What do you do when you need to hear from God in your circumstance? I don’t know about you but I have experienced seasons where your circumstances are more unbearable than usual. Small events that you typically blow off are lingering a little longer. Your patience is a little thinner. Your energy is tapped out.
Your valley season has come to visit.
Yes, it is uncomfortable, painful, irritating, and every other ugly adjective you can come up with. However, how you handle this season will determine how long you stay in it!!! When I look back over the valley seasons in my life, how I maneuvered through them determined whether I made it harder than it needed to be and if I allowed myself to be pruned in the process. If I was resistant and bitter, I ended up in the same valley again. I couldn’t be mad at anyone but myself.
This imperfect world we live in is full of peaks and valleys but the good news is that God has the sightline and power of it all. If you are finding yourself in a valley season, work through these points below to turn your circumstances into stepping stones for the future and to avoid making yourself suffer unnecessarily.
1. Keep a Notebook – When you let negative thoughts ruminate long enough, they breed resentment and lies that blind the reality of what God is trying to do in your life. Keep a notebook with you to write them down to get them out of your head and make you aware of what is swimming in your subconscious. You also want to keep a notebook with you to record when God speaks. There have been times when God has whispered key things to me about my situation. By writing it down I was able to see the foundations he was establishing in my life to walk in his will and realize my purpose.
2. Consider a Fast – Sometimes there is too much noise and chatter in your space to clearly rest and receive in the valley. In this season, you need to be sensitive to the call and guidance of the Holy Spirit. One of the best ways to do this is by fasting. When you put your flesh into submission in order to seek and receive from God, you command heaven’s attention! Discern what type of fast you should perform and how long you should engage in it before you start it. In the 90 Day Career Fix, there is bonus material to help you become more intimate with God as you progress through career transition. 3. Put Boundaries on Who You Spend Your Time With – If you’re anything like me, you cherish your close relationships. I don’t keep a lot of people around me because I have to protect my energy but for those who support me and don’t condemn me, I keep them those to the chest. However, when you need to hear from God or see him move in your circumstances, you cannot allow the “well-meaning” opinions of others to muddy what God is trying to tell you. Putting temporary boundaries on who you spend your time with protects you from having to weed their thoughts and ideas come from God’s thoughts and ideas. It also protects you from the energy and brokenness of others that could keep you in the valley.
4. Determine What Scriptures to Meditate – If you want to hear from God, then you need to be familiar with how He speaks – especially in your valley season. Choose a few scriptures to meditate on and speak over your situation. Whenever I am in a valley season, I find the scriptures related to the trouble I’m going through and I read and recite them every day – sometimes twice a day. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a verse that I KEEP close by when I am having a tough time reigniting my hope. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
5. Watch Your Mouth – With our words, we create the world around us or we destroy it. Naturally, when the pressure is on you and it seems like to there no light at the end of the tunnel, it can be relieving to complain and gripe to anyone who will listen. However, when you are seeking meaning for this season and God is in the process of pruning you, you do not want to produce spoiled fruit! Some people wonder why they end up in the same cycle of dysfunction and stagnation for years. The reason this happens is that they have literally called negative and evil things to their front door by complaining in their moments of frustration. If you cannot conjure up words of life and hope regarding your situation, just be quiet! Alternatively, call someone who will speak life-giving words over you.
6. Ask God to Show You, You – The valley season is representative of many things. One of them is for God to show you what is in your heart and how you may be self-sabotaging. Open your mind to the possibility that it may be time for you to mature. Yes, looking in the mirror and admitting that you need to let go of something can be very raw and scary. The great news about this, though, is that when you let go of your dead weight, God gives you something so much better in return! Remember, that his ways are higher that your ways and his thoughts are higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Your father is not condemning but is waiting bless you according to your purpose. You just have to get useless burdens out of the way.
7. Set a Daily Appointment with God – If you are serious about getting out of the valley, then you MUST be intentional and consistent about meeting with God. Just as we have appointments for the doctor for our physical health and the therapist for our mental health, we need to do the same for our spiritual health. You are not alone in the valley season unless you choose to be. The more intimate you become with God by spending time with him just as you would your best friend; you gain wisdom and insight that can move you light years ahead of what you could only do on your own. If you want to get out of the valley sooner and avoid going back to the same valley, you will make spending time with God of the utmost importance!
We live in a fallen world. It rains on the just as well as the unjust (Matthew 5:45) but you have a lifesaver when you explore your relationship with God. We will not fully avoid valley seasons, but with points I listed above you can make them more bearable and allow God to use it to give you a greater future!
What was your hardest valley season?