Life in the Valley

IMG_1333As a leader it is so difficult to admit, or even acknowledge, that you are in a valley. We all want to be strong, self-sufficient and up for the challenge, no matter how large it is.

But this is not true life.

No one has that capacity. We are fully human with weaknesses, failures, and broken parts—none of which we want exposed. We expend a lot of energy concealing those areas of our life.

Additionally, there is a stigma that is associated with those in the valley are lacking in faith. This is not necessarily the case. That may be true at times, but more times than not the Lord allows the valley to deepen and strengthen the resolve of the leader. We see this throughout scripture.

Brokenness is a necessary process for God to shape us and form us into useful servants for His purposes and not ours. We cannot become who God intends us to become without the valleys of brokenness, pain, and struggle. This is often where God peels away our self-sufficient attitudes and the self-securities we create. He wants us to come to the place of full surrender to Him.

For me, this seems to be a lifelong process, and I confess that I fight these valleys and usually don’t want to go there. Most often these valleys are unanticipated, and their timing seems unbearable. Major life-changes occur—a serious illness, a broken relationship, a job change or job loss, false accusations—the list goes on. All of these situations can cause deep valleys in our lives.

But the opportunity for growth is greater in the valley than on the mountain top.

This is where I gain a greater understanding of who God is. Here He calls me to a deeper place where He can reveal areas that I have hidden away, or have tried to avoid, or may not even be aware of. I then learn more about myself. Becoming self-aware is essential in leadership! As I grow to know God more, I immediately gain better understanding of myself, which prepares me to understand others better and serve them more effectively.

Understanding God, understanding self, and understanding others comes out of the valley experience if we choose to allow God to guide us through that very difficult place and time in our life. For me, He keeps me there as long as it takes for me to fully embrace what He desires for my life. He loves me so much that he custom-builds valleys just for me, so that I can become the man He has called me to be.

Whatever stands between you and the Lord is a potential “valley” experience. Are you willing to go there with Him? When you do, life emerges in ways you never imagined possible. New freedoms to serve Him, and a deeper love for Him, develop the further you choose to embrace these times.

Psalm 51 has always been my go-to passage in valley times. David was in a deep valley after committing adultery with Bathsheba. This is a valley created by a sinful decision. David exposes his sin openly for others to see. He is truly repentant and God meets him profoundly.

Other valleys occur because we take a stand as a Christian in a post-Christian world. 1 Peter 4:12-19 clearly states that we should not be surprised when pain and suffering come our way because of Christ. In that valley we are called to rejoice because we share in the sufferings of our Lord and Savior.

Valleys are inevitable in every Christian life. God’s intention in each valley is for our growth in maturity as His servants. Because of this I have true life in every valley. I may not feel it at the time, but through every valley experience, no matter how excruciating, more life, more health and more strength to be His servant emerges.

If you are in a valley today, please be encouraged that you are there because God loves you so much. He is drawing you to himself. You are being ReImaged into His Likeness.

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