Finding my way out of the desert
A better title to this post may be, “learning to live in the desert” since I have no way of knowing if this road leads out of the desert. I would like to think so but past experience and the history of spirituality offer no promises.
I doubt the value of analyzing why I am currently in the desert but I offer the following: Completion of my dissertation project (Oct 2010) and subsequent submission of my completed dissertation (end of March 2011). Two week trip to Israel. Sinful choices. Insufficient exercise. Lack of sabbath keeping. Social isolation. Abandonment (neglect may be the better word but abandonment is not far off) of spiritual disciplines.
Symptoms of desert living: depression, fatigue, lack of motivation, loss of joy, not writing in my blog, withdrawal from other people. Eerily similar to symptoms of my burnout back in 2005.
Should others be looking for a way out of the desert or a way to live within the desert, here are a few glimpses of light I have seen in the last few days. A bit early I know to be writing about this but I have to start somewhere.
Radical change of morning habit. Today was the third day in which, after making my coffee, I sat down in my chair to read RATHER than sitting down at my desk, scanning through emails and briefly checking updates on the web about news, sports and the financial markets. Amazing how I have been able to find time to read a spiritual book and my Bible which helps a LOT! Foundational I know and most of you don’t make such a simple error of priority. So far, so good–now day 4
Plea for mercy. Psalm for last week–Psalm 51. As I began reading, the first line jumped off the page for me. Mercy, I desperately need mercy–so that my transgressions, iniquities, and sins may be blotted out, and washed away. I want to intentionally focus on the prayer, “Lord have mercy” daily–actually on a moment by moment basis. Plain and simple, I need mercy and I have forgotten that.
As I re-read Psalm 51 today, I see that I also need truth (6), wisdom (6), a willing spirit (12), and a broken and contrite heart (17). Seems like a plea for mercy is not worth too much if I am not going to be honest. Accountability. Confession to God and others. Then, Forgiveness. Joy. Finally, I may get to teach others (13).
A few other words coming out of Psalm 84 (Psalm for this week) offer promise
Longing and Desire
Finding my way Home
Remember: No good thing does he withhold
Trust–keep holding on