When the Going Gets Rough: Walking Through the Reality of a Desert

There are times and seasons that just seem downright hard! There is that drain on finances, loose tatters of the past, or even failings that seem just too much. It is in those times where we re-evaluate who we are. How did we get here? Where did we fail? Is it our fault? What can we do to make it better? Can it even be made better? What are our hopes and dreams, and what do they tell us?

All of these thoughts and questions remain as we walk through the desert. The desert we created through our own imagining, when we wake up from our dream state–the place we believed we were in–to see the reality of where we really are. We are in a desert of our own making. We did this to ourselves, no one else. We are to blame. We accept full responsibility.

The desert seems impossible to escape. We cannot magic ourselves out of it. Things have happened, and they cannot be solved or fixed overnight. The broken areas can be restored, but only through careful consideration and time spent. There is no magic solution to the problems we face. It will take a continual pursuit to make ends meet, fix the relationship, restore what is broken, and to get out of the desert.

The desert is symbolic of any dry and desolate area. It can be a feeling, a resource, or an area of one’s life. We cannot escape a desert; it surrounds our sight and everywhere we are. It extends as far as the eye can see. The only way to get out is to begin to walk, carefully, going the right direction. It takes step after step after step, climbing hills, valleys, and passing the occasional observer.

The desert can be walked out of, though. Deserts do not extend forever; at some point they end.

Unless of course, we give up, lay down, and let the desert heat consume us. We could die in the desert if we do that. Some people lose hope there. Death seems preferable to the endless tasks it takes to get through. Others become like triathlon runners, keeping-on and overcoming every obstacle in the way. These individuals come out victorious, having completed the daunting task of overcoming the desert.

It is not unique for a particular situation or person; we all go through this at some time or other. The deserts are a normal part of life. It symbolizes the toil and striving we sometimes face trying to get to where we want to go. For many, the desert is a spouse who is starving for affection in a marriage. For others, a mountain of debt that drains them. It could be a loss of a job and the feeling that accompanies the endless drag of finding new employment. The task of studying and working to complete a degree. For others, it could be an illness. All of these feel like a desert, and you can probably add your own unique experience.

As the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It is time to buckle up the bootstraps, begin trekking the sandy way, and get ourselves out of this. It is time to walk until our feet give out, have some rest, and then walk some more. Forget keeping track of time and just begin the long process, however long it takes, to get out of the desert. Get on autopilot if you have to.

We cannot escape the desert; we can only walk out through it.

Reality Changing Observations:

1. What desert are you currently facing?

2. Do you have the resources necessary to get out, or do you need something else? (Time, relationships, assistance, physical objects, etc.)

3. As you imagine your way out through the desert, consider the best path. What is it?

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