Do you ever have a season or a period of your time where you just feel like you need a break from God (but also, you don’t), or where you don’t want to talk to God about things (but you know you’ll feel better if you do), or where you don’t even want to think about picking up your Bible or opening your Bible app (even though you know you should)? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, you might be in a dry season. These can happen no matter where you are in your walk with God. It can happen if you’ve believed for a long time, and it can happen if you’re still in the process of learning who God even is. In these situations, it’s easy to feel lost and to be like “…okay where do I go from here” and it’s easy to feel like you’ve blown it with God. But you haven’t, so if you relate or need some encouragement in a dry season of your life, keep on reading. 🙂
I’ve been in a dry season for a while now. It started in late August. I’ll tell you the story…
Last school year, I was so beyond ecstatic about Jesus. I had recently made my own decision to accept Christ into my life and taken ownership of my own faith, and I was so excited about it. That’s what my life became about, and that’s a good thing. If you wanted to know what I was up to, I was probably reading the Bible, or talking about Jesus. All of these are great things, don’t get me wrong. But I was doing them so much that it became what people began to expect of me. If I ever made a mistake, I felt guilty for it, but even more guilty because I felt like people were thinking things like, “how could she make a mistake? She’s the Jesus girl.” At this point, I began to feel like my faith was confining me rather than setting me free. I was trying to be good enough instead of just letting God love me. Then, in the summer, I volunteered my house so that the college ministry that I was a part of could still take place in the summer, and I offered to lead it with another friend of mine. Hosting is my favorite thing, and because it comes so easily to me, I thought this would be a blast. But I soon found myself placing extra pressure on myself to make every thing perfect, and to have all the answers in our small groups. My confidence began to dwindle and doubts about myself and God began to form. My faith turned into a way for me to prove myself to not only others, but to my own self and God. And that took a toll on me. It took a toll on my relationships, it took a toll on the things I was involved in that I put my heart into, and frankly it was just because I had given so much that I had no more to give. My faith wasn’t filling my cup, because I was so focused on pouring it out to others, that I never let Jesus fill it back up.
Fast forward to now, where I have been feeling all of those “symptoms” of a dry season. I was scared because I felt like I was disappointing God–like I’d come all this way in my faith, and now I didn’t even have the motivation to talk to God. I felt so guilty, and like God could never love me after this. I felt like this was all my fault. I felt like people were looking at me and wondering if I had changed, when really I still loved God, but I was just so exhausted.
But finally, after months, I found comfort in knowing that this was normal and that I wasn’t alone. Jordan Dooley, an author and speaker that I follow, opened up on her Instagram that she was going through the same sort of thing. She was known for posting all about faith all the time, but it dried her out because she ended up posting for others and not for God, and it became what people expected of her. I started to think that if the person that I looked up to as the epitome of the phrase “godly woman” can feel this way and God still loves her, then maybe it’s normal that I feel this way too. So once I realized this, things began to change, and I learned how to navigate it.
Here is what to do if you find yourself in a dry season:
- Acknowledge and accept that you are in a dry season. Ignoring it or pushing it off won’t make it less dry. I learned that to move forward, you have to accept where you are and know that God knows where you are too.
- Talk to God about it. I know that sometimes, this is the last thing that you want to do. But even just saying “hey God, I’m in a dry season” will open up the communication. I like journaling, so I wrote about it. However you like to do it, you have to let God into it.
- Remember that what matters in your relationship with God is YOUR relationship with God. You don’t have to show it off to other people. What matters is where your heart is with God. Yes, we should want to share our faith, don’t get me wrong. But we do that most by being examples, by living in God’s love. John 13:34-35 says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It doesn’t matter how many Bible verses you post or how much knowledge you have–that doesn’t get people to the cross, love does. Those things are fine, but it’s all about the heart. It’s okay for your relationship with God to be for just you and Him for a little while.
- Stop trying so hard. This is the one I have trouble with. I always try hard. In EVERYTHING. In my friendships and relationships, I always try to do and say the right thing all the time–I always try to be the perfect friend, perfect girlfriend, or I just try to perfectly be whatever that person needs in that moment. But I have to remember that God already knows I’m not perfect, and He knew that when He sent Jesus to die for me. He knew all my mistakes, downfalls, and He even knew about this dry season, and He still said, “that’s the one I want.” I don’t have to do anything to earn his grace or love. I don’t have to force myself out of this dry season. All I have to do is let him love me out of it. If you need a tangible way to do this, I suggest starting a devotional on the Bible app, or just listening to uplifting worship music. It’s so simple, but that’s all you need to do. Remember, you don’t have to be so perfect all the time.
Also, know that you’re not alone, no matter if you’ve believed in Jesus for years and years and years, or if you are just learning about Him and don’t know if you believe yet. Dry seasons come and go, but remember that God always brings the rain, he always restores, he always renews. God promises life and life abundantly (John 10:10), so relax, and just let yourself be held.
What I’m listening to: There Is a Cloud // Elevation Worship