How Dry I Am…


DesertFeeling a bit dry in your spiritual life?  I’ve hit a bit of a dry spell myself recently.  It’s not that my faith is shaken or even wavering.  It’s more that I feel spiritually spent; like a wet sponge that’s been wrung out and left on the counter to dry.  After all, being a mom can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting.  There are a lot of people who depend on you not only for their physical existence but for their spiritual existence as well.

Despite my current spiritual drought, I’m not terribly discouraged.  I recognize that there is a cycle to all aspects of my life- a natural ebb and flow that comes with being human, I guess.  Just like in marriage, not every day is a double-rainbow, kick butt kind of day.  Some days are just fine.  Some are bad.  And some are awesome.  Plus, I take comfort in the fact that many of our most well known saints went through periods of dryness in their spiritual life.

Unfortunately, my spiritual dryness doesn’t just affect me.  It affects my whole family.   I’m sure I’m not the only mom out there who seems to be the emotional and spiritual barometer for the family.  It seems that if I’m happy, I bring (most) everyone with me.  Unfortunately, the same is true for when I’m sad, stressed, or angry.   When I’m on top of my spiritual game-making time to pray regularly, being focused and present during Mass, keeping up with my spiritual reading-I notice that my family is more focused on their spiritual lives as well.  And the reverse is also true.  However, when I’m not on top of my game, neither are they.

A dear friend once told me that I need to remember what the flight attendants instruct you on their pre-flight safety speech.  “In case of a loss of cabin pressure, place the oxygen mask over your mouth before placing it over your child’s.”  In other words, you need to take care of yourself (physically, spiritually and emotionally) so that you can then take care of others.  If I pass out from lack of oxygen, I’m absolutely no help to my children or anyone else, for that matter.

So, I’m taking a breath, riding the waves, and putting on my oxygen mask until the dry spell passes.

What about you?  What do you do when you hit a dry patch?  I would love to hear how you reinvigorate your spiritual life.

Copyright 2014 Laura Nelson


About Author

Laura B. Nelson is a Catholic wife and mother of three children. She is also a Catholic blogger, author, speaker, teacher and life-long student of the Catholic faith. After receiving her degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin, Laura let her curiosity and enthusiasm take her down many paths including working in the world of finance, full-time motherhood, ministry leader, catechist, music teacher, speaker and author. Laura likes to be busy but she most enjoys spending time with her husband and three children at their home in Grapevine, TX. Visit her blogs at Green for God and Suburban Sainthood.


  1. Great article.
    I went through a major dry spell recently. Not fun. I dont think there is anything we can do. In fact if we try too hard, I think it gets worse. I think a dry time is the time to just sit with the Lord and listen. And keep things simple. The Lord will rescue us!

  2. Agh, so true (about the oxygen mask. And everything else for that matter, too). Great article!

    I generally just pray the Jesus Prayer through dryness or pray something else pre-determined, like Compline. I try to pray these normally, but I set them as a bare minimum to do through dryness, just to kind of get me through.

    That doesn’t mean I like doing it, haha! But this seems to be helpful so far.

  3. My dry spell hit after the passing of my father. It will be a year this month and I still feel so completely dry. Don’t understand as my spiritual life and my faith has always been so strong through out the years. I do find myself saying the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be at times and even an occasional morning prayer but, in my mind I feel it’s not enough. I guess all I can do is to be still and listen to Him because I know He would never abandon me.

    • Irene, I remember going through something very similar in the couple years after my brother died, even though it’s not the same as losing a parent. I’m so sorry for your loss!

      I just wanted to say that I think, in a time of such mourning, what you can do beyond getting to Mass every Sunday and Confession when you need to *is* enough. I think you’re doing great by keeping up with those seemingly few prayers. God knows your heart and what you’re going through.

      A couple things that helped me make the most of my dry spiritual life after losing my brother were honesty in that prayer–even if that meant expressing all my anger at God TO him or telling him how much I didn’t feel like praying–and meeting with a counselor. The counselor helped me better understand what was going on in my mind and my heart (and St. Teresa of Avila said that self-knowledge is essential to the spiritual life). And as for telling God how angry I was with him–a wise man assured me that “God can handle it. He’s not going to run to the corner and cry because you’re mad at him.” It was incredibly freeing and fruitful.

      Another thing that really helped was reading A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis and Turn My Mourning Into Dancing by Henri Nouwen. Both have brilliant insight on suffering as difficult as death, and I mean insight beyond the typical “Hey, you’re too blessed to be stressed!” and “Offer it up!”

      I know you probably weren’t looking for advice, but I thought I’d throw that out there on the off chance any of it might be helpful to you. Take whatever bits of it you want, even if that’s nothing. Many prayers for you!

  4. Dry spells are tough – I love your analogy of the oxygen mask. I know that I am most prone to the dry spells when I am overextended! When I am experiencing dryness in prayer I offer that dryness to the Lord as well and try to stay faithful to my prayer time, in spite of the challenges….

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments. Brittany, great idea about the Jesus Prayer. My prayers lately have been much less eloquent. More along the lines of “Help!” When I’m feeling slightly more eleoquent my prayer sounds more like “Lord, guide me and help me to be a reflection of Your love to others I meet.”

    Irene, I had a dry spell after the death of my sister to cancer nine years ago. It really helped me when I finally worked up the courage to express my spiritual doubts to a very wise priest. It helped me tremendously. I highly recommend it.

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