There are reasons for valleys in our lives. But the Lord never intends us to stay there indefinitely. He intends us to triumph in victory. Sometimes our own response to the dark valleys may cause us to be there longer than we should.
To be in a dark valley is an incredible place to be. It is one of the few places that will enable you to see the "treasures of darkness". Keep in mind the stars in the sky are always there. But they are hidden by the daylight. Darkness is necessary to see them. Darkness is also often necessary to seek and find the real treasures of life.
Like everyone, I've experienced a few valleys. The Lord impressed upon my heart to evaluate the experience so I'd know better how to handle it and salvage the benefits. But also, "To comfort those whereby I've been comforted". My evaluation produced 10 steps.
1. Establish what you feel are your reasons for being in the valley. Was it something you may have done or was it imposed upon you? Reason from there how you might avoid these circumstances in the future with the understanding that you can't always avoid them. But endeavor to learn all you can about the experience. There is truly much to learn and itís not all negative.
2. Seek the Lord with a penitent heart. Your valley might be a wake-up call just to get your attention. Sometimes it might be chastisement. But remember, "The Lord chastens those whom He loves". So be grateful that He loves you enough to distract you in a way that you must seek His mercy. If you don't feel directly responsible for your dark valley, then ask the Lord for the wisdom to understand the reasons.
3. Try not to withdraw. Continue to seek fellowship and worship. Itís good to have support at times like this. You need the power of prayer from others.
4. Remain God conscience. Establish a daily routine of prayer and praises to God. Itís important to keep your mind on Him and not the circumstances. A good fast is helpful. Fortify your praises and make every effort to "rejoice" in the midst of this valley experience.
5. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to seek Christian counseling. Perhaps your valley includes another person, a spouse, a child, or another close family member. Counseling can surely broaden your perspectives.
6. Don't be afraid of isolation, some valleys are singular and you must bare them alone. But these 10 steps still apply whether you are alone in your walk or sharing this experience with someone else.
7. Endeavor to purge old harmful habits, replacing them with productive life strategies. If harmful habits exist, it is obviously time to take drastic measure to rid yourself of them. Sometimes fasting is necessary as well as professional help.
8. Don't neglect your talents especially when itís helpful to others. This will help you stay productive so you don't withdraw from life's responsibilities. You may find that the Lord will reveal other talents to you during this time. Continue to do that which glorifies the Lord. Lightly speaking this is a time to turn lemons into lemonade.
9. Look for the "treasures of darkness". There are pearls of knowledge and wisdom that are only revealed in darkness. Seek them diligently. This is a time of unprecedented opportunity.
10. Keep a journal of what you are learning and experiencing.
As always, there is just so much of value here. I like very much the way you have clearly set out the points and will personally be reviewing each of them in regard to my life. Thank you and every blessing to you.