How to Get Through a Spiritual Drought - The Living Well

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How to Get Through a Spiritual Drought

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely going through a spiritual drought. Or at least a season that feels particularly dry.

Maybe you’ve failed to get into your Bible? Or you lost your desire to learn about God? Or perhaps, you feel like you are in a full-blown wilderness season, unable to hear the promptings of God? 

I think any person would tell you, a spiritual drought has been a struggle we’ve all faced. I’ve struggled with an occasional spiritual drought of my own and know firsthand how dangerous it can be. But I also know how amazing it can be to come out better than you went in. That is what I hope for you, not to lose faith in the midst of a spiritual drought but to dig into it, learn from it and move out of it.

The good news is, it has less to do with you and everything to do with leaning into God.

My control versus God’s control.

There are a lot of reasons people fall into a spiritual drought. But we can’t ignore these seasons because the reason you got in is often your solution to the way out. For me, my drought seasons usually stem from my abandonment of God’s way and my trust in my own way. Really, it comes down to control. I walk away from God’s promptings to follow my own desires, aiming to become a superhuman rather than living as the human I was called to.

Basically I want to do it all and do it without help.

But there have been other times I fell into a drought because of busyness or different life seasons. A slow and steady movement away from communing with God that I almost miss it happening.

I’d like to believe the reason doesn’t matter enough to pay attention to it, but in some ways, the reason we move into a wilderness shows a lot about our hearts. And it’s the surrender of whatever pulled us away that will help us get back into the presence of God.

Surrendering is nothing more than setting down what wasn’t yours to carry, creating space for God to perform His work.

Let God do it!

It sounds too good to be true, but I really think that’s the beauty of God. Knowing that it’s not up to us to do our own saving, but only God. The truth is, God has never left. It was never God walking away but life pulling you away.

God hasn’t left. He is right where you left Him waiting for you to come back. The good news in that is you don’t have to go chasing Him down or spend hours working to get Him back, you just have to lay down what pulled you away to create space to let God in.

Sometimes those things you need to set down feel like really solid “religious” things. Maybe it’s the need to finish that devotional or how your quiet time should look. Maybe you need to set down your past belief about what prayer looks like. Sometimes we even need to set down what we’ve believed about God so that God can create a genuine belief in us. 

Getting through a spiritual drought takes laying down all of your hard questions and the need to cross off a religious check-box. And it takes a desire to know God for nothing other than being close to him. 

5 ways to get through a spiritual drought.

If you’re struggling through a spiritual drought, here’s what I want you to know. You’re not alone, God is there, and he is telling you that you don’t have to stay that way. 

Here are a few ways to help you move through that drought: 

1. Stop rushing the wilderness season and start leaning into it.

I’m quick to rush things. Especially when things feel uncomfortable or threaten my inner security. So sitting in a wilderness season is one of the most excruciating seasons there is. I’m not one to easily sit back and take it. 

While I hate it, I also know that so much good can come from these seasons if we learn how to grow from them. Like the Israelites, we tend to want to keep wandering around repeating past patterns rather than understanding there may be a better way. But God wants to show you the way. 

And He is going to be here waiting for you to let him. The even crazier news, he doesn’t just wait but he provides for you in the waiting. God provided the Israelites manna from Heaven in their wilderness and He is providing for you today. You may not be able to see the manna from your current point of view, but know God is there. 

So lean into the season, ask God to show himself to you, and be willing to create space to see it. 

2. Let go of your “plan” and get back to the basics. 

Religion can feel like a lot of lists and check-box making. Rules and regulations that are to be followed. But grace says the opposite. Grace reminds us that it is only through faith we are saved.

God doesn’t need you. He wants you. He doesn’t need your bible reading plan, but he still wants to show himself to you.

For the longest time, I believed my relationship with God had to look a certain way, which looked like one block of time that I gave God. But God is not box material, and he doesn’t want to be. He is not looking for perfection or a perfect system. He is looking for you in all of your brokenness, joy, strength, and weaknesses.

Sometimes the most liberating thing is throwing away the plan and getting back to God himself. Get outside of the system and go back to the basics. Open your Bible, reading to learn rather than reading to arrive. 

He is not asking for a fancy system. He wants you right where you are and the space to work in you. 

3. Ask God to show you the way.

I used to read the Bible to cross off a list. The occasional time I did try to understand, I left with glazed-over eyes and a look of confusion. Sermons helped, but my personal journey was lacking. And reading for that kind of motivation only fed my wilderness season. To me, God was a complicated matter that I was never sure I’d understand. 

While I don’t know if we’ll ever understand it all, at least not this side of eternity, I do think something changes when you invite God into the reading. 

You don’t have to do your faith walk on your own. You don’t have to grow close to him by mustering up more discipline. He wants to do this with you, but you have to ask God to help you. Ask God for his hand in bringing you back to him. Relying more on God and less on yourself.

4. Any level of faith involves a level of fear.

I used to believe the lie that in faith, there was no fear. But I could never shake the fear. The only way to get rid of some fear was to go back to what made me comfortable. I believed my control meant there was less to fear. But we know that we are not powerful enough to change the world’s circumstances, let alone our own. Only God can.

And trusting that goes against our safety response which produces a level of fear. But, there is one who can. That’s why he called us to fear him above all else. It wasn’t to get rid of fear but to fear him more than you fear the world. God knew faith required a level of trust that naturally brings with it fear. But instead of living for the worldly fear, we fear the one who conquered fear, so we can keep taking steps of faith even in the fear. 

If you’re scared, that’s okay, but don’t stop with fear but beat it with faith. Any level of faith involves a level of fear. Don’t let your fear control your faith but let your faith control your fear.

5. Let God fill you and see Him in you.

You can try really hard to get out of your own wilderness season. The one you may have walked yourself right into. But we’re often the reason we’re stuck in it. We tend to repeat our own vicious cycle that we constantly try to escape. Making us masters of our own misery. 

But God, He is the answer that can lead us out of our own suffering. Out of our own wilderness season. And if we let him, He will pull you out and lead you back to him. Let him show you the way. 

Lean in. Let go. Sit down and start taking steps. 

It’s a journey, don’t live complacent in this season but fight to push through the wildness by complete surrender to the things you’ve tried to control that got you stuck. 

God is there. 

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and invite Him in.

Here’s a simple prayer: 

Lord, I can’t do this without you. I’m sorry, I thought I could. I’m sorry I walked away. Will you walk me back home to you? Will you transform me? Lord, I need you. 

I know you may be scared. You may feel sad. Or even angry. I’ve been there. I’ve felt those things. But before you jump to your own conclusions, I pray that you’ll set down what you’ve believed and allowed God the time and space to work. 

He will show up. Because he’s always there. 

He will lead you out of the wilderness and back home to Him. 

It’s not what you can do but what He can. 

Let him show you.

I’m rooting for you, and I believe in great things for you. God is in you because He desires to do great things in your name, so don’t push him away. 

  1. Katie says:

    This was exactly what I needed this morning. Time to back up and give space for God to work His work in my life. I’ve gotten too consumed in me working my own work in my life. Thank you for the very timely message!

    • Alexa Schirm says:

      YES! I’m so glad it hit home. It’s a good reminder that I often need myself! He just wants us. In our real and raw form. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the post!

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