. The Bible was dry, Church was dry (frankly some Churches are just dry anyway), worship was empty, and other believers were more irritating than usual, especially the bubbly types.

I’ve read suggested solutions for overcoming a spiritual wasteland  that included, praying, reading your Bible, going to Church, and hanging out with other believers. Sounds like the Twilight Zone!!! Let me offer another perspective. 

Living by faith is more stable than living by feelings.

First, understand the purpose of dry times. Feelings aren’t the final judge on what is true or good. For example, it might feel great to slash the tires of a guy who dents our car but that doesn’t make it good. It might feel right, even exciting, to have an affair but that doesn’t make it right. Living in the spiritual desert isn’t fun but while there the need to live by feelings becomes less critical and the faith-walk gets clearer. 

When God seems dead and we don’t feel the spiritual warm fuzzies, it’s an opportunity to learn to walk by faith. Living by faith is more stable than living by feelings and God’s nearness doesn’t depend on how we feel. 

“I realize some think it’s a mark of spiritual maturity to always feel God’s nearness. Actually, it’s a mark of immaturity.”

Second, talk about it with your Christian friends. I realize some think it’s a mark of spiritual maturity to always feel God’s nearness. Actually, it’s a mark of immaturity. Babies require constant awareness of mommy’s presence. First graders cry when mommy leaves them at school for the first time. Even though some may think something is wrong with you, mature believers will confirm the recurring reality of spiritual dry times. A man whom God loved dearly wrote in Psalm 13, “How long will you hide your face from me?”  Even Jesus cried out, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.”

Third and most practically, find some peace and quiet. Rapid fire living eventually deadens everyone. Getting away from responsibilities, people, activities, ear buds, texts, emails, facebook, radios, phones, movies, TV’s and other life clutter, can help bring our senses back to life. Try sleeping, walking alone, or sitting quietly in a natural environment for a day.

There is more to be said on this important topic but this post is turning into an endless desert.  I hope it helps.

Grace Freak

Dan Rockwell

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3 Comments on “Dry”

  1. llamaingaloshes Says:

    Okay, so if a sign of a growing Christian is “not needing to feel God’s presence all the time,” where do emotions fit in? Do they? Wouldn’t life with God just become drier and drier all the time? I don’t think I understand faith enough yet to know where my heart fits in. I don’t understand how to be joyful in the distance. Maybe I’m thinking too hard. In the past, my most cherished moments have been when I was certain of God’s presence-and now that those are gone (I must be growing up), I’m not sure where I’m supposed to get the living water, basically.

    • Dan Rockwell Says:

      llamaingaloshes,

      I’ll take a stab at responding to your first question. Emotions are responders to perceived realities.

      You feel fear at a scary movie even though it’s not real. Seeing a scary movie a second or third time usually means I don’t feel as scared.

      Additionally, physical tiredness or stress impact my feelings.

      Feeling close to God doesn’t make it true and feeling distant from God doesn’t mean I’m distant. My relationship with God is faith based not feeling based.

      Thank you for stopping in.

      Best to you,

      Dan

  2. Riaro Says:

    Freak IS the word! You say ‘you may be barren because you are a jerk’ really? Seriously!? – what an incredibly strange, misguided and educationally- challenged mindset you have, I don’t know whether to pity you or want to pretend that amoebas like you can’t possibly exist!


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