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Coming Out Of The Desert 

Lent is here, and being the reading addict I am, I've been reading several articles on the subject. I've even spoken about it with a friend or two. 

I find the articles very interesting but they have inspired me to bring a different perspective to Lent, which may be a better fit for many of you.

All three articles I read were invitations to take time during the 40 days of Lent to enter into the desert. Biblically, Abraham and Sarah, Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist and even Jesus entered into the desert. It was there that they realized God's plan for their lives.

I know this call to enter into the desert for reflection and to develop a deeper relationship with God is a genuine one. One that is needed by so many today, who have pretty good lives but maybe aren't living from the spirit which resides deep inside.

My call to you is a different one. I know many of you who read my articles already live in the desert. Some of you have been there for years. Some of you want out desperately, while others desire to live somewhere other than the desert but it's been home for so long that living in another place is quite scary. So you've become a "desert dweller."

Being in the desert can be an agonizing and a powerfully lonely experience. In the desert dread and immobilizing fear strikes. It's so easy at these times to feel like you're going to die in this desert; to believe there is no one there but you, completely alone.

I have two invitations for those of you who resonate with living in the desert. First, the invitation is to open your eyes wide to see the thousands, maybe millions of others all around you going through similar suffering. The realization that you are not alone, that you can experience deep understanding by knowing there are so many others who travel the same desert path. There's power in that knowing, being seen, fellowship and the hope for transformation.

The second invitation follows from the first. Once you see and know others have and continue to be full of suffering too, it doesn't feel so lonely. Your eyes and heart begin to open. Together now, a power greater than just yourself, you can begin to take the journey out of the desert unified with others in hope for a better life. Use the season of Lent to open your eyes and heart, and to muster the courage to come out of the desert together.

Dave Turo-Shields (email)
Veteran Psychotherapist, Trainer & Life Coach

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