I think all types of relationships experience drought: Shortage of love, scarcity of concern, lack of trust.
Yes, you heard me right. Every type of relationship. This may be the reason why some marriages fail, families fall apart, and even friendships end. I may not be an expert in all of these, but I sure went through something similar last year: in the midst of my seemingly strong relationship with Jesus, I experienced spiritual drought.
When I got to really think about it, it’s not like it started when “bad” things happened to me. This drought didn’t start when I lost a good friend who succumbed to an illness, and when my grandmother passed away… it didn’t start when my boyfriend and I broke up, nor did it start when it seemed like I won’t be able to be with my family again. No, it started way before that.
It started when worship in the morning wasn’t as exciting as it used to be. Sometimes I’d sit for ten minutes with nothing… I didn’t seem to feel the presence of God. It started when prayers became a routine for me, and I sometimes fall asleep in the middle of praying the rosary, or worse, during mass in church. It started when I stopped visiting the blessed sacrament even when I had the time, and became too busy with other things. I realized that my drought started in the most mundane way, and it slowly made its way into my mind, my heart, until such time that the fire and passion I felt for Jesus was almost dried up.
Thankfully, I was able to make my way back just in time. And I would like to share with you the steps that I took.
– Acknowledge and Accept. I talked to several friends, including the ones whose spiritual life seemed so deep and perfect. They all said the same thing: The fire burns out sometimes, and daily spiritual activities will not always be inspiring or exciting. But when you’re in a relationship with Jesus, you have to hold your end of the bargain, and make it work.
– Pray, pray, pray. When things got tough, I prayed. When I was happy, I prayed. When I felt like God wasn’t listening, I still prayed. I just prayed and prayed until one day, my empathy came back and I eventually felt God’s presence again.
– Attend the Feast. It’s true! I had to surround myself with people who are thirsty for God’s word, all out in worship, and admittedly crazy about the Lord! I am barely one year in the Feast, and I managed to keep my fire burning by being with awesome, God-loving people!
– Repeat. Thinking back on my life and my spiritual journey (the real, serious one) from way back in college, I realized that it’s a cycle. I can be so hungry for spiritual nourishment and zealous with pursuing God for a month, and then have everything die down the next. So I just need to repeat all the steps in order to gain it back.
When in drought, do. Keep on doing all of these, and, coming from someone who has experienced it, believe me, you’ll come back more deeply in love with the Lord. 🙂
Note: This reflection was written for the Feast Makati Amorsolo Bulletin.