These past few weeks, months maybe, have been different for me. I worked myself into the ground and found myself crying during a leadership coaching session, telling my coach that I felt like I was pushing a boulder up a hill, only to have it come rolling back down on me. That I was working my butt off and felt like I had nothing to show for it. That I had next to nothing to give anymore. That I wasn’t seeing the point.
In other words, I was completely exhausted.
Later that day I made a decision: to take July off from writing and businessy-type plotting.
What unfolded was one quiet day after the next.
I purged every room of my house. I read a few novels (Me Before You, Telling the Bees & Saint Maybe to be specific). An Alias marathon took place on my couch. I took two, three, sometimes four walks each day. I took some bike rides. I took Oakley to the dog park. Sara and I meandered around downtown Geneva. And I just tried to stop thinking so hard, all the time, about everyone’s pain.
But here was the interesting thing. Though I was lingering in my quiet times and taking along worship music on my morning walks and my mind was about as emptied out as I knew how to let it be, I felt…nothing.
The first couple weeks, not only did I feel no restoration of my soul, nor did I hear a single anything from the Spirit, I remained exhausted and, well, done.
This is where the worker bee in me would normally step in and try to come up with another few spiritual disciplines to try out (as if, after over twenty-eight years of following Christ, I haven’t more than likely tried them all).
But I didn’t this time. I simply told myself that it seemed to me like I was in a desert. And that I might not know why. And that God could do whatever he wanted with me. And that sometimes, you can just be. You don’t always have to work yourself up into a frenzy; you don’t have to manufacture experiences or closeness with God.
So my friends would text, “How are you feeling today?”, I think, hoping, that one of those times I’d answer back, “Refreshed!” or “Heard from God today!” But I’d just start saying, “The same. In a desert. And it’s okay. I’m okay with it.”
So this seems to continue the very quiet lesson I seem to be learning and relearning in every area of my life these days, and it’s this:
Whatever I feel, whatever I’m experiencing, is okay. It’s all okay. And it’s all going to be okay.
And I’m going to be okay.
And…you can’t – for the most part – force yourself out of feeling something you’re feeling,
so acceptance is the least painful way through.
Desert seasons are not fun seasons. They are typically not hugely outwardly accomplishing seasons. They are quiet seasons, sometimes uncomfortably so. But I believe they are necessary seasons. I believe that things are being worked through – emotionally and spiritually – that can only be worked through in the silences and slowings and stillnesses. And I believe, like every other season, it will sweep back out, ushering in something new and different, with lessons of its own for us to learn.
Everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. –Ecclesiastes 3:1–
What season are you in?
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