I get so bogged down and depressed when I try to be a ‘good’ Christian. Things begin to feel so legalistic and joyless that I find myself wondering how I could love anyone that will take over my life at any moment, twist my arm, and whisper things like ‘If you loved me you’d ___” or “If you had faith/believed more I wouldn’t ___” like some abusive relationship that won’t let you think, feel, or do things for yourself. Is there any way to overcome this feeling?
Dear friend: It’s very possible you could’ve been sold a pile of lies about God. I’ve heard some of those conditional statements you mentioned and they do have good intentions, but they’re jumping off a false premise.
I think your question boils down to a very simple one:
How do I actually love God?
I’ve never heard a single person in the history of anywhere successfully answer this question. Most people say those bizarre things like, “If you know God really loved you, then you would love Him back!” And we’re supposed to reply, “So convicting!” — and then feel really bad about our sorry little Christian lives.
But if some random lady on the street yelled “I love you” at me, I’m not going to immediately reciprocate. Not even if she’s Salma Hayek. The most I would say is, “Okay thanks lady” while backing away slowly.
The truth here is: No one can make you fall in love with God — including yourself.
So let’s ask an easier question.
How do I fall in love with someone?
Now we’re getting somewhere.
The more you get to know someone, the more you fall in love with them — and the more you fall in love with someone, the more you get to know them.