Stepping back before you move forward is necessary.

Stepping back allows us the see the landscape ahead.

Dearest Reader,

Before we can redefine the wilderness, we need to take a step back, pull out a compass, do a heart check or two, and define the thing that brought us here.

Last week I gave you four options to think about and journal through, answering questions that would help you define your wilderness.

Stepping back before you move forward is necessary.

Is it possible you landed in the wilderness due to a poor choice?  Or, is it from a circumstance that is beyond your control? Something you did not ask for or choose.

I have been in both these places.

  1. I jumped into a pit of mud and hell due to the terrible choices I made.
  2. And I have had circumstances beyond my control.

Can you relate? Neither one is easy.

Five of the darkest years of my life were self-induced. Finished with God, I chose to turn away.

Separation from God is a desolate, dark, and lonely place. Once you choose to turn away, the next step is choosing to separate yourself from loved ones.

It is a pit, and once you are there, getting out is near impossible. But with God anything is possible!

I chose this wilderness; it did not want me.

We can look into God’s Word and find others who did the same. Let’s look at David, handpicked by God to be Israel’s king. David created his wilderness with adultery, deceit, and murder.

In 2Samuel, chapter eleven, at a time when kings went off to war, David chose to stay home.

Through his choice, David makes one wrong decision after another, until he finds himself sitting in ashes and grieving the loss of his infant son.

By this time David has committed adultery, murder covered his sin with lies and taken something that did not belong to him.

As David is sitting in ashes, the weight of his sin smacks him in his heart.

David redefines his self-induced wilderness with a contrite and repentant heart by penning Psalms 51.

Be gracious to me, God,
according to your faithful love;
according to your abundant compassion,

blot out my rebellion. Completely wash away my guilt

and cleanse me from my sin.

For I am conscious of my rebellion,

and my sin is always before me.

Against you — you alone — I have sinned

and done this evil in your sight.

So you are right when you pass sentence;

you are blameless when you judge.

Indeed, I was guilty when I was born;

I was sinful when my mother conceived me.

Surely you desire integrity in the inner self,

and you teach me wisdom deep within.

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean;

wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Turn your face away from my sins

and blot out all my guilt.

God, create a clean heart for me

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not banish me from your presence

or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore the joy of your salvation to me,

and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.

Then I will teach the rebellious your ways,

and sinners will return to you.

Save me from the guilt of bloodshed, God
God of my salvation —

and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;

you are not pleased with a burnt offering.

The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.

You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.

In your good pleasure, cause Zion to prosper;

build the walls of Jerusalem.

Then you will delight in righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.
Psalms 51 (CSB)
David did not want cheap forgiveness; he came with a broken heart.

Broken hearted, like David, I chose a contrite and a repentant heart, redefining my self-induced wilderness.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1John 1:9 (CSB)

If you find yourself here in need of guidance, you can email me at tlmashburn@yahoo.com

Join me next week as we continue to redefine the wilderness.

Your Wilderness Guide,

PS: My first book, Mornings In The Word is available now. Order your copy today.