Ministry Mondays - When the Well Goes Dry

The truth is I'm experiencing a little bit of writer's block lately. No, the real truth is I'm experiencing a little bit of brain block. Not only do I not seem to have the words to write; I don't even have the thoughts to try to put into words. I hate to admit this, but my brain just feels empty.

Normally I wake up with a dozen different thoughts going on in my head. I come up with ideas for magazine articles in the shower, outline messages while I'm on my walk, put together blog posts while I wash the breakfast dishes, and create whole new book proposals while I'm driving to the grocery store. I'm the kind of person that creates sermon outlines from my daily Bible reading, even though I never preach those sermons to anyone. I don't have to tell my mind to meditate on the Word of God; it just happens. I actually have to reign my thoughts in and force myself to think about the practical things of life like what I'll cook for supper.

Lately, not so much. What I'll cook for supper is a no-brainer. In fact, now that I think about it, my family told me just the other night that I've been cooking some especially fabulous dinners lately. That should tell you where my brain has been spending it's time as of late. On the other hand, writing my devotionals that are due next Monday, blogging each day, and preparing a message I need to present next week are all next to impossible. I can't seem to wrap my brain around any one idea long enough to get two complete sentences strung together, much less tie up the whole thing into a neat, presentable package.

This predicament has concerned me for several days now, but I haven't been able to even sit and think about one topic long enough to really mull it over. But this morning, when my house was quiet and my dogs finally quit bothering me, I sat on my sofa and talked with God about it.

Is this the beginning stages of Alzheimer's? Is it some sort of dementia? Or maybe I have some sin that's blocking the airwaves not only between me and God, but between my own two ears as well. Then again, maybe I'm just done. Maybe, at the age of 4? I'm just through thinking of creative, profound or even silly imaginative thoughts.

But then the Lord was good to bring to my mind something I've been doing a lot of lately, but hadn't really considered (because I haven't considered much of anything lately!). I was just thrilled He brought something, anything to my mind. But I was especially glad that He cared enough about my mental state to help me see what potentially is going on with me.

He showed me that while I haven't been able to "produce" much creatively or intellectually lately, I've been drinking truth and instruction and encouragement in like seldom before. I've returned to reading some good Christian fiction lately. I've been intentionally tuning in to some sound and wise preaching on television, like Dr. David Jeremiah and Charles Stanley. I've been reading my Bible hungrily, not just passively or with boredom. And I even caught myself at one point yesterday (Sunday) morning sitting on the edge of my pew and leaning forward in my seat as my own husband preached the sermon. I was drinking it in like a parched beggar. Once I caught myself I tried to sit back in my seat a little so I wouldn't look so starved, but I still drank in the message with gusto.

The Lord also reminded me this morning that I'd just finished writing a 6-week Bible study that I had poured my life into pretty steadily for the past four months or so. My first response to this reminder was, "So?" Writing the book was a little draining and tiring at times, but it was also a blast. And I gained so much as I wrote. Why should that work cause my brain to shrivel up like a prune?

Because, aware of it or not, I'd poured out a lot spiritually in the past months.

Ok, so obviously the point here is that I'm kind of sitting on empty right now. I hate saying that because it implies I haven't done something right (in my prideful estimation). But the truth is, my emptiness is not a sin, it's just a state of being. And it's not irreversible or life-threatening. It just means I need to soak up a little before I try to pour out so much again for a while.

I'm used to being the one preparing and serving the meal, when it comes to spiritual things. I'm a teacher, a writer, an adviser, a mentor. But truthfully, even those who teach must learn. Even those who advise must be directed. Even those who mentor need to be mentored. And even those who write need to read.

So this week I'm going to be taking it kind of easy on the blog. I have devotionals and a message due next week. I trust God will give me what I need to get those done. But whether or not I write each day on this blog may be a different story. If there's anything in my head, you'll surely get to read about it. But if I don't show up here some days, you'll just know that there still isn't much going on between my ears.

Do you ever hit dry spells in ministry? I've hit them before, but this is the first time the dryness has manifested itself this way. Usually I get physically exhausted or maybe a little weary of being around people. Not the case this time. I just don't have anything in my noggin this time :)

What do you do when you're drained from ministry? When you've poured out so much that you find yourself a little empty? I hope you're full today. I hope your soul is filled to the brim with God's goodness. Funny thing is, I feel like my soul is full. My brain just isn't! But, hey, I'm working on that. Or rather I'm letting Him work on it and I'm just drinking it in.

Blessings, sweet friends! I'd appreciate your prayers if you're so inclined.

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