I got planted in West Texas nearly 20 years ago, somewhat against my will. The people are wonderful here, but scenery is sadly lacking, especially if one has been spoiled by living in pretty places. Believing that I was supposed to ‘bloom where I am planted’, I put down roots, raised children, and have ever been trusting that I have a mission to accomplish here, and that in Divine timing, I might get to relocate to a more pleasant place of paradise.
I have learned to be content in the waiting for change, but not without some groaning. My spirit sometimes sags with the summer heat (yesterday it was 107.6 degrees in the shade), high electric bills, hot winds, fried, brown lawns, and dust storms that leave your teeth gritty if you dare try to smile outside. And smile big, I try—it makes life more enjoyable.
Just a few lessons learned from Desert Time (think metaphorically):
* Desert seasons produce hardy people. We have no mountains to escape to or to wander around. Landscape seems flat and boring. We see the wide horizon, but any change ahead seems, oh, so far off. Strong character is produced as we endure scorching ‘heat’ with gracious patience, living life faithfully, making a difference around us, one day at a time—while keeping our eyes focused on dreams ahead.
* Help the weaker ones. Spiritually speaking, we must put others’ needs first. To share with those who are struggling, help them keep protected along their journey. We do this out of our own strengths and victories.
* It’s easy to get dehydrated, so drink a lot. Water, yes. Fine wine occasionally, yes. Spirit, most definitely yes! Drink deep, drink long, drink until we are full, every day. Because we humans leak and need a constant refilling and refueling in order to survive. We may look parched or weather-worn on the outside, but inwardly, we are being renewed day by day by the One who made us.
* It only takes a careless spark to start a wildfire. “By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” (James 3:6) It is easier to prevent a fiery disaster than to control it once it has begun. Note to self: Watch my tongue . . . and quit complaining!
* Sometimes relief comes in the form of a storm. We pray consistently for welcome ‘rain’ and the answers often appear in the form of pounding hail, tornados, water torrents, or high winds–that force violent cleansing within our lives. Allowing our roots to go deep during difficult times keeps our foundation firm when we are shaken to the core.
* We all need to take a break once in a while. Get out of dodge, take a vacation, refresh in a different locale. See another part of the world—we return ‘home’ with a renewed perspective that will sustain us until seasons change.
Just call me ‘Desert Rose’—because I am learning to thrive by blooming and releasing divine fragrance in all sorts of dry places.
Question: What kinds of adversity are you learning to persist through? What’s your strategy? What are some of the lessons you have learned in the process?
Lessons From the Desert