When you're Just Not Feelin It...
Glimpses of contentment: when all is right in my soul and I feel connected to the God of the universe.
In my life there have been times when God feels so close I wonder why I have ever doubted his love. Then there are times when I wake up and everything feels so... ordinary. Not just ordinary but lacking any hope of the spark that fuels you for days. This morning is one of those times and I have to be honest, it’s been rough because I am coming off a time of feeling close to God.
For me this year Lent has just been amazing. I have taken time to say no to most social events and have been hanging out with God more intentionally, and it’s been easy to do because I have felt so close to Him. Starting on Ash Wednesday I found myself craving to set aside more time with Him. I had found several amazing books which I would get lost in for hours (The Circle Trilogy and Me Myself And Bob) and so it was easy to say no to going out after work or on the weekends because I was craving solitude. Today, I’m not craving solitude and my mind is easily wandering. I don’t feel close to God. I don’t feel as if He is the room with me and my prayers don’t feel powerful. In fact I don’t even feel like praying. Like many people, when I was younger in my walk with God, so much of it was based on feeling. When I would feel His presence in a worship service, feel led to pray for someone, or feel led to make a particular decision, faith in God felt easy. But as with all relationships, God in His graciousness taught me that we had to move past just feeling so that my love and trust in Him would grow. By nature I am an emotional person. I cry at those stupid Publix holiday commercials and when I am mad, there is no hiding it. My dad used to tell me that I wear my emotions on my shoulder pads, and it’s true. I pretty much say what I think and express what I feel. I think that is why for much of my walk with God, I don’t feel Him. It’s been a huge part of learning to trust Him despite how I feel. He's grown me intentionally into a knowing faith. For me, when I feel like stepping out in faith, it’s not hard. There are times when God asks me to do something and it is fueled by an emotion so full of passion that to disobey doesn’t even cross my mind. Those times are fun, but to be honest, I don’t really grow in my trust of Him. No, it’s the times I feel Him nudging my heart to send someone an email encouraging them but don't want to because I feel foolish. I don’t want them to think I’m judging them and assuming they need encouragement. Or there are times like last Sunday when I had felt God speaking to my heart about talking to some friends at church and ending a game night in prayer and I was so hesitant. In fact, when I started talking I was looking at the floor because I didn’t feel bold. But God in His faithfulness gave me the courage to speak up and the words to pray, which led to some good conversations about what God is up to in our church. Not only that, but we prayed, which means God is in action on our behalf. To be honest Sunday was amazing. It started out rough. God felt distant and my mind felt chaotic, but by the end of the day God had shown up in tangible ways I hand’t seen in a while and it was fun. I felt so loved by Him and so in love with Him. Today, not so much. Today I feel like crying and would rather have a Netflix marathon than go for a run and then to the job I love so much. But thank God that His love and strength isn’t based on our feelings. Thank God He is faithful and the same God as He was a couple days ago when His presence felt tangible. Thank God that no time with Him is spent in vain and He isn’t asking me to manufacture some powerful feeling time of prayer. In fact, if there is nothing He is laying on my heart to pray, I don’t have to manufacture anything. I’m tempted to. I’m tempted to babble on half heartily in hopes of manufacturing some emotion close to what I felt the other day. But that is not real life. In real life there are days you feel it and days you don’t. Praise God He is the same no matter what. Oswald Chambers said “We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things.” For me that means doing my best today, trusting God is with me no matter how I feel. Trusting that He is faithful and loves me just the same. Trusting that just because I don’t feel close to Him, that doesn’t mean He is mad or upset with me. Thank God He is constant in His character and my standing with Him isn’t based on how close I feel to Him.