This summer has been really tough for me. I went from going to a church at college that I loved with a community that I loved to going home for the summer with no community and parents who don’t believe in Christ. I’ve been able to hold up pretty well, and I’ve been able to continue to read the Bible, pray, and learn pretty faithfully. However, in this last week or so, I have no motivation to pray or read the Bible or any of that, and I’m not sure that I care too much… what happened?
My friend, please know I got tons of love for you, and thank you for your total honesty. I also have a huge secret that I’m going to bust out the door like a drunk firefighter at the wrong house. You ready?
Every Christian feels this way every once in a while.
Does this make you a bad person? No. Does it mean God is ticked at you? No way. Does this mean you’re no longer a Christian? HAH — no. It just means you’re human, like everyone else.
Here’s one more secret I’ll throw at you.
Your feelings do not get to determine the truth.
Please don’t believe that just because you feel something different than you did before, that this gets the final word on your situation. Truth is always priority. I’ve heard this plenty of times: “I don’t feel God anymore.” But that doesn’t mean God suddenly ups and leaves either, nor does it ever mean you should start running for the hills in doubt and disappointment and self-punishment.
It could just be you’re approaching a tougher, drier season right now, and what matters most is what you decide to do with those feelings. You might not always be able to control your emotions — we’re human — but you can still make a choice. If we always picked God when we felt like it, that wouldn’t mean a whole lot in the long run. But if we choose to run to God in spite of our feelings and situations, then you’re heading for a breakthrough that is richer, deeper, and more sustainable than ever before. That’s how we grow.
That’s also true of your future spouse, children, friends, family, and church: love will always be a choice. When people say, “My feelings are gone,” that’s no reason to quit. That’s time to press into the covenantal promise. Most feelings never stay the same, but I hope you get to see the other side of pressing forward: it is much more real and grounded than you can imagine. Beyond the feelings, there is an authenticity that gives way to a new kind of feeling, and that will keep happening when you keep it up.
Make sure to get that alone time with God, and do try to find a community. Ask the Holy Spirit to explode your heart when you pray, read the Bible, and sing songs to Him. Even tell Him, “I don’t feel You right now, I don’t want You right now, but I do want to desire You. Please help.” Be honest with Him. He already knows, He wants to hear you in any condition, He loves you no matter what, and honesty is the first step towards healing.
I know this is not easy. You’re in a new environment that isn’t conducive to your spiritual journey. But this is also going to be a time for the Greater Testimony. Imagine at the other end of this season, after you’ve persevered, when you get to say, Yeah it was one of the hardest seasons of my spiritual walk, and I didn’t always feel like moving forward, and the Bible felt like Chinese algebra, but I got to rely on only Jesus himself: and nothing else. A season will always, always, always end. Please don’t let it end you. Finish strong.