It had been 11 days since I had opened my journal- a rarity for this girl who loves Jesus and loves to write. Over the last 6 months, there had been fewer and fewer written words and more and more busy activity. Simultaneously, I was becoming more tired, unmotivated, and almost felt a sense of apathy. I was aware of these emotions occurring in my heart but just couldn’t pull myself out of it. I wanted to give myself grace to allow the emotions to wash over me like a wave, however they weren’t passing and instead were making a home in my heart.
It can be a miserable state to dwell in- having the knowledge of where you are emotionally and feeling stuck in knowing how to move through it. I would purpose in my heart to be with Jesus, and many times it fell flat. There wasn’t excitement, I didn’t really care to read anything, prayer was drudgery, and it ended up feeling like wasted time. I simply sat with Jesus out of discipline instead of delight. And so, I would turn to working on something. “At least my time had purpose,” I thought. On top of this, numerous miscellaneous tasks genuinely needed to be accomplished, so it made sense to get them done during this dry season.
God is gracious in that He wastes no time at all! Not a dry season, a busy season, a painful season, not even a sinful season. He can use ALL of it for His glory if only we wait and watch how He weaves it into our story. Of course, none of us desire one of these seasons, but when we are on the other side, hopefully we can see some way in which He worked!
As I waited for this dry, tired, and unmotivating season to pass, I came to my threshold. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was miserable, grumpy, and taking it out on the one that is my partner and best friend. I was relying on his capabilities and life performance to make up for how I felt. Many times, when we are out of control internally, we turn to externally controlling those around us to make us feel better. I had fallen into the trap! The trap only served to make me more miserable as my husband would never be able to live up to what I was unknowingly requiring: perfection. There was not much grace- I had simply run dry.
As John English so beautifully states it in his book Spiritual Pilgrims:
“Those things we cannot accept in ourselves we project upon others. If I do not admit my shadow side, I will unconsciously find another who will carry my shadow for me. Once this projection is made then I need not be upset with myself. My problems are now outside and I can fight them out there rather than within the real arena, myself.”
As Darin left on a week-long trip, I came to my breaking point. I had the inkling to turn to Galatians and after a nudging from Holy Spirit, I reluctantly turned there, expecting nothing more than another dry reading like I had been experiencing for months. Over the next few days, passages leapt off the page and into my heart. God met me in that place of desperation, exasperation, and misery and showed my heart what I had been increasingly missing lately. I am one who learns by doing. My heart struggles to fully and deeply understand something until I do and experience it for myself. God knows this and provides ample opportunity for me to learn first-hand. Sometimes, I wish I learned differently- ha!
Why am I sharing this with you, you may ask?
If my transparency and vulnerability can help one person in their struggle, it will be worth it to me. You are not alone in the struggles of life. While your particular story may look different from mine, we all struggle in similar capacities. It is in sharing the struggles and the victories that we are able to truly become a healthy church- the community God intended us to be. When we keep our struggles to ourselves, we suffer alone and run the risk of becoming lone rangers on this sometimes difficult journey. I share because it matters. Stories matter. My story, your story, every single story matters! Without sharing the stories that make up our days, we fail to share the testimony God is writing through our lives. Stay tuned for Dry Seasons, Part 2. May God be ever close to you, friends.