The Dry Season
It was Sunday afternoon. I had been at church since 7am. I went from church to teaching to worship practice to selling pretzels to another worship practice.
Normally, while it may be a lot, a morning like that wouldn't make me feel as drained as it did. It had been a long weekend - I was tired - but this drain didn't seem physical. Mentally, I was completely disconnected. I was simply not "in" this day.
I couldn't get a solid worship set together to save my life. Nothing was coming together in my mind. This was a problem, not just because I had to run two worship practices, but because when I looked at my week, I was set to lead worship six times by the time next Sunday rolled around - starting with prayer night which was just a few hours away.
So here I am, looking at a week that would normally bring me great to joy, instead feeling like "how in the world am I going to do this?"
I had been dry for the past few weeks, spiritually. This was extremely odd to me because it started on the tail-end of a very fruitful period of fasting. I thought I was through it, but someone that's through a dry season doesn't feel burdened by set planning for the privilege of leading God's people in worship. The enemy was trying to have a field day in my head -
"You lost your anointing"
"Your worship will fall flat"
"Everyone will be able to tell you're dry"
"You're a worship leader, you can't have a dry season"
Lies, all lies. I know my God, and I knew that if I would just show up to lead, He would be everything I wasn't. I just didn't want to do it that way. I didn't want to show up to lead worship feeling frustrated or like I wasn't all in it.
As I got in the car to drive home, feeling pretty unsettled in all of this, I just wanted to be alone with God. I needed to be alone with God. Truly alone. Just me, Him, my Bible, and maybe my guitar with no interruptions or distractions.
Don't you know... I had somewhere to go. I hadn't fully moved into my new place yet, so it was totally empty. Empty of people, noise, distractions. I drove straight there. As I pulled up, this song (which I've never heard, and don't remember downloading) came on. Clearly, this is where God wanted me to be in this moment.
I walked into the room that will be my prayer room, sat on the floor with my guitar on my lap and just laid out my heart before the Lord - my frustration, my need for Him, my praise and my requests. Honestly, I felt a release in me in the midst of this prayer time. I worshipped Him with the song Unashamed Love afterwards, packed up my guitar and left.
I wasn't even all the way home yet when God gave me a song list for prayer night, and the upcoming main service. He opened my eyes to a few things outside of leading worship that I wasn't seeing before. Beyond that, and far more important, I felt filled with His Spirit in a way I hadn't been for a couple weeks.
The enemy's lies were silenced. My frustrations dissipated. My need to have it all figured out was gone.
"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:12-13
It's a funny thing... when you know you're filled with His Spirit, the pressure you put on yourself kind of starts coming off. None of this is me, I'm just the vessel He uses.
There is much I could say about prayer night, but I will keep it simple:
The Holy Spirit was clearly there, clearly moving and God was glorified.
And I got to be part of that because my eyes were fixed on Jesus, not on myself; because God pulled me to a quiet place to fill me up and rest in Him; because God met me where I was to be everything I'm not.
Why am I sharing this?
I guess I want you to know that dry seasons do come.
They come, and they don't care if you're a teacher, preacher, worship leader, ministry leader, parent, husband, wife or none of the above. Maybe I thought dry seasons didn't happen when consistently teaching or leading worship, maybe you did, too. But they do come.
They come, and you don't have to hide it or pretend you're in the most fruitful time of your life. I know, people judge. They judge and criticize and make comments about things in your life they know very little about. I know. Here's the thing, the voice of man doesn't deserve to matter. We're all just as flawed as you are. Let God's voice be louder in your heart.
Dry seasons come, and at the very least, admit it to yourself. Acknowledge the dryness. And once you do, go to the Lord. Yes, He knows already, but actively being transparent with Him allows this sweet release to take place within you, and it gives Him a chance to speak and be heard.
What do we do in the dry season?
Keep showing up. Keep seeking the heart of God.
"Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." - I Timothy 6:12
What you don't do is:
Guilt-trip yourself over it
Just accept it and let yourself get comfortable in it
Set yourself up for burnout by trying to force yourself to produce fruit without the Spirit
I have learned that, even in the dry season, it's important to continue showing up where God has you unless or until He tells you to step away and take a time of rest.
Your heart is open and vulnerable in the dry season. Think about when a flower dries up - the leaves and pedals get frail and far easier to break. The enemy stands ready to feed you lies that will cause you to break away from what the Lord has called you to. Resist by seeking the heart of God, knowing that He is faithful to meet you where you are when you cry out.
He will do the work.
He will give you rest.
He will pour His Spirit out.
Even as I sit here typing this, the song You Are My Peace by Housefires is playing in the background and I find these lyrics so appropriate for the topic:
"In my frailty, Lord, I find Your strength."
The dry season only lasts if you let it. Instead of getting stuck on being frustrated that it came, focus on what He is trying to use it for. Nothing is purposeless with God.