In the Wilderness

Sorry I've been lax in posting lately. It has to do with what I shared recently about being emptied out by God. This is cropping up in all areas of my life, not just writing, and it leaves me feeling empty, empty, empty, like a forever expanding expanse of barren land.

I know it serves a purpose. In fact, on Sunday I realized He's altogether quite intentional with me. I'm in the wilderness, but it's not the first time. The first time was about 10 years ago, when He helped me see I operated my life from the belief that I'm loveable purely for what I do, and do perfectly. He helped me see the folly in this. He helped me learn how to receive love for simply being. He helped me believe I was beautiful just for merely existing. It took about four years of confusion, tumult, anger, apathy, and pain to come into the light on this one. But He was faithful. And faithful even still, as I need to re-learn these truths even still sometimes.

The second time was when He stripped me of every thing and person in my life. When I thought I was moving on to grad school, I got denied entrance. When I turned to others for comfort, I got voicemail every time. When I was interested in new relationships, the roads before me shriveled up and disappeared. Eventually, He even led me to leave my job without another job lined up in its stead, no matter how irresponsible and unjudicious I'd always thought that to be. I was walking in darkness, and it was pitch black. I learned real quick I didn't trust Him that much. But I did eventually learn the true meaning of faith: choosing to walk into black, because you trust the One who holds you. What else could faith possibly be?

This time it's a barren desert. There is light this time, but no signposts. I feel Him on the wind and sense Him in the sand, but it is gritty and dry and lonely and empty. I don't have any reserves of my own. All that I have is given by His hand. All I can do is wait.

I don't know how long I've been walking this wilderness road, to be honest, but I can see sprinklings of it all the way back to December when I wrote this post. And I can see that this turn in the journey plunges deeper than the other two ever did or even could have. The first one toppled outer idols of performance and pleasing others, even God, but it was about opening my eyes to a graven image I didn't know I worshipped in the first place. The second one was a stripping space, where every security and hope and dream vanished so I could turn to and trust in Him alone.

But this third time, oh, this third time. It's a deep and interior and alone time. It's a scooping out of every conscious sense I've carried about myself on the inside. It's about dying to myself and all my thoughts, every single last one of them, for they are idols, idols, idols . . . and in His grace He wants to banish them from my soul.