Dry Bones Come Alive

As we drove along these beautiful blue mountain ridges, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to live all the way out here… completely isolated from the pains and sadness of the world and instead immersed in the wonders of God’s creation. How easy it would be to curl up in front of the fire with a captivating book after a long prayerful hike in the woods. No schedule, no “real” clothes, and no distractions. It is only natural for us to want to escape from the world sometimes… so many situations are out of our control, and they are usually the ones that we try our hardest to control. This spiral inevitably results in more pain, confusion, and even anger.

Healthy habits can be hard to maintain, especially in the midst of struggle. The most difficult periods of my life were times in which a relationship with God was not my first priority. Like many of you, I have momentarily followed the patterns of the world and tried to persevere with my own agenda instead of God’s (Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”). I needed a glass of wine, more time off of work, a night of watching TV with no outside communication, etc. None of these things were wrong, but they were a bandaid to the problem… it is no wonder that I was still left with a thirst for satisfaction and fulfillment!

The moment I faced my sufferings and turned to a deeper relationship with God – going to church again, praying more and actually listening, praying with my husband, joining a small group, listening to sermons, reading scripture – my dry bones came alive. I slowly but surely started to feel more like “me” than I had in a very long time.

My “blue” period was very long – almost a year and a half. Our lives had turned completely around in a period of only a few months. Some changes were joyful – we got married, we moved to my hometown and met some great new friends. Other changes were very terrible and hard to move on from. I thought that I had a great relationship with God and wasn’t sure why my mood hadn’t changed. Feeling powerless over certain areas of your life can be very defeating and it was wearing me down (and therefore weighing heavy on my husband’s heart as well).

The moment that  my perspective changed, my sense of God’s presence was palpable. Rest and rhythm became necessary disciplines to my day. Let me explain that I am NOT a naturally restful person. My dad describes me as a pin ball – I bounce of off something and go full speed until I bounce off something else. Movement and restlessness have been core aspects of my personality since I can remember. This didn’t negatively effect me until I came to a period of life where rest and rhythm were necessary for inner peace. I had to start at the beginning! This is when I looked towards the world for comfort. Homemade pizza and a glass of wine from our favorite place was a go-to on a bad day. Shutting off my phone and watching Netflix was another fail-proof option. However, months and months went by and I was only experiencing temporary solace. My inner self was still restless and I had no idea what to do about it. All of the “fixes” were just masks, and they didn’t get down to the real issues. True peace can only come from Jesus… I just had no clue what that looked like.

I learned to have short periods throughout the day as well as longer periods throughout the week to be still (Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still”). I started running (more on that later!) and quieting my mind to read a book, pray with no distractions, or listen to worship music while baking. Doing this every once and a while was no good – it had to become a rhythm in my life. Praying once a week or doing it in the car with 1000 other things to pay attention to wasn’t going to produce inner peace. In order to receive the full blessings of God, I now fully believe that we must be receptive of his guidance… and that can only happen in the still moments. I spent countless hours listening to various sermons to try and find the way to “peace”. Apparently it was through God, but I had no idea what that meant or how to go about it. After a LOT of prayer and a LOT of being still and listening (sometimes with nothing from God but only my own voice saying “shh, stop thinking”), I am here to encourage you to find your rhythm and your restful balance in life and in relationship with God. The rest will fall into place.

Two wonderful speakers spoke at a women’s conference at my church and were instrumental to my journey. Valorie Burton said that the best way to fight off fear was to make a list of what you are afraid of and next to each one of them write the worst case scenario. The “what-if’s” become smaller and less important when you see it all written down. Kerri Weems wrote Rhythms of Grace and her words gave me much needed insight in regards to the necessity of consistent restfulness.


Truth:

Romans 8:5-6 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

Ezekiel 37 {The whole chapter is where the title of this blog post comes from. Lauren Daigle sings a wonderful song about it called “Come Alive (Dry Bones)”}

1Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy.”

Romans 12:11-12 “Never lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.