Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Spiritual Depression

I have been in a spiritual desert. It is going on 2-3 years. I can't pray like I want, the prayers hit the firewall of the ceiling in my room and stay there. Or bounce back to earth and lay lifeless on the floor. My soul is parched and I feel nothing. No God. Are you there God? It's me Sue.

It has taken me a long time to even admit this, so bear with me.

My friend Katie has been aware of my predicament for a long while and shamefully I've all but ignored her encouragement and advice.

Through an email exchange early in the summer, my friend Deb sensed my spiritually desperate situation and turned me on to a message that was delivered by a pastor at her church in Ohio. (Jim Mindling at the Church of the Open Door in Elyria, OH) She was right in assessing that it was a message I needed to hear. In it, I heard some amazing things.

I've pondered the things in that message and have listened to it numerous times. It comforts me because I learned that I am in good company when it comes to people suffering through the dry desert of spiritual depression, that even Jesus felt spiritually depressed or how else could one explain the agony in the garden or his cry to His Father on the cross?

I also learned that I should thank God for this season in my life. God has always used the desert to teach amazing things and transform His people. I was encouraged that God chose to walk through this with me.

Through the lessons I am learning, partly inspired by the message I heard, I decided that I can't just sit around waiting for some Divine Intervention to zap me out of it. I'm in this place for a reason, and that I may just learn why, or from it at least, as I make the moves to emerge from the desert. I learned that I need to talk to God.

Unfortunately I am finding this a very ominous stumbling block at the moment. I am not very disciplined in this area. I was at one time, but now lines are down.

Realizing that part of the reason I am stuck is that I haven't trusted God, nor have I trusted the people He put into my life. I have since reached out to a select few people to share my struggle with. I am working on being a transparent Christian and part of that included opening up more intimately with those more spiritually mature than I. It is a frightening thing, but very needed.

So, my friend and I are studying together and I meet with her every other week or so to share, pray and encourage one another. She is encouraging me to have "guarded time" with the Lord. She is constantly asking how that is going, and I have to say that it is not going very well just yet...but things are improving. I don't know why it is so hard, but it is.

I have also contacted a person I have sort of been "avoiding". I have been ashamed to communicate with one of the women who mentored me early in my Christian walk. I feel like a failure and that I have let her and people who were there for me at the beginning of my walk with Christ down because I have wandered so far into a desert. Eight years saved and nothing to show for it!

I am genuinely trying to get out of this pit! I am trying to be transparent and I am beginning to see why it is Biblical and something that God requires. I think simply sharing that I am feeling so weak and desperate has already helped lighten this burden. I've learned how foolish I have been to avoid those people who can help me the most! I'm such a dork!

With some strong women of faith around me, some effort on my part to spend time with God, and by learning to be a transparent Christian, I will emerge much more spiritually mature and be ready to be used by God for His Divine Purpose.

(Originally posted 12/28/07 but reposted to bump to top)

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