Have you ever wondered why it seems like a rain cloud hangs over your head as you go through your “wilderness” experience? Have you ever wondered, as you lie in bed at night, where you can find help? I think we all can say we have been through the wilderness experience.
I often hear men and women in my practice wonder why they are stuck in life. If you are a student of the Bible you have probably read about Moses and his wilderness experience. He wandered through the desert for 40 years. Can you imagine that? As the leader of the Israelites, he also had to endure all the complaints about his leadership abilities.
What is the best way to deal with the wilderness experience? The first step is to determine what direction are you heading and is it really the direction you want to go? Once you have determined your final destination, you’ll want to find out the road conditions or struggles that may affect your travel plans. Many of us have a tendency to stay in one place and not move an inch only because we do not have a game plan for the next step. Will may sit out in the rain or storms of life and have no clue as to how to take the proper steps to get out of the desert. Does this sound familiar to you?
I hear many stories where people feel isolated and alone and they struggle trying to make sense of it all. Are you alone because of your actions or inactions? Are you alone because you have chosen to isolate yourself? These are probably the most common reasons for the wilderness experience. A recent client told me that when her husband passed away, she got plenty of attention until the day after the funeral. She said the calls stopped and people didn’t stop by the house. She felt all alone. I asked her if she did anything to connect with her friends and family. “Well, no I didn’t” she replied. I then asked her if she thought people where just trying to be careful not to intrude on her grieving time and were concerned they might be bothering her and wanted to leave her alone. I didn’t want to appear heartless, but kept asking her questions. I asked her if she thought it would be possible to reach out and invite a friend or neighbor over for a cup of coffee and conversation. I think people back off because they are afraid that they won’t know what to say.
A key to getting out of the wilderness experience is to not wait for things to come to you. You need to go to the source of comfort and peace. When life throws you a curve ball, reach out to your family and friends. Invite them to your home. You cannot live a life of isolation. That will never work!
The wilderness experience can last forever if you allow it to. To make things happen in your life, you have to go after life changing events. If you lose your job, don’t sit around and wait for a job to come to you. Start looking for work immediately. If you end an important relationship, don’t sit around and have a prolonged pity party. Go out, meet people and enjoy new friends. We have to make things happen in order to enjoy this life God gave us. I ask my clients who are having a wilderness experience this question, “Do you control your brain or does your brain control you?” A simple but thought provoking question.
Here are a few suggestions for taking control of your life when the wilderness experience happens.
• Evaluate your position. Ask yourself how you ended up in the wilderness.
• List the changes you need to make.
• Don’t wait for someone to help you. Do what you need to do to get out of the wilderness.
• Get involved in the lives of others. Go out for dinner or a movie and make new friends.
• Invite people over and help others who are in need.
• Don’t wait for friends and family to call you! Make phone calls to loved ones and good friends. It will lift your spirit!
• Reconnect with old friends.
The point I want to share with you today is, don’t wait for people to come to you. Your family and friends may not realize what you are dealing with. They don’t understand. Remember, they can’t read your mind. If they could they would be there for you if they knew your needs. So reach out to them and express your feelings. That’s how we connect with hurting and lonely people who are living through the wilderness experience. Don’t delay! If you’re wandering and need a friend to walk with you during this time reach out and let them know you want some company while you get out of the wilderness.
Try some of these suggestions. I promise they will help! I have had a wilderness experience and I know first had that it’s no fun. But if there’s anything you glean out of today’s article, please remember…there will be brighter days ahead. I promise.