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What Do You Do When You Just Can’t? (Part 2)

February 13, 2013

Welcome back!

This is Part 2 of 3 of the series “What Do You Do When You Just Can’t?” If you missed Part 1, check it out here.

On Monday I asked the question:

What do you do when you can’t seem to do … anything? When everyday life is a struggle because you feel like you’re sinking through mountains of sand in the middle of the desert alone?

The last month I’ve felt like I’m in the desert–my creativity is dried up, and it feels like I’m just sinking in the sand, going nowhere. But God, as always, is gracious and has taught me a few things that continue to pull me through. Here’s the first two lessons:

1. Do the Next Thing

A dear friend gave me this simple advice. It has been the most useful four words. Do the next thing. When you feel like you can’t go on … do the next thing. I’d wake up and think “What now?” Then I’d remember the words, Do the next thing. So I would get up. Do the next thing. Then I’d take a shower. Do the next thing. Then I’d get the girls ready for school. Do the next thing. Then I’d finish an assignment.

Get the picture?

This is how I got through each day for weeks. Just by doing what came next. At first I was so empty I couldn’t think of how to survive each day. I didn’t have my usual to-do lists and schedules and jam-packed agendas. Thinking of only the “next thing” helped me to only do what was necessary—what I had to get done. I’d pray, “Lord, what’s the next thing?” And He’d show me.

If only I’d function like this every day, then I could accomplish exactly what was next on God’s to-do list instead of mine. At first, this was my method of survival; then, it became a spiritual encounter of being in-sync with God’s plan for me each moment of the day.

What’s your next thing to do?


2. Depend on the Prayers of Others

When I felt empty of everything, I didn’t even have words to pray. This is the time I had to rely on my precious friends to pray me through. Isaiah 40:31 carried new meaning for me—I felt like I was soaring on wings of eagles, and the eagles were my prayer warrior friends.

The ironic thing is, January was supposed to be the “month of prayer” for my family. I worked hard over Christmas break to look up verses on prayer and lists of people, things, and countries to pray for. Our Advent Tree worked so well for family devotions during December. Even though it looked “Christmassy,” I thought we’d continue to use it each month for family devotions. I came up with a theme for each month, a Bible verse for each day, and a prayer challenge for each day. I was so organized and ahead of the game! January was going to teach us how to pray and give us the opportunity to pray for everyone and everything I could think of.

But we never even did one devotion!

Instead of learning how to be prayer warriors, we learned how to survive on the prayers lifted up by others. Letting others pray for you is humbling. But then you learn that your very survival depends on those precious words others pray.

Then you become grateful, appreciative, thankful.

Someday, I can be that prayer warrior for others. This month, I needed to rest mercifully in the prayers of others.

Is this a time you are resting in the prayers of others or are you the prayer warrior for someone who desperately needs it?

Have you been through a “desert” experience? Please share your thoughts and encouragement with us!

Join me for Part Three on Wednesday!

Image courtesy of Jeff Ratcliff /

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©2011- 2013 Christi McGuire. All Rights Reserved.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2013 10:45 am

    Yes Yes Yes
    I am in the “desert” right now
    Waiting for the Lord to direct me about writing and the blog
    “Do the next thing” is great advice to get through
    Be Still and Know I am God will get me through any situation
    God Bless

    • February 14, 2013 6:50 pm

      Susie, so sorry to hear you’re in a place of “desert” right now. Definitely be still and get closer to God. Let yourself take a break from writing and the blog, if you need it. I know God uses these to grow us and fill us up, but in the midst of it, it is so hard! I’ll be praying for you, my friend!

  2. February 13, 2013 3:21 pm

    “Do the next thing” is brilliant. Brilliant! And I agree ~ it’s that kind of thinking that could really get us heading where God wants us. I never thought about it that way before!

    • February 14, 2013 6:57 pm

      I’m thankful to my friend who told me that, because it was so literal and practice and completely helped!

      • February 18, 2013 11:42 pm

        I love it when something so seemingly unassuming can have such a huge impact.

  3. February 15, 2013 12:19 am

    Just finished a blog series on depression, so yes, I’ve been through those times. Funny thing is, both times I saw the word “desert” in your post, I thought “dessert.” Maybe because it’s Valentine’s? I don’t think dessert is the best suggestion for desert times, but I indulge sometimes (okay, lots of times) and sometimes it even helps. 🙂

    Thanks for offering healthier choices, Christi.

    • February 15, 2013 1:43 pm

      Funny, because every time I wrote the word “desert” I wrote “dessert” instead! I definitely turn to food during these times! I guess my body is searching for something to fill it up, and my go-to is always food instead of God (unfortunately) but trying to turn that around! 🙂


  1. What Do You Do When You Just Can’t? (Part 3) « Witty Words

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