– 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.)
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.