If you’ve been feeling weary or discouraged in your relationship with God you may be in a spiritual dry season or drought.
When I first began following God (not at the age of 8, but in my early 20’s) I was on a spiritual high. I prayed all the time, read my Bible what seemed like hours a day, and felt constantly encouraged and loved by God.
Life was good.
Everything was falling into place.
I was going to do mighty things for God.
And then… well… the rain stopped.
What is a spiritual drought?
Let’s start by defining what a drought is.
Drought (n): prolonged absence of something specified, thirst
Spiritually speaking, this means we don’t feel God’s presence around us. Our confidence or faith may be shaken and we feel like something’s changed though we can’t say what.
I walked into a spiritual dry season
I felt like God wasn’t there, wasn’t listening, wasn’t speaking, and didn’t care.
Have you ever been there?
That lasted a few years, the whole time, feeling like I was doing something “wrong.” Gradually, I heard God speak to me through the Bible and wise counsel, in the peace in my spirit, and I chose to move to the UK for a bible course.
Then I learned about the “dark night of the soul”
The Bible does not explicitly talk about or name this phenomenon. It’s debated among certain Christian circles and nominations of its existence.
You may, in fact, believe it isn’t possible to feel this if you are believing what the Bible says and living right. Maybe you think Christians should never have spiritual dry seasons.
And that’s okay – you’re on your own journey. Personally, the shoe fit.
Dark night of the soul
This phenomenon describes a malady that the greatest of Christians have suffered from time to time. It was the malady that provoked David to soak his pillow with tears. And it was the malady that earned for Jeremiah the sobriquet, “The Weeping Prophet.”
It was the malady that so afflicted Martin Luther that his melancholy threatened to destroy him. This is no ordinary fit of depression, but it is a depression that is linked to a crisis of faith, a crisis that comes when one senses the absence of God or gives rise to a feeling of abandonment by Him.
It is important for us to make a distinction between the spiritual fruit of joy and the cultural concept of happiness. A Christian can have joy in his heart while there is still spiritual depression in his head. The joy that we have sustains us through these dark nights and is not quenched by spiritual depression.Ligonier Ministries
Immediately, I had a name for that period.
And there have been others along the way.
Motherhood is challenging on the best of days.
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It seems like there is no time to pray or read the Bible
We often feel such pressure to succeed and perform and be a great mom and super Christian and yet our emotions are often all over the place.
We easily become depressed.
And then we feel guilty for feeling bad. We try to make ourselves be better Christians or mothers by telling ourselves what bad Christians and mothers we are.
You know, reverse psychology pep talks.
Instead of being able to simply know that as believers God is in us, in charge of the world, and that there is nothing we can do to earn His love or attention, we feel distant from Him because of many many things.
Reasons women can feel distant from God
There are so many reasons we feel what we feel. In fact, each women is different and can interpret her situation in different ways.
When I went through cancer treatment I clearly saw God move in my spirit, soul, body, and life in powerful ways. And it highlighted to me the various ways over the years – during my spiritually dry times, some of the reasons why I felt distant from God.
Here is a list of common reasons we women feel separate from God:
- We do not feel worthy of God’s love (this can be due to a general sense of being unworthy or because of past choices we are ashamed of)
- Also, we find it difficult to accept God’s love (because we shut ourselves off to love as a child to protect ourselves or we feel unlovable or we think we need to earn it)
- We see God as a distant, mean, or aloof (depending on our own examples of male father figures, we attribute these characteristics to God)
- We do not trust God (some people, due to past hurt, have difficulty trusting and we can project this onto God)
- Something awful has happened that has shaken our faith in God’s plan (divorce, abuse, death, trauma… these things can shake our faith to the core)
- Our faith is being tested (maybe we are putting God to the test or He is testing our faith so it’ll be refined)
- We are going by our feelings and they are not reliable (feelings are good instructors, but have we made them our masters?)
- We are so busy we forget about God (and then when we slow down for a minute, we feel guilty we’ve forgotten and feel even more distant)
- God is doing something we don’t understand and we just need to hang in there
So what do we do about a spiritual drought?
I’m sure there are 2,345,234+ things to do that will bring you some level of comfort.
Here are some things I have done over my 30 years of being a believer in Jesus to help get through the times of spiritual drought, spiritual distance, or dark nights of the soul.
Get to the root of your current fears, worries, and emotions
Often we feel discouraged in our spiritual walk and distant from God because of some reason we think makes us unacceptable to God. Or maybe because we are mad at God.
Get a journal and write it all out. Take your thoughts, fears, and worries and find Scripture that speak to them all. You may be surprised how refreshed you feel after being real with yourself.
Ask God to speak somehow someway
I know some think God doesn’t communicate with us in any way but the Bible… but that’s not what I believe. And further more it’s both boring and sad.
(I had a dream a year before getting cancer, knew it was from God, woke up and called my SIL and told her “I’m going to get cancer, but it’ll be okay.” So He speaks however He wants.)
God spoke to people in the Bible with His Word (via the prophets, disciples, etc.), with dreams, visions, talking donkeys, and burning bushes.
Ask Him to speak to you through His Word, others, or in any way He feels like.
And be open to listening.
Find a shoulder to cry on and pray with
In a spiritual drought you already likely feel lonely.
One of the best things you can do is to call someone who loves you and tell them how you feel. Share your heart and ask them to pray with you.
Pray that God would bring someone to your mind, and take a risk and reach out.
Ask yourself the hard questions
I know for me, going through my worst times, I resented people who asked me the following things…
“Are you casting your cares on God?”
“Are you trusting His plan?”
“Or, are you trying to earn His love?”
“Do you really believe He’s in control?”
Of course, now it’s easy to see I resented those questions because they hit a nerve. Now, I’m not afraid to ask them.
Memorize scripture that matters to you
I’ve created some Scripture cards to keep with you during hard times. To put in your Bible or in your purse.
Weary Mom Scripture Cards
This pack includes 20 colorful Scripture cards that include both the Bible verse and Scripture.Learn More