Come to the Ocean
I have nothing.
There, I said it.
This has been a hard season for me. I’m dry, brittle. My tank is empty; I’m running on fumes. Now that I’ve given you a good visual of my current spiritual state, maybe I should explain why I feel this way.
Recognizing My Need
Subconsciously, I’ve considered myself to be superhuman—able to be and do everything on my own. I’ve committed to working three jobs, commuting two hours each day, studying (because I’m still a student), attending social engagements, and somehow remaining sane through it all. I’ve filled my time with so much that I haven’t had more than a couple of silent seconds to myself at the end of the day. And those seconds happen to be the ones right before I fall asleep, hours past when I needed to be in bed. Eating real food and making sure I am presentable enough to be seen in public have been seriously challenging. But the thing in my life that has suffered the most is my time with God.
Wow, that’s painful to type out.
Of all the things in my life, that was the first to slip. Honestly, it was partially because I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I didn’t think it would affect me that much. I didn’t think anyone would notice.
Boy, was I wrong.
Because here I am publicly confessing that I haven’t been able to do it all. So now you know. And even worse: I’ve noticed. It did affect me.
I’ve had the uncomfortable realization that I can’t do everything on my own. As much as I tried to convince myself and everyone else that I am more than capable of accomplishing all the tasks in front of me without help, the reality of the matter has become abundantly clear: I can’t do it alone. I need to be drawing grace and strength from God to live well every day. If I don’t spend time with him daily, though, it’s awfully hard to do that.
Coming to the Living Water
I have always been pretty consistent to spend time with God through his word and prayer. I’ve come to a place in my life where I genuinely enjoy that time. And now that I have not allowed space for it I hear my soul crying out. In today’s culture, I am urged to fill my time with more than is realistically possible in a day, and it has ended up pushing out what is most essential to living every day well. I’ve known spending time with God is important, but I don’t think I ever felt the weight of that until this arid season.
Because of my lack of quality time with God, I have noticed that my daily faith in him has weakened. I am finding it increasingly difficult to look to him for grace, strength, and help. Instead of relying on the vast ocean of life-giving water that is his word, I am trying to draw these things from my own pitiful puddle that is quickly drying up. Because of this I feel drained, weary, and more susceptible to spiritual struggles.
But unlike my limited water supply, God’s is infinite. His word is refreshing to my dry, tired soul — if only I would go to him. Jeremiah 31:25 says, “For I will satisfy the weary soul (or “thirsty person” CSB), and every languishing soul I will replenish.” God longs to fill me up with his goodness, give me rest, and rejuvenate me by his presence. And being in his word, allowing the Living Water to wash over me and quench my thirst, is essential to having daily faith in Christ and withstanding attacks from the enemy.
In Ephesians 6 where Paul wrote about the armor of God, he spoke of the shield of faith which would extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. “Faith” here means to have full confidence in God’s power even in the middle of attack. So, to take the shield of faith means to cling to God’s promises as truth and to be assured that he will protect me even in the middle of struggles.
The Roman soldiers during the time that Paul wrote these verses would soak their shields in water before battle in order to extinguish the fiery arrows of their enemies. Similarly, my faith needs to be drenched in the Living Water each day in order to effectively live for Christ and approach the tasks that are set before me no matter what darts the evil one may throw my way. Temptation, doubt, despair, and all other assaults are completely stifled by my belief in Christ and his faithfulness. But when I do not choose to be sufficiently hydrated by this Water, my soul suffers. My attitude suffers. My work suffers. My relationships suffer.
So, ironically, I am learning something from this place of nothing. I feel God pressing on me the essentialness of his word. Studying and meditating on scripture are vital to living each day for Christ; these practices are not optional. I can listen to all the sermons, podcasts, and worship songs I want, but those will not fill the void that is felt when I don’t spend time in the written words of God. Prayer and studying scripture aren’t just good ideas that God felt like tossing out for fun. They are completely necessary. They are how we are conformed to the image of Jesus, how we are able to face the difficulties of daily life, and how we are empowered to live a life that magnifies Christ. God didn’t have the Bible written out for his own good, he knew we needed to consistently come and swim in the ocean of his goodness. And as we come to know and enjoy God’s goodness through his word we are better able to live a life that brings him the glory he deserves.
-By Becca Walters