Today’s blog explores the desert stage of the spiritual journey and the process through which we are invited to exit the desert and enter into a new life.
I’m back…..or so it seems! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers of support as I tended to my parents during and post-surgery. (my father had both kidneys removed on April 19th). Even before taking this medical hiatus, I had been invited into the spiritual desert. I had moved out of the home I had shared with my husband (soon to be ex) and children for the past 13 years and into a friend’s basement. My business came to a screeching halt. My book was put on what seemed like eternal hold. I was forced to enter into the desert where I would be forced to let go of everything I thought I knew about myself, about my life path, about my hopes, dreams, desires, professional aspirations, etc. I was forced into the desert seemingly without financial resources or security, etc. and had nothing to hang onto except my faith in God and trust in the loving support of family and friends. I knew the desert was where I was being sent when in frustration I shook my fist at God and said, “Ok, now what am I supposed to do? And the answer I received, “Forty days in the desert.”
So, here is what I learned in the desert:
- Be wary of temptation – temptation to indulge my compulsions, my fears, my ego. In the desert (as Jesus discovered)….is where temptation lives. I came face to face with all my unhealed wounds, fears, false-perceptions, attachments….even those I thought were good attachments, like the desire to buy a house and to stay in Oshkosh for the rest of my life. HHHMMM
- Live in the moment – in the desert, you have NO CHOICE but to live ONE MOMENT at a time! No plans, no agenda, no itinerary, no schedules allowed in the desert. In this way, we are forced to listen to our inner guide and make choices in the moment.
- All needs will be met….in abundance. I know, crazy, right? But true. During my time in the desert, I saw very few clients, taught no classes. All my regular sources of income had dried up to close to nothing. But what happened? Money came to me literally out of NOWHERE! An unexpected royalty for a class I developed that was being taught by a colleague and an unexpected tax refund. In the end, God provides!
- Be open to surprises. In the desert, God startles us out of our complacency, our personal agendas and hidden plans and changes all the rules. God’s startling revelations, I find, are WAY better than anything I could ever have imagined myself!
Exiting the Desert
As my fortieth day in the desert approached (which was ironically, Easter Sunday), an awareness settled upon me that my time in the desert had been served and that the road out was now set before me. I’m still not sure where this new road will be leading, but I am trusting, waiting and watching….and most importantly, not stepping until I am sure it is time to step….not speaking until I’m sure I’m called to speak, not sharing until I’m sure I’m called to share. What I do know is that the road out seems to be leading to a new life….a life unexpected….a new direction but one that feels VERY VERY familiar. And, when I know exactly what that is….you will be the first to know!
Where have you experienced the spiritual desert in your own life?
What were your lessons in the desert?
What was the new life that you found on the other side of the desert?
Authentic Freedom Ministries