When you’re in the middle of a drought in your walk with God, it can feel utterly isolating. Whether you’re a new Christian or an old one, times like these can tip you off balance and take you by total surprise. Shame is quick to jump in, accusing you of being the only one to struggle, to wrestle, to feel…nothing.
The simple fact is,every Christian goes through at least one dry season.And, although God is quiet, it doesn’t mean He’s not there (He is) or that He’s not working (He is.)
Let's get practical! Here's 7 simple steps to take when your relationship with God feels dry as the desert.
1. Get honest with God.
Tell Him exactly how you’re struggling. Chances are, there’s some utterly unhelpful doubt niggling in the back of your mind that makes you wonder, “What did I do that made God wash His hands of me? Why doesn’t He want to talk to me anymore?” It doesn’t matter if you feel like you got in this quiet season by accident or through some fault of your own, it’s important to remember that God isn’t mad at you. Repent of anything you need to, but then move on. It’s easy to get ashamed of feeling far away from God, but the truth is: He already knows, and He already wants to help you. He wants to use this time in a special way in your life. Keep the lines of communication open. (A journal is a great way to do this.)
2. Get honest with a few trusted friends (and surround yourself with Godly people).
You might be surprised by how many others have had similar experiences. Not only will a few close friends be able to encourage you or give you some fresh ideas, they will also provide accountability. Discouragement is common in the desert, and having someone check in with you regularly will help keep you moving in the right direction.
3. Remember that feelings are only a part of any relationship
It’s no different when it comes to your relationship with God. Your feelings, while important, are onlypartof the picture. When you’re not feeling it, don’t forget that not only have you made a commitment to God – He’s made a commitment to you! And although your feelings indicate otherwise, He’s not going to break His word. He is truly faithful, and He will bring you through any desert. This time is not wasted, and He will use it for some good purpose in your life!
4. Dig deep into God’s Word.
When you’re in the middle of a dry spell, opening your Bible might seem like a waste of time. In fact, it’s exactly what you need, whether itfeelslike it makes a difference or not. Here’s a few things that might help: 1) Enlist accountability. Ask someone to check in on you regularly to make sure you’re faithful in your daily devotions. 2) Join a Bible study, or start one that challenges and intrigues you. There are so many wonderful studies available – online, with a small group, or individually. (A few of my favorite Bible study authors are Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and Kelly Minter.) 3) Refresh regularly. A few little bits of encouragement throughout your day can add up to making a big difference. You could spend some time in the morning with your Bible study, read an encouraging devotion or blog post on lunch break, and wrap your day up with a few more moments of Bible study. Figure out what works foryou.
Ask God to show you if there’s anything that is obstructing your relationship. Ask Him to help you through this tough season. Ask Him to give you endurance, encouragement, and to learn through this time.
6. Memorize Scripture
Memorize Scripture that speaks to your season of struggle. Here’s one to start with: “The righteous cry out, and the Lordhears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lordis close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lorddelivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:17-19)
7. Speak truth over yourself.
Similar to memorization, reminding yourself of the truth is crucial to changing faulty thinking patterns. When you’re tempted to despair that God has left you for good, remind yourself instead that God will never leave you(Isaiah 42:16). When you feel like God’s love for you is gone and over, remind yourself that nothing can separate you from His love(Romans 8:38-39). Identify what you’re wrestling with, and work on replacing lies with truth.