No one warned me that my first week of college would be the most terrifying week of my life. Loneliness, anxiety and doubt hit me right in the face those first days of my college experience and I had never felt more abandoned by God. Over and over again I confessed to God how I was losing faith, how it hurt and I didn’t understand why. I thought this is what would heal me. However, my anthem of, “I’m not enough, I’m stuck, please help me God!” soon transformed into the belief that God had not equipped me to face my circumstances. I continually confessed my helpless heart before God, but I wasn’t met with any breakthrough.
In that season of my life, the Lord revealed multiple lies I believed about what it means to be a child of God. I had many misaligned ideas of what relating with God looks like in a challenging, dry and quiet season. The Holy Spirit showed me that celebration in a desperate season is the most beautiful discipline in faith.
Joyful dependence is beautiful.
The first lie I believed in this season was that the only fitting response to feeling abandoned is a repetitive, weary proclamation of my lacking. I lived in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” So I went to the feet of Jesus and laid down my feelings of abandonment over and over again. “Jesus, I’m here. This dry season has left me weary and heavy laden. Fix me. I don’t know what else to do but cry out.” And while confession, bearing your whole heart before God, holds beauty and goodness, the purpose of confession is not to stay there. Think of the moment a lost person cries out to Jesus for salvation. They confess their sin, acknowledge His power to rescue them from bondage and then, by His grace, are set free. You see, I practiced those first two steps repeatedly but neglected to remember the fact that I’ve already been set free.
And then God began to whisper, “Come on, Mary Grace. Get up. I’m here, I already cover you. You’re already free.”
The verses that follow Matthew 11:28 hold the key to freedom from the bondage of a dry, weary season.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
As children of God, we take on the yoke of Jesus. Our yoke is easy and our burden is light! “Cast your cares.” Let them go! He carried the sins of the world, surely He can carry your weariness too.
The Holy Spirit met me one afternoon on my drive home and said, “I am the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and I live inside of you! We will overcome this season!” Turns out the Bible says it too.
“But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:10-11)
We all know there’s no guarantee of an easy life. God didn’t promise us painlessness, He promised us provision. In the dry and weary season we need not capitalize on our lack, but magnify the strength of Jesus within us.
When the Lord shifted my focus from what I felt I lacked to the abundance I know in Jesus, He transformed my season of drought into one of depth. I wasn’t overwhelmed with the presence of God, and I didn’t suddenly feel renewed. The season was still a battle, but my trust in God’s provision had grown. And so with joy and celebration, I pressed on and continue to press on. The children of God have been saved “into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:3-4). Circumstances don’t dictate God’s goodness, anxiety doesn’t lessen His power and desperation does not deprive us of His joy. We have been set free (Romans 8:2). All we need do is celebrate.