Tips For Surviving A Wilderness Experience

There are times in our lives when we find ourselves in a barren desert place. We don’t feel like we are doing anything worthwhile in ou lives. Everything seems stagnant.

Perhaps we’re unemployed, feeling that we have no purpose, we lack close friendships, or an inability to have children (if we want them), illness, unanswered prayers to name a few.

It may be our turn in the wilderness and we feel withdrawn from everything in our lives. During these times we can feel completely alone.

Here are a few tips to obtain some form of sanity:

Don’t Complain or Grumble

It’s easy not to feel thankful about our situations when we cannot see a way out of it.

If you are familiar with the account in the Bible about the Israelites in the desert. They complained continuously and that had a detrimental effect on them, although it probably revealed a lot about the state of their hearts. They ended up wandering around in the wilderness for 40-years, when in fact it should have been a relatively short journey.

Complaining and constant grumbling about your situation is a sign of a lack of faith in God’s eyes. Especially when we can worship Him instead.

We should lift up our situation to God and trust His ability to do what’s best for us. We can pray about our situations without complaining about them.

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.“

When you begin to phrases like “I hate my life” or I’ll never get out of this mess,” that colors our own perspective on everything. Soon your words will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You begin to hate every aspect of your life and find that in every aspect you are failing. Similarly complaining about God and making pronouncements about Him such as “you never bless me – you always bless someone else” can erode our own relationship with God and our sense of trust in Him.

Complaining also retires our brain so that you actually end up feeling worse as you internalize these words. It can become a habit which fills our minds with toxic thoughts.

Be Thankful

This is the opposite of the above. When we speak out or make positive affirmations even if we don’t believe them at first we begin to revitalize our faith.

When you feel you are lost in a wilderness situation with no hope, we need to give praise and thanksgiving to God. Remember these are not idle words they become life words. Speak these out loud as often as you can and they will have powerful effect on your situation.

Keep Looking Up

In Exodus 13: 21-22, The Lord went ahead of the Israelites in the clouds to guide them on their way and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light. They never left the place of the people. God will never,rave us or forsake us if we trust in Him. If we keep looking up, we will be guided.

If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within you’ll be depressed. If you look to God, you’ll be at rest.

If we stop looking up for God to guide us, we will be unable to see where we are going. We will wander about in darkness and get lost. We’ll forget that God is nearby and ahead of us leading us through our wilderness (through the desert places).

Don’t Make The Thing You Lack Into An Idol

When our prayers go unanswered and God doesn’t seem to grant the very thing we want, it’s easy to become completely focused on the very thing we lack to the point of obsession.

Our desire or need night be perfectly legitimate, like having the job we want, or a relationship.

The Spiritual definition of an Idol is:

Something we cannot live without… It is anything more important than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that,should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.

In Exodus 17 and Numbers 11:4-6, the Israelites began to hunger after another kind of food to the point they were obsessed with it. They were even willing to sacrifice their freedom in order to return to Egypt to eat anything but the manna which God provided for them each day. They allowed their desire for something other than God Himself to cloud their judgement and to become all consuming test they couldn’t live without it. In effect, they had made this into an idol.

In Exodus 32 the Israelites asked Aaron to fashion them a physical idol, which took the form of a golden calf and they began to worship themselves and to declare that this had brought them out of Egypt.

God is the only one who can meet our deepest needs. Don’t allow your identity to be based on the thing you lack.

If we look to some created thing to give us the meaning, hope, and happiness that only God Himself can give, it will eventually fail to deliver and is sure to break our hearts.

It’s very easy for something that seems perfectly legitimate to become the thing that gives our lives meaning or makes us who we are.

We may feel that our work or our relationships define us. However, if it Christ in who we find our identity.

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