It’s been a long few months.
It all started with a busy schedule. A busy, “Look how many places want me to speak!” kind of schedule plus a book deadline (neither of these things were a surprise), that were both great for the ego (amazing actually…). But as you well know, the ego is a tricky thing. You can be busy doing God’s work, all the while, convincing yourself that working for Him and being with Him are the same things.
So, take some busy, and then throw in:
- not spending enough time with God
- a strained relationship with one of my kids
- my mom’s cancer
- and (just for fun) whooping cough
This? Right here? Is the perfect Food Network recipe for a full blown meltdown.
OK – so I haven’t taken to sitting in a corner and drooling into a tin cup, but I have sat in the parking lot of many a speaking engagement and cried and cried for one reason and one reason only: I felt like a fraud.
For the past four months, I’ve felt so raw and exhausted that I swing wildly between two extremes: either I can’t crack a Bible without going into a full-on ugly cry or the words on the page feel like they are written to someone else – in a foreign language – in invisible ink. Either I can’t sit through a worship service without having complete strangers come up to me and ask if there is anything they can do. (That is the complete strangers who aren’t avoiding my gaze because who wants to interact with the crazy woman…) Or I just sit there, listening to the words of the music and the preacher thinking, “OK, that may work in theory, but not in my life, apparently.”
How are you supposed to teach God’s Word when you feel like you will either fall apart on stage or that every encounter you’ve had with God recently felt dry, formal, and awkward. (At this point, all you leaders who have me booked to speak at your event are carefully consulting your contracts on how to get out of having this wacko speak at your event. Sorry – you’re kinda stuck with me. But don’t worry. I’ll pull myself together before leaving the parking lot…)
This is not a fun place to be in – the desert place. Yes – it’s true – we all spend some time there. Those times when everything feels wrong and out of sorts. Those times when picking up your Bible feels like the hardest thing you will ever do. Those times when you wonder if God is really there, and if so, why isn’t He doing some of the talking.
I’m starting to see my way clear. I’ve been here before. It feels like it should be so easy: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 I’ve flowed before. Why not now?
I know what I have to do. I’ve got to do the things I don’t feel like doing. All week I’ll be talking about where I am and what I’m doing. I hope you’ll come with me – even if you’re not in that dry place, that desert place right now, let me tell you something – it could be just around the corner. Right?
So now that I’ve told you where I am, my question is – have you been there? Have you been to the place where maybe you are in ministry, or your ministry is your home, and you feel like your relationship with God is like your best friend from high school – you have great memories, but you haven’t had a good talk in a long while. Have you been in the desert place?
Tell me about that time – what were the symptoms? When we all know that we all know we go through it, we don’t have to put on our church face or our Bible Study Lady face. We can just sit in the desert, love on each other, offer up some tea, and guide each other out. So tell me about your desert.