Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Wilderness Experience

The past eight years have been very difficult for me. As a writer, I have found that it is often therapeutic to journal and write during times of great difficulty and dire circumstances. Yesterday, I found am excerpt form one of my journals from last year, and so I am combining it with an entry from yesterday to form today's post.
The wasteland, otherwise known as the wilderness, is a dark, scary depressing place to be. I know, because I speak from experience; I have spent eight long years there, so here is my story of my wilderness experience.

Being in the wasteland or wilderness, is challenging to say the least. The ground is dry, parched, desolate. There is no greenery in sight, no flowers, no color, no water to quench your thirst. It is dreary and depressing; a land of despair with seemingly no way out. It is unbearably hot & humid, the air is stagnant. When one is forced to live for a season in the wilderness, life as we know it has disappeared; dried up completely as the vast dusty landscape around us. While there, we continually walk in circles; getting nowhere. They say that insanity is doing the same thing over again and again, expecting a different result. This applies to our experience in the wilderness as well.

The wolves nip constantly at our heels, enticing us to just give up and quit; just lie down and die. In the shadows of our minds, we vaguely remember the abundance of rain; the taste of cool, fresh water upon our lips. But there is none to be had. Our lips, our hearts, our minds are parched and dried up. We turn our faces upward, tears streaming down our faces. Our soul remember, and long for peace, hope, faith and joy; we long for rest from this seemingly hellish place. Our soul longs for hope, for an end to this nightmare, this draught that is consuming us emotionally, mentally, physically & spiritually as well. We desire freshness, and newness; creativity, flowing freely from our hearts. We feel withered, dried up, used up, drained, and spent of anything wonderful. We become as dry as a twig; ready to snap at a moment's notice.

A sense of overwhelming hopelessness invades our very soul, and we are crushed by the extreme feeling of being alone and abandoned in this desolate place. We become fatigued, irritable; discontent, pain, fear & despair become our constant companions. It is such a lonely place of brokenness and absolute misery. While in the wilderness, our problems seem to magnify and intensify; financial hardships, relationships, crisis's all become compounded to the point that we allow depression to set in, thus making everything seem hopeless and impossible. The very worst thing that the wilderness does, is that it causes us to take our eyes off of God, the very one that can change all this. It is like we are looking through a two way mirror; we can see what's on the other side, and yet we feel that we are helplessly trapped, with no way out.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 says; "To everything there is a season." This applies to our wilderness experience as well. If we allow it to, the wilderness can become a place of growth, as unlikely as that might seem. God can use this experience as a time of sifting us, of purifying us, and of refining us as well. But it is OUR CHOICE. Refining is not an easy process; it is very painful. It is a time of burning away, or painfully stripping away all the chaff, and anything that hinders our walk with God.

Because we cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel, we are like a blind man walking with a cane; tap, tap, tap. To make it through the wilderness, requires total and complete surrender to God; our will, our lives, and our future. It requires letting go of fear, letting go of control, letting go of the need to fix others, and letting go of the need to fix our current or future situations. the hardest part of finding our way out of the wilderness is the most difficult of all; it requires brokenness. When we allow ourselves to be broken open, and be completely emptied of ourselves, of material things, of compulsive behaviors, of habits and hang ups, THEN and ONLY THEN, can God replace those things with the things that bring us true peace.

It is then that we will get to a place where our focus shifts; narrowing it to one single point, and that is of God. It is only when we get to this critical, pivotal place of COMPLETE SURRENDER, and letting go and giving EVERYTHING to GOD, and allowing HIM to be our true focus; the veil is finally lifted, and the light shines clearly on the path that will lead us out of the wilderness of despair.

This becomes a place of being reborn: we learn to trust God and others again. We learn to love ourselves again. It is a growing process; and only until we are  finally ready to make the necessary changes needed to grow, & allow ourselves to be broken, we will continue to wander in the wilderness. I am SO READY to leave this place and move on. I believe that I have learned my lessons, and even though I may stumble and trip up from time to time, I am ready to totally trust God, and put my faith and hope in HIM. And now, God has given me the peace and rest I have so desperately sought.

Psalms 91:1 says: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."

That is my prayer today: to dwell in the secret place, and to rest in the palm of HIS hand.

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