Countless times in my life, I have come to this ‘desert place’.
It is a place where all of us have been before. A road all of us have travelled more than we wanted to. This place, so hard to describe to another, yet so familiar to all, can bring either destruction to my world or life to my bones.
I am talking about a very specific mindset. I reach this place at least once a year. This is the place where doubt knocks on your door. The moment when missed opportunities of the past, tries to swallow you like quicksand. How do we get here? And how do we get out of here?
The time you camp out in this place can last anything from a day to a week, and some even decide to stay here forever. For me it sometimes take a week before I pack up and leave to find greener pastures. What is it that causes us to reach this place? I know it all happens in our thought-life, but what opens that door? For some it might be failure and dissapointment, for others it can be a longing for ‘what could’ve been’. The bottom line for me is that whatever the cause, undisciplined thoughts gets the better of me sometimes.
For me personally this is not a very nice place to be, but so necessary. I realized that these were the times, when I had to dig deep. This is the time when I had to fight the current dissapointment with the victories of the past. Many a times I have witnessed how my hope was torn apart like a cheap canvas tent, as the storms of doubt and fear raged iside of me. Yes, these winds of doubt was prophecied over my life many times, but I found that everytime I gazed at those moments, it was as irritating to my soul as grains of sand in ones eyes.
So many times before, did I have to use this place of solitude as an opportunity for growth. These are times when I have to discipline my thoughts and deliberately focus on who I am in this world. During these times, I have to dig deep to find my calmness and rest. I have learned to deliberately find my origin, the blueprint of my existence. For me personally, this blueprint is a person. His name is Jesus Christ. He has to be the starting point of what and who I am, the beginning of my thoughts, for in Him is life and restoration and abundance. He, who was not only an example for us in this world, but He was sent to be an example of us. He is my beginning and my end, without Him I do not want to exist.
It is difficult to know that your thoughts are dwelling in the desert if somebody doesn’t point it out to you. We normally get so stuck in our thinking and then we try and find the fault externally. For this I have an awesome wife and a couple of great friends. After 10 years of marriage, she knows when I hit these rough patches in life. And my friends, these guys will walk this desert road for me if they have to. It is so important to get honest feedback about our daily journey. Feedback not only tells you where you are, but it also tells you the state you’re in.
Over the years I have learned a couple of lessons about myself in these times. I have also learned how to get out of this way of thinking. I mentioned earlier how I focus on my origin. One of the ways I do this, is to go back to my earlier writings and recorded journal entries. I revisit previous victories and focus on Spirit filled words of Prohecy given to me in the past. These experiences and victories puts my mind in a new place.
Just before Jesus went into the desert, the voice of God was heard from heaven. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” said God. This confirmation gave the Spirit a place to rest. I know from my own experience, that once someone affirmed and confirmed my origin in me, I had the power to take on any storm. I have seen that this need for affirmation can also cause one to become a people pleaser, but that genuine deep longing to have your calling and origin confirmed in you, man, nothing beats that. In these specific times I have felt how the Spirit of God not only rested upon me, but He also abode in me. Strange thing is that this power, never made me proud or made me want to boast. Instead it gave me tears. Every single time it brought me to a place where I acknowledged the road I took into the desert, and the desperateness I had while I was there. It is a place of intense gratefulness and unimaginable clarity.
There is nothing like the smell of the morning dew after a desert storm. In this peace and freshness, you forget the intense feeling of doubt and fear. On your inside you have new pictures. These new pictures creates new feelings and new actions. I can honestly say, that after every visit in the desert, I came out with new dimensions added to my faith, vision and discipline.
Praise God for this journey.