Navigating Spiritual Deserts and Finding Renewal

Emmanuel Abimbola

Emmanuel Abimbola

Contributing Writer
Updated Jan 10, 2024
Navigating Spiritual Deserts and Finding Renewal

Acknowledging this condition is not a sign of spiritual failure but an invitation to introspection and renewal.

In our journey of Christian living, there are moments when we may encounter the sensation of spiritual dryness. The once vibrant and nourishing connection with the divine seems to wane, leaving a feeling of emptiness, a lack of intensity, and a waning faith. Each step forward feels heavier and more arduous than the last. 

In such moments, a believer's heart, which was once quickened by the joy of spiritual communion, may now echo with a deafening silence, leaving him yearning for divine assurance.

You might wonder, How did I get to such a desolate spiritual terrain? Various factors contribute to this condition. The hustle and bustle of daily life, the relentless demands of work, and the constant influx of information can create a cacophony that drowns out the still, small voice that once resonated within.

Neglecting the sacred disciplines of prayer, meditation, and Bible study can gradually erode the spiritual reservoir, leaving it depleted over time.

In moments of spiritual dryness, it's crucial to remember that this is not an uncommon plight among believers. Even the Psalmist, in Psalm 42:1-2, expressed the soul's thirst for God, likening it to the panting of a deer for water. Acknowledging this condition is not a sign of spiritual failure but an invitation to introspection and renewal.

The cure for spiritual dryness is a deliberate return to the wellspring of spiritual nourishment. Just as a dehydrated body craves water, a parched spirit longs for the living water of God's presence. 

Spiritual dryness may be regarded as an opportunity for having a more intimate encounter with God, a time of refining and strengthening. It's a call to rediscover the joy of intimacy with the living God, to let the rivers of living water flow afresh. Embracing the dry seasons as part of the spiritual journey allows one to appreciate the seasons of abundance even more.

Acknowledging and dealing with spiritual dryness requires humility, patience, and a genuine desire to rekindle the flames of faith. It's not a reflection of God's abandonment but an invitation to a more profound, transformative experience with Him. 

So, let us, as fellow pilgrims on this spiritual journey, encourage one another to press on, knowing that the oasis of spiritual refreshment awaits those who earnestly seek it.

What Causes Spiritual Dryness?

Feeling spiritually dry can be caused by a variety of factors, and it is critical to recognize that it is a common experience among believers, not a sign of weakness or failure. 

One possible cause is a sense of disconnection from one's beliefs—a sense that one's vibrant connection with God and faith has weakened in some way. The demands of work, family, and other responsibilities can exacerbate this disconnect, leaving little room for nurturing one's spiritual life.

Moreover, a loss of faith, whether temporary or lingering, can contribute to spiritual dryness. Doubts, uncertainties, or challenging life circumstances may lead to a distancing from the core beliefs that once anchored the spirit. It's like the winds of doubt blowing away the leaves of certainty, leaving behind a sense of emptiness and questioning.

In some cases, our routine can also play a role. Going through the motions of spiritual practices without genuine engagement can make the vibrant aspects of faith feel stale. Imagine reading the Bible or praying without a spark of enthusiasm; it can lead to a spiritual routine that lacks the life-giving energy it once had.

However, it's crucial to view spiritual dryness not as a dead end but as an opportunity for growth. In these moments, the dryness becomes like a classroom where advanced lessons about faith, resilience, and the nature of one's relationship with God can be learned. It's an invitation to reevaluate priorities, rekindle passion, and seek a more authentic connection with the divine.

Acknowledging and addressing the causes of spiritual dryness involves a measure of self-reflection and honesty. It's about recognizing that, like any journey, the path of faith has its hills and valleys. Embracing this truth allows for a more compassionate and understanding approach toward oneself, fostering an environment where growth, rather than condemnation, can take root.

How to Navigate Spiritual Dryness

Spiritual dryness can make you feel like you are stuck in a rut, unable to hear God's voice or find joy in your faith. But don't despair! There are ways to navigate this challenging season and emerge with a renewed sense of purpose and passion:

Reconnect through Prayer and Reflection

Take intentional moments to reconnect with God through prayer and reflection, pouring out your heart and concerns before Him and allowing space for His comforting presence to fill the void.

Dive into Scripture with Fresh Eyes

Open the Bible with a fresh perspective, exploring its pages not as a routine but as a source of living wisdom. Delve into passages that have brought you joy and inspiration in the past, and seek new insights that may reignite the flame of your spiritual journey.

Embrace Worship and Praise

Engage in worship and praise, whether through music, singing, or simply acknowledging the goodness of God. Let the rhythms of worship create an atmosphere where the dryness yields to the refreshing rain of God's presence.

Seek Spiritual Community

Surround yourself with a supportive spiritual community. Share your struggles and triumphs with fellow believers and draw strength from their experiences. Sometimes, the encouragement of others can provide a much-needed restoration.

Explore Different Forms of Prayer

Experiment with various forms of prayer, from structured prayers to spontaneous conversations with God. Allow your prayer life to be dynamic and flexible, adapting to the changing needs of your spirit during times of dryness.

Practice Gratitude

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude, intentionally counting your blessings and acknowledging the goodness of God in your life. Focusing on gratitude can shift your perspective and create space for the Holy Spirit to work amid spiritual dryness.

Set Realistic Spiritual Goals

Establish realistic and achievable spiritual goals. Break down your journey into manageable steps, celebrating small victories along the way. This can bring a sense of accomplishment, motivation, and renewal.

Try New Spiritual Disciplines

Incorporate new spiritual disciplines into your routine. Whether fasting, silence, or journaling, these practices can provide fresh avenues for encountering God and navigating spiritual dryness.

Be Patient with Yourself

Understand that spiritual dryness is a natural part of the faith journey and does not define the entirety of your relationship with God. Allow the process of renewal to unfold gradually, trusting that, in due time, the rains of spiritual vitality will once again replenish the arid soil of your soul.

Finding Renewal

In the quest for renewal and the rekindling of one's spiritual life, we must explore diverse avenues that breathe fresh life into the soul. 

One powerful source of renewal is in the embrace of nature, where the beauty of creation reflects the majesty of the Creator. Spending time in natural surroundings, whether a quiet stroll in a park or a moment of contemplation by a serene lake, can provide a profound feeling of connection to God's handiwork.

Nature is depicted in Psalm 19:1: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork," becoming an eloquent testimony to the divine. The rustling leaves, the gentle flow of a stream, and the vastness of the sky all speak to the grandeur of the Creator, offering a sacred space for reflection, prayer, and a renewed appreciation for the wonders of the spiritual journey.

Engaging in acts of service emerges as another potent avenue for spiritual renewal. Acts of kindness, big or small, benefit others and serve as a balm for the soul. The act of giving, as highlighted in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over," becomes a reciprocal exchange where the giver, in their generosity, receives a measure of renewal that overflows.

Furthermore, embracing new spiritual practices or traditions can offer a fresh perspective on our faith journey. Just as Jesus spoke in Matthew 9:17 about putting new wine into new bottles, exploring different spiritual disciplines becomes a vessel for the infusion of renewed vitality.

Whether it's delving into the contemplative silence of meditation, embracing the discipline of fasting, or participating in rituals that align with a newfound understanding, these practices open doors to deeper dimensions of spiritual experience.

Also, in the pursuit of renewal, it's essential to approach the journey with an open heart, willing to discover the sacred in the ordinary and the extraordinary alike. As we heed the Psalmist's call to "be still and know" (Psalm 46:10), let us find solace in the simplicity of nature, joy in acts of service, and inspiration in the exploration of new spiritual disciplines. 

In this multifaceted approach to renewal, we discover that the path to a revived and invigorated spiritual life is as diverse and dynamic as the ever-unfolding tapestry of our faith journey.

Cultivating a Sustainable Spiritual Life

While seeking a vibrant and thriving spiritual life, consistency and perseverance are vital pillars, anchoring us in a steadfast commitment to our faith journey. Just as the Apostle Paul encourages endurance in Galatians 6:9, stating, "And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not," the importance of staying steadfast in spiritual practices becomes evident.

It is beneficial to maintain constancy, set realistic goals, and recognize that small, achievable steps contribute significantly to the overall aspects of spiritual growth. Much like the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:23, where faithfulness in small matters is rewarded, consistent, daily efforts in spiritual disciplines, even if seemingly modest, yield a cumulative effect that sustains and nourishes the soul over time.

Establishing a routine that incorporates spiritual practices into our daily lives further fortifies this commitment. Creating a sacred space in one's day for prayer, meditation, and reflection fosters a sense of continuity and allows for the infusion of spiritual energy into the mundane aspects of life. 

As Psalm 5:3 suggests, the regularity of seeking God's presence becomes a foundational element in the maintenance of a vibrant spiritual life: "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."

Consistency and perseverance, therefore, become not burdensome tasks but intentional choices woven into all aspects of our daily lives. In this steadfast commitment, we discover that the vibrant spiritual life we seek is not an elusive destination but a continuous journey enriched by the constancy of our efforts and the unfailing grace of the divine.

Embracing the season of spiritual dryness is not a sign of weakness but a profound opportunity for personal growth and renewal on the unique path of your spiritual journey. Just as a tree undergoes a dormant phase in winter before blossoming in spring, your spiritual dryness can be the precursor to a season of vibrant renewal, where new life and insights take root.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/flyparade

Emmanuel Abimbola headshotEmmanuel Abimbola is a creative freelance writer, blogger, and web designer. He is a devout Christian with an uncompromising faith who hails from Ondo State in Nigeria, West Africa. As a lover of kids, Emmanuel runs a small elementary school in Arigidi, Nigeria.