river, creek, water, waterfall, dry rivers

Dry Rivers

Just to be totally transparent here, I’ve been going through kind of a dry season.

Less inspiration for topics to write about on this blog (even though I have several drafts I’ve worked on a lot).

Spiritual and physical fatigue.

Strange physical issues. Severe abdominal cramping, feelings of nausea, skin rashes, numbness/tingling in hands or throughout body…. (Although I suspect toxic exposure and allergic reactions may be involved, as this would fit with some of my activities and exposure lately. And thankfully, at least I’ve been learning how to care for myself in general so severe problems like this are a less frequent occurrence.)

And feelings of inadequacy.

Sometimes, I just feel so unqualified and ill-equipped to be blogging here. To be writing about matters which are very important to me and yet…still perplex me. Or about problems, challenges, and issues over which I myself stumble. I still have my own struggles, that’s for sure.

And yet, I know that if we each were to refrain from speaking or writing anything due to an awareness of our own inadequacies, then none of us (who are honest with ourselves) would ever utter a word or publish anything! Rivers of information would dry up, and we would all wither in solitude, separated from the learning opportunities, mistakes, struggles, or wisdom of others.

And so, in my very much inadequate and unfinished state, I am again endeavoring to post here, as I view a stagnation in the flow of information and encouragement as a concern almost as grave as that of my own abject condition of imperfection and incompletion.

However, right now, I have energy for little other than sharing some words of encouragement (mostly that I didn’t even write). And I think at this moment, this is what is most needed on The Bleeding Blogger anyway.

So here goes. 🙂

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

– 2 Corinthians 4:7-11

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

– Romans 8:18

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

– Jesus

For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

– Psalm 22:24

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

– 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:6-7

And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

– Luke 12:22-32

The part about the ravens having no place to store their food just really hit me tonight. While most people who know me might describe me as a semi-unprepared (if not completely unprepared/disorganized) person, there is at least one way I do have a tendency to prepare, I suppose for my own sense of security: stocking up on supplies I know (or think) I’ll need in the future, in case I can’t afford/access them later (maybe they get discontinued or something). And so, in a season where my family and I are unable to stock up on things as much as we might like, a greater trust and awareness of God’s provision has been necessary, and is beginning to emerge.

All along, we have depended on Him for everything, but it’s in seasons like these that we more frequently acknowledge and recognize that we depend on Him – that everything we have is from Him (and always has been).

We, like the ravens, cannot store up (at least to the degree we once could). Yet we continue to see all our needs met as they arise.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.

– Jesus
The ways of our Shepherd are gentle, restful, and peaceful. We are not to strive but to surrender. We need not apprehend, but only abide. His heart is kind, and He is strong even when we are weak. He is the one who provides and protects.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9

Lay down the extra rules. The burdens of legalism and any unbiblical add-ons that have been placed on your shoulders. The yoke of Jesus is easy, and His burden light. We need only live by the truth with which God has provided us.

Lay down your to-do list. (Not saying to-do lists are bad. It’s good to have plans and goals, but if God’s plans for our day or week look different from our own, are we prepared to be flexible? To invest our time in situations that don’t result in financial compensation or reward? Or in the approval or notice of others? Activities which are less quantifiable or “legitimate” in the eyes of most? Temporal finances comprise but one of many economies. There exists an eternal economy as well. Maybe you’re spending a lot of time supporting a suffering family member, or caring for a friend who’s recently experienced loss. Raising children, and spending time with them. Creating beautiful works of art, encouragement, and praise from your bedridden state. These things “count” and certainly “pay off”. Just in a different system that is often invisible and unrecognized.)

Lay down your fears. (Definitely tough to do. So simple yet so hard. It’s a constant struggle for me. Besides prayer, one other method that has been helping is a meditation technique that a friend recently shared with me. IIRC, it involves imagining a stream with leaves floating on it, and you place your fears and troublesome thoughts on those leaves and let them travel away on the river/stream.)

You were not meant to carry these burdens. You are not strong enough to bear them on your own, and if you keep carrying them, they will break you eventually. Give them to the Shepherd. Watch them float on leaves down the river.

The Bleeding Blogger

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