Embrace the Valley
Psalm 51:17 (NLT)
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
Everyone has heard of the mountains and valleys. I don’t mean the ones in nature. No. These mountains and valleys that I am speaking of are the spiritual ups and downs. The down time meaning you don’t feel like going to church, and if you are you are just sitting there cold. Times where you may go days (or more) without speaking to God, and when you do speak it is a short, “thank you Jesus for today, give me peace”. I am in no way saying that there is a wrong prayer, but most of you already know what I am talking about.
I am talking about being in a place spiritually that you just don’t feel like doing anything. You may not feel like going to church this Sunday, but it actually ends up lasting 6 months. You may not feel like doing the dishes, but then that turns into letting the laundry pile up. You may have had a long day so you decide you’re going to spend your entire Saturday doing nothing. Maybe it started out that way but you ended up still being on the couch every chance you got. You may be staying at work late because you love the distraction; you wait until you absolutely have to deal with whatever your reality may be. Everyone has their default mode and probably varies with your personality and how you deal with stress.
I think I can say that everyone reading this can agree that no one enjoys being uncomfortable. I know I can say I avoid discomfort like I do Black Friday shopping. (hah) God has really been dealing with me in this area in this particular time of my life. Yes, I am one of the ones that needs to embrace the valley. I don’t mean be thankful in all circumstances, praise God “in the hallway”, or be joyful for trials and tribulations. Those are great things to do, but I am talking about something slightly different.
The reason that John Doe stopped coming to church 5 months ago probably started with him not wanting to be uncomfortable. Maybe he lost his job or his wife of 30 years passed away. Truth is John just wanted to stay home once because he just didn’t feel like going that Sunday. That’s fine right? Well next Sunday comes around and Joe is thinking “well I am much more comfortable at my house. I really just don’t want to run into Robert and Nancy.” It turned into a habit. What you may ask? Not embracing the valley.
The reason that Sarah started letting the dishes and laundry pile up because she has 3 kids and just lost her husband overseas. She has been in a state of numbness for months. She feeds her kids microwavable food or cereal for every meal. She does the bare minimum- just enough to survive. She wonders if she will ever be able to get back to “normal”. Sarah usually goes to church faithfully, and has a great relationship with The Lord. Now she is at a point where she can’t hear his voice or feel his presence. We have all been there. The depression became a habit and almost comfortable. It sounds harsh, but these are the moments when we really have to embrace the valley.
I am currently in a place where I am having to learn how to embrace the valley. Stop distracting myself with work, social media, and skipping church. That is the path that the devil wants us to take. He wants us to stay in the state of depression, oppression, worry, fear, worthlessness, and hopelessness. I am here to tell you that God is bigger! It is totally fine to be broken, feel worthless, worry, and get depressed. They key is don’t stay there. Picture yourself at the bottom of a mountain and you see no way to get to the top. The Word of God- the Bible is your stepping stones. You have to pray and cry out to God, and take hold of the promises that are in the Word. Each time you reach out to him and praise him, and stand on the promises, you will start to notice rocks will start to appear. Rocks for you to step on to climb up the mountain. They may appear slowly or they may all appear at once and you have a way to get out of the valley. God is never predictable but he is always faithful.
My last words I want to leave you with is to pray and ask God to show you ways you may be distracting yourself from getting those stepping stones to climb your mountain. Are you comfortable in your valley? If you know someone who is currently in the valley, go minister to them and share this message. Help them to embrace the valley but not to stay there. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have those yucky valleys, but we live in a fallen world. It says in the Bible that God collects all of our tears and he is near to the contrite and broken hearted. I always have to remind myself that when I am in a valley, that nothing is wasted. God will cause everything to work for the good. Everything.
God Bless You!