Question: Falling Away From God & Unimpressed With Jesus

Anonymous asked:

– I feel like I’m on the point of breaking off completely from Christ already. I don’t know what part He plays in my life and as much as I know that faith isn’t just a ‘feeling’ thing, and that valleys are meant to shape us, I’m tired of being down and unimpressed by Christ. It’s like I’m waiting upon God to do something great in my life and woo me back. How do I believe Jesus truly want the best for me and that He is bringing me into my destiny? How do I believe, when I don’t believe?

(I made you anonymous just in case.)

Dear friend,

I appreciate your honesty very much. I believe you are much closer to the heart of God than you think, and you actually get it.

Please let me start with the hard news.

I could probably say a hundred cliches that you’ve already heard and give you some inspirational pick-me-up pep talk that makes you try harder — but that’s probably how you got here in the first place. I don’t have that kind of speech, if this is what you were looking for.

I wish I had some magical mind-blowing words that could revolutionize you back to a passionate Christian life. I’ve also written plenty to defend the faith. But no one has a silver bullet, and even the Bible can feel cold some days, and maybe you were fed some weird puny casual concept of God that doesn’t come close to Him.

You could’ve ended up here because no one gave you a clear theology on pain. Perhaps no one told you that there would be long dry seasons of silence from God and self-loathing and deep valleys of doubt. I don’t mean to blame anyone else: but for whatever reason, no one really told you all this, and that it’s okay. We all go through it. You’re not alone.

You do need to know that God absolutely loves you no matter where you are, and that fact remains an eternal fact — but I also know that doesn’t suddenly flip the switch. As much as I’d love to wave a wand and bring you around with a 3-step formula, the Christian life is not that easy. Actually: it’s dang hard. Following Jesus is really good news, but it’s not going to be rubbing your tummy telling you “Everything will be okay now.” It’s a good deal, but a tough one.

So as graciously as I know how, may I ask of you: Have you taken on the crazy calling that Jesus has for your one unique life? I see a lot of bored Christians who are wrapped up in philosophical head-games and online debates and battling the same sin over and over. I’m not saying these are inherently bad things, but if that’s all I knew about the Christian life, then I would be rejecting Jesus too. There is more than that. That’s the good news.

A whole world exists out there that needs your hands and your heart to get moving. I don’t know if you’ve already tried it, but I have to say: the Christian life only makes sense when I’m lifting up broken people and becoming Christ for them. That means I need to get out of my head, out of my comfort zone, and out of my little office/bedroom/ten-foot-space to bandage up a bruised world. That’s when Jesus becomes very real and gritty to me: more dirt than doctrine.

This will look different for all of us. I serve a homeless ministry most weeks and I occasionally counsel people online. I don’t think I’m good at those things, but I love doing them. For you, it could be as simple as bringing coffee and donuts to the elders in your church each Sunday and talking with them eye-to-eye, or babysitting to let some parents go on a date and then use that money to send Bibles to China, or it could be volunteering at a hospice or soup kitchen or a home for abused women. Get creative. There is so much out there, a subterranean layer of people who are neglected and unseen — and which you can have eyes for. It’s what Matthew 25 calls us to.

I don’t mean “do-more-try-harder.” I simply mean, you are meant for this and you probably already felt it. Don’t wait! This is what you’ve been longing for, and even if no one else at your church is going for it, just go for it.

Even then, it’s still hard. This is what I know: Following Jesus into this sacrificial life is awesome, and it’s extremely difficult, and there are days I think this is all crazy and a huge ridiculous lie, but at the end of the day and at the tail end of my life, following Jesus on his wild reckless adventure is worth it all. You might think, “That’s it?” And I say, “Yes, that is IT.“ The story of God comes alive when you actually live out the story of God. Don’t let fear or laziness or numbness stop you. Just go. Don’t let people talk you out of it. Get crazy. And things won’t change overnight: but soon your heart could start beating again.

I love you my friend, and I’m praying for you.

— J.S.

13 thoughts on “Question: Falling Away From God & Unimpressed With Jesus

  1. Again I like your approach that emphasizes living rather than thinking. If I may, an illustration. I’m too tired to exercise, yet if I would exercise I would have more energy to exercise. When I’m too confused or “down” to live with and for Jesus is the time I should just, as you say, do it, and see what happens at the other side. That takes what the Bible calls discipline, and I pray everyone who is at this point will find someone who will live it with them! Doing for the delight of it – not for brownie points, as the cliche reads.


    1. You know what’s cool, I’ve used the same exact illustration in a sermon before. Almost word for word! I know that “discipline” is often seen as either a dirty word in Protestantism or the word to abide by in legalism, but our discipline driven by grace is what motivates. It’s the same discipline we exert in our own relationships, when work does not feel like work at all.


  2. This is great! Spot on :). I’ve learned that callings aren’t one time things either. Usually God calls us to different things at different times in our life. When I had to step down from commitments because of my health it was hard but then God opened up ministries that were less physically demanding. It’s easy to look back at my youth and wish I was helping at Christian concerts, ministering at school groups, and witnessing and cooking at a shelter. I miss those things. I miss dancing at church and singing in the choir. I miss traveling. Now my life seems smaller because my home is a big part of my ministry, my blog, and when we can playing Bingo at the nursing home (which isn’t that thrilling compared to other outreaches honestly). But it’s still something and I’ve got to learn to live in the calling God has for me today, not yesterdays.

    I saw this in my Dad, who witnessed to his nurses while he was bedridden in a nursing home. He was no longer preaching to druggies & having campground meetings. He had every right to mope but for the most part he didn’t. He grew closer to God. I’m so thankful I can see his legacy. Every day God may have something different if we pray that he will open our eyes to those around us. There’s always a need. My mom counsels people on yahoo…hardly anyone knows she does that but maybe she has helped point suicidal teens in the right direction. God knows. And all of us can pray as long as we have our right mind.

    LOL before you say anything J.S. 🙂 I’ll file this away in my head to use one day for a post 😛


    1. That’s very cool about your mom. As you were saying, I think even the most physically challenged person can still be an awesome vessel for God. Sometimes we find creative ways for His calling given our limitations, which turn out not to be limitations at all.


  3. Hi JS,
    I hate to tote my own work but here it is anyway. I had to send it out because it has really been something that has kept me close to God and Jesus for the entire 31 years I’ve been a Christian. I’m an alcoholic and sober 33 years. I owe the last 31 of my sober years DIRECTLY to maintaining close daily contact with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I’ve HAD to do this – to stay sober. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.


  4. You’re right to encourage this dear one to get into the trenches.

    When we were in Nicaragua, I found Isaiah 58:6-14. The fast the Lord has chosen is to share bread with the hungry, bring the homeless poor into our house, clothe them, etc. THEN shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily…then you shall take delight in the Lord and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth…

    What amazed me is that every one on the trip needed healing. God put us in a place where we would, by virtue of our presence, fulfill the requirements He laid out. Every person returned home with a healing of one sort or another.

    God is gracious! It’s when we spend our time contemplating our navels that our own problems become bigger than our God!



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