Alessandro Pronzato counsels, “If you… go to the desert to be rid of all the dreadful people and all of the awful problems in your life, you will be wasting your time. You should go to the desert for total confrontation with yourself.”
In the time it takes for us to realize that running away with hopes of finding something new, a complete circle has been made. The same voices surround and cloud our thoughts and take over our minds. Eventually, we think to ourselves where has this taken me? How much time has been wasted? Am I still battling the same conversations in my mind?
Just recently, well to approximate the time I have spent that last 3 years living in this desert, facing myself. I even had a tattoo put on my arm to remind me of the times of the desert. The tattoo has trees growing out of a light bulb. The tree represents the desert and the light bulb represents me being the light. Whether we are living in the desert season or not, we are to be the “salt and light” to the world. However, that means we must change our perspective of what that means. My initial response was, this sucks!! I would like to run and hide especially from the thoughts, “you’re not a good mom, leader, or soldiers wife.” All I hear is, “you hated the world, so now you must suffer, for the hurt you reflected upon others.” What made matters worse is when close loved ones said, “that it is all your fault,” or “I know what it is like to live with someone like you.” As if, my own thoughts are not strong and loud enough at keeping me from freedom. Do I really need more people telling me how much infliction or pain, I have caused?
Facing myself meant taking a new perspective. This was going to be a season in the desert for healing, renewal, and redirection. That meant listening and admitting to all what others were saying about me. It also was a time to make me face the realities and truths of God’s love and purpose. The desert seasons will vary from person to person and can be different lengths of time, that is determined by God. You may want to avoid, numb yourself out or not admit you need it, but remember that the renewal of our hearts are not to benefit ourselves. It is made to unite and prepare our hearts for the presence of God’s Kingdom to bring about an eternal change.
People ask me, “how do you handle all of what you face?” Let me point out some important steps with handling the things we face. First, confront yourself. It will always be the first and most important step to change the circular, and dead end pattern you have been making. Second, time is to silence your own voice. When our voices are silenced we are intentionally creating time for God’s voice to intervene. Third, replacement. Where the heart is placed bleeds a reflection to whether we are listening to what God is doing through us. Forth, direction determines whether you stay or go. We sometimes face what is true, but never act on it to move us away from what is keeping us in the same pattern. These steps are meant to renew and strengthen our hearts for a sound mind and soul.
Our predetermined perception of the desert is what stops us from what we do not want to confront. A changed perception will determine our new destination.