Part 1 of a 3 Part Series
Life can resemble a wilderness where we feel lost, discouraged, and weary. During wilderness seasons we can encounter spiritual dryness, a state of feeling depleted or empty. Spiritual dryness affects not only your spirit but also your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. You may feel as if your spiritual life is stuck in a rut. You might notice your devotional life becoming less regular. Maybe you feel as if you are just going through the motions on Sunday morning. Bible reading and prayer feel routine and stale. Your excitement and passion for God and life has waned. You feel confused, lost, and weary. Maybe you have lost hope and slipped into depression or anxiety. God might feel distant and quiet. Maybe you are battling spiritual warfare.
Reasons for Spiritual Dryness
There are many reasons why spiritual dryness takes root in us and can include the following:
- Tragedy and adversity can wear down your hope and test your faith, leaving you feeling vulnerable.
- Your focus may have shifted from relationship to legalism. In other words, your performance becomes more important than your intimacy with God.
- You may have given out on empty and failed to refill your spiritual tank.
- You are not sustaining your connection to God. Maybe busyness has overtaken your life to the point where you have forgotten the value of time with God.
- You are believing a lie and need God’s truth to set you free. Deception negatively colors your perspective of yourself and God.
- Sin can cause distance between you and God.
Overcoming Spiritual Dryness
So how do we overcome spiritual dryness during wilderness seasons? We need to reconnect to our first Love and renew our minds. Spiritual nourishment flows out of an intimate relationship with God. In the next three of articles, we will learn biblical truths to renew the mind and spiritual practices to reestablish closeness with God.
1) God is a Good and Loving Father
The trials of life can weather our souls and chip away our faith, making us susceptible to believing lies about God’s true nature. I believe that we continually need a deeper revelation of God as a good and loving Father. If we don’t believe that God is good and loving, but instead see Him as an angry, moody, unloving, and inconsistent Father, then God will seem unapproachable and untrustworthy. The lies we believe about who God is create distance and distrust, which fuels spiritual dryness. What kind of Father do we have? Abba Father loves and pursues you. He hears you and answers your cries. He fights for you. Father God gives good gifts to His children. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. He has good thoughts about you that outnumber the grains of sand. Abba sings songs of joy over you and delights in you. He is always with you and will never abandon you. No good thing does He withhold from you, for He is a generous Father who gave us His own Son. Just look at Jesus and you will see the goodness of the Father because Jesus came to represent Him. Embracing these truths is your anchor in the wilderness. Even though you might not feel these declarations to be true, it is important to meditate on them and to declare them to yourself until they become real. The word of God is supernatural, so if you read His promises the Holy Spirit will illuminate these truths to you.
2) You are a Son or Daughter of God
Especially during wilderness seasons, we can experience confusion regarding our identity. Maybe you have lost your job and now feel purposeless. Maybe you have experienced a relationship break-up and feel rejected. Whatever the challenge may be, spiritual dryness sets in when you view yourself apart from God’s perspective of you. People can adopt a counterfeit identity because of unworthiness and shame. A false identity can be defined by your feelings, performance, failures, circumstances, pain, sins, people’s opinions of you, etc. Your identity affects every part of your life, such as how you see yourself, your relationships, and your purpose.
Humanity has wrestled with the question of “Who am I?” since the beginning of time. Yet only the Creator knows who you truly are. Receiving a fresh revelation of your identity in Christ sets you free to be your true authentic self, the person God originally intended you to be. You are His child first and foremost. What does that mean? You are valuable and one of a kind. You are loved, adored, pursued, known, favored, chosen, delighted in, gifted, strong, treasured, powerful, free, a new creation, and forgiven. When we embrace Sonship, we no longer strive to earn God’s acceptance and love because we know we already have it. You are enough and worthy because you are extremely loved by Him. You might have difficulty seeing yourself through God’s eyes, but you can choose to believe His words over the negative image of yourself. Start to let God define you and watch your spiritual life become re-energized. Begin by saying to yourself, “I will chose to believe and live out what you.
Christian Counseling to Overcome Spiritual Dryness
Are you limiting God? Are you underestimating yourself? Sometimes it is the wilderness seasons of life that make us stop to look within and look for Him. God uses this time to bring to light the truth of who He really is and who you really are. He does this because your ability to connect with God depends on your perspective of Him and of yourself. A healthy relationship always requires clear perspective of yourself and of the other person. For example, how can you build a strong bond with your spouse if you do not know yourself and are confused about who they are? Knowing God as a good and loving Father and accepting your identity in Christ are foundational truths. They are available to you to continually uncover throughout your lifetime. There is no end to who God is. So dive in and keep discovering how wide, long, deep, and high is His love for you. There is so much more about you that He wants to continue to reveal to you about your identity, destiny, gifts, and talents. As I Christian counselor I am convinced that therapy can be a safe place to discuss your spiritual concerns. I would love to support you as we together discover lanterns of hope in the wilderness that will help to illuminate your path.
“Drought,” by prozac1, FreeDigitalPhotos.net, ID 10010891; “Mountain Pass,” by Orlova Maria, Unsplash.com; “Man Holding a Baby at Sunset,” Microsoft; “Young Child Walking Alone in Forest,” by chrisroll, FreeDigitalPhotos.net, ID 10075418