A Return to the Desert

The Desert offers a place to shut down, regroup, and come out better than we went in.

That’s an excerpt from my first musing on being in the Desert. I was shocked as to how many responded to that musing and how many people I’ve seen in person who have said, “I read your musing about the Desert and it hit home.” …And then they go on to tell me about their latest Desert experience.

It’s a testament to the fact that we ALL are in the Desert multiple times during our lifetimes. Some people “dwell” in the Desert. In fact, I can think of three people whom I know well that “choose” to live in the Desert. They’d tell you they were in quicksand, but if they were to pause and look down at their circumstances they’d realize they were burying their own toes into the sand. For them, it is easier to lament about their “lot in life” than realize they have a choice whether to stay in the Desert or not.

I can’t help but think that a lot of us would get out of the Desert quicker if we were simply happy with where we were in life instead of feeling desperately inadequate because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of “comparison.”

“Comparison is the thief of Joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I know that there are many times when I get down and feel inadequate or like no matter how much I learn and grow I’ll never be “good enough.” If I take a moment to think where this desolate spirit is coming from, it’s always from a place of comparison… which usually comes from the spin master that is social media.

To break through the dust cloud of comparison I have deleted a substantial number of people from networks who don’t fuel me with inspiration, knowledge or curiosity. There is so much creativity and wonder in the world that I don’t want to miss it because I’ve buried my feet (or head) in the sand—and I don’t want to waste one day wondering if I’m “good enough.” My journeys in the desert have calibrated my barometer for “good enough,” which for me is simply: Am I living an inspired, appreciative and mindful day. The Desert is a crucible where we can self-reflect and find inspiration. Every day I attempt to be inspired, which is one reason I love the community that is growing here. I acknowledge the desert is a powerful place, but I don’t wish to vacation there. So… I’d like to know what inspires you to keep out of the desert?

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34 Comments on "A Return to the Desert"

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Lena Pierson

The advertising industry, including social media, survives on making us feel inadequate and always comparing. I am still mastering this, but what helps me get out of the desert is becoming indifferent to the things that make no REAL difference.

Lieve Olivera
Miss Val, Your words are not only beautifully written, but also from a raw place of honesty and integrity. Thank you ! My inspiration to keep out of the desert comes from knowing every detail of ‘ life in the desert’…. it’s where I resided in my childhood, uninvited, desolate, hopeless. I always knew and sensed deeply, however, that there was a power much greater than we can possibly imagine, and I LISTENED to that still, small voice until I could hear the words clearly and loudly. I grew in strength ( yes, physically! ), and gained the understanding of… Read more »
I agree with so many here. I am in the wilderness now, but I choose not to have a wilderness mindset. I know from past experiences that whatever I think I need or lack, I am gaining something new or greater even if I can’t always see it fully or put a name to it in the moment. I actually get up at 4:30 am, so I have time to start my day right since I go to work so early. I will listen to a sermon or podcast, read the Bible, pray, meditate, and exercise. I have certain Bible… Read more »
Katrina Welborn
I like this. I feel like I’m often on the threshold of the desert and the rest of the world. I’ve learned not to fear the desert, but embrace it instead. It makes it easier to trust that the desert is temporary and not forever. For me lately, remembering that I have made it thru every hard day so far is my inspiration for staying out of the desert. I’ve been stuck there in the past, but made it out eventually and knowing that I did, and can, keeps me from dwelling there now. I really enjoy your musings. They… Read more »
Eddie Neiman
Three ways I try to stay out of the desert in no particular order: 1) Avoid other people in their desert. Or if I have to be around them, be aware and do everything I can so as not to let them suck me into the desert. 2) Gratitude; As a two time cancer survivor I know all too well every day is a gift and I am extremely grateful for every single day. 3) Remember the words of the wise who have come before me. “The great secret to life is to cultivate the ability to appreciate the things… Read more »
Amy Erickson
What inspires me to keep out of the desert?Mainly knowing two things: 1) My God is sovereign, and He will use whatever desert I’m in for good and 2) There is always joy ahead. The deeper the pain, the greater I can experience joy. The hotter the desert, the stronger I’ll be when I come out of it. One of my favorite verses that I cling to all the time, but especially in the desert is Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help… Read more »
Mike Wynn
This is a big reason why I stay off Facebook, I am constantly comparing my own situation to others situation that they are posting. If I am going to use social media I stick to instagram where I believe I get inspired the most. So many artists, athletes, and even comedians have so much artistry in there craft to share and I enjoy that over the “look how awesome my life is” posts. Or even worse “I hate my life” posts that clearly from people who usually have nothing to complain about. Thank you again VKF for all the musings,… Read more »
A Renee
I don’t know that I consider this an inspired response or that my reasoning is out of an inspiration to keep out of the mental/metaphorical desert, but I’ll give it a go: I have, in the past, set up residence in the desert. If ever others tried to join me in my desert dwelling, I packet up and moved further out. I believe this was casually referenced as teenage angst. What a silly trap to fall into. To love pity and misery, to shrug off the choice to live your life, absurd. It is unfortunate, but important to note, that… Read more »
Riley Goldberg

Knowing that there’s so much more to life than just the current moment inspires me to keep out of the desert✨

Looking at people’s lives through social media is plain toxic. It’s not real yet you see it and want what others have. It looks perfect. You start to doubt yourself. Feel inadequate. Question if you’re good enough. Question why you feel so complicated. Wonder why you hurt yet everyone else seems so flawless. I have to remember everyone’s life looks good online. Even mine! It’s just one tiny sliver though. What we see on the outside (I.e. Social media) does not match what people feel on the inside. It makes me sad that we live in a time where people’s… Read more »

I’m inspired by people who try new things so seamlessly. Makes me want to put myself out there.