Monday, February 3, 2014

When Faith Is a Little on the Dry Side

We all go through dry times in our faith journeys and I'm no exception. I'm only just now seeing some spark of godly passion come back into my life and it is a struggle. I've spent a lot of time wondering how it is I ended up in such an unhappy state. How did I get from the vibrant intimacy I shared with God in August and September as I wrote the Advent devotional many of you enjoyed to not even remembering to pray for two days? (That's unthinkable to a woman who is supposedly called to prayer ministry!)

As I analyzed my situation, I found that I took the typical route--first I found myself very busy preparing for the holidays both at work and in my personal life. The busier I got, the more overwhelmed I became and the more tired I got. The more tired I got, the less I wanted and was able to do and somewhere in that mess, I let my priorities go askew. My relationship with the Lord began to slip down the list of important "to do’s” in my life until it slipped right off the bottom of the list. I kept telling myself that I needed to get this or that other thing done and I would get around to my studies or my prayer time later.

However, when all the holiday madness was done and over, I was exhausted and just needed to catch up on my rest, which of course allowed more things to pile up on my to do list. I even skipped going to Sunday worship for several weeks because I was just too tired to care. And before I knew it, I found myself in a prayer circle with a small group of friends feeling the shame and guilt of hypocrisy because this was the first time I'd bother to talk with my Savior in two days!!! I felt unworthy to be included in that sacred moment--as if I was intruding in on a private conversation.

I went home that day and picked up my bible, for the first time in a long time, and began to read. I turned off the TV and prayed. I'd like to say that I spent hours in wonderful prayer and meditation (which I have been known to do regularly before) but it just wasn't so. I couldn't think of anything to say to God except hello. There were no words, no thoughts, no anything in my heart or mind to say to the God who loves me beyond measure. The words in the bible that just a few months ago jumped off the page at me were as flat as could be and forgotten the moment I put the book down.

But I didn't let this deter me. I was going to keep up the disciplines that only a few months before invited me into a joyous intimacy with the God I love and serve. I pushed myself to attend worship again. I remember praying on the way to church that first Sunday back, "God, I really don't want to go but you deserve my worship and I'm going to give you all the worship my heart can muster...as little as it may be." Again, I'd love to report that my godly passion burned bright that day, but that would be a lie. I did receive a warm welcome back from several of my church family which encouraged me to keep coming back. The other day, I picked up my guitar—something else I haven't done for months—and played a few worship songs and felt joy again for a moment.

I've not yet gotten to the ...and-they-lived-happily-ever-after part in my struggle to renew the fervor of my faith. However I can say that it is getting easier every day to pray and mediate on God's Word and just be with God in the moment. It's getting easier to turn off the TV and put aside the dirty dishes (I wasn’t going to do them anyway...) and sit with God. Sometimes I even think of something to say.

What I know is that God isn't disappointed or angry with me. Rather, he continues to look upon me as his beloved child. As long as I sincerely give him all that I can (a little as it may be at the moment) he will accept my offering with joy and, just like Jesus did with the loaves and fishes, make it ever so much more. That's why I keep plugging away at this faith thing. It's not up to me to produce – that's God's job. He only ever wants me to give what little I have and be amazed at what he does with it.

1 comment:

Audrey said...

I'm relieved to know that I'm not the only one struggling with the times of "dry faith". Or maybe I should say..."dry action of faith". My faith is always there, it's just that my actions don't always demonstrate that. I disappoint myself again and again. What can I say to God about it, when he already knows what's on my heart. I know that He patiently waits within me for that spark to be the catalyst of my action. Thanks for always being so real with us in your blog!