I don’t know anyone who has a fondness for a dry, ‘stale’ anything. A stale joke isn’t funny. For me, a stale cup of coffee isn’t even drinkable. Stale air isn’t fit to be breathed. And any way you slice it, stale bread is, well, stale. A stale marriage may be ‘on its last leg.’ And stale water is only a few syllables away from stagnation. Stale is not a good state of being in virtually any context, but especially in life. There’s no sadder place to find yourself than in the middle of a stale life.
We use words like tired, or worn out, or boring, or run-of-the-mill to describe a stale life. Some people might describe their lives as played out, or antiquated, or old hat. And I do know that there are those who feel that ‘a stale life’ is the same as ‘an old life.’ That’s unfortunate, but it isn’t true. We were meant to get old; aging is a normal part of life. But God never intended for us to get stale. We’re not born with some imaginary “best if used by” date stamped on us. It was not God’s intention that we get dry and crusty and stale in our later years, disconnected from the source of His renewing provision. In fact, in the very first Psalm, the writer describes just the opposite for those who delight in the ways of God:
“They are like trees,’ says the psalmist. “… trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” And, Ps. 92:13 says, “Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing!” That doesn’t sound dry. It doesn’t sound stale.
There’s no denying that there’s a connection between where we find ourselves planted, and the condition and staleness of our dry of heart and life. Here are three instructions from God’s Word that will begin to rehydrate your spiritual life, if you’re feeling a bit stale:
- Plant yourself in some ‘house of the Lord.’ If you’ve got a great church, renew your commitment to be involved in the heart of its mission. And find or renew your place to serve. As we commit to serving, we see and realize God producing fruit that lasts.
- Drink from the well of God’s Word. Read it. Meditate on it. (That’s another way to say, ‘Think about what you’re read. Pick a psalm and read it every day for a month, pausing to meditate on what you’ve read. You’ll be amazed how energized you will be from just that simple exercise.)
- Tell God specifically about your dryness. His hand of longing and compassion is extended toward you. As you tell him of your dryness, he will meet you and bring comfort, hope, and provision.