What To Do When You Don’t “Feel” God

Posted by on Aug 11, 2012 in Uncategorized, Writing | 32 Comments

Let’s be honest. We all have those seasons.

 

Dry. Tired. Lost.

 

You think God doesn’t love you. You haven’t felt His presence or joy in days or months. You keep asking yourself, “what am I doing wrong? Am I being punished?”

 

Everyone goes through the desert. In fact I’d be hard pressed to find a Christian who hasn’t gone through that season of spiritual emptiness.

 

Too many times we want to zip through the valleys and only dwell in the mountaintops. The truth is without the valleys there’d be no such thing as mountaintops. Also we shouldn’t blame God when it rains in our life. Without rain, nothing grows. He knows, He is near, and we can trust that He is good and He is our Father. Instead of praying that God would take us out of the desert, we should pray that God would teach us while in the desert.

 

Whenever we have those dry spells though the enemy likes to creep in and spread a few lies in order to isolate us from our faith family and make us run from the open arms of God. Below are three things I’ve learned and have to remind myself of every time I’m in one of those seasons.


1. Stay in church community. Don’t go lone ranger.

Whenever we feel unloved by God, or like we have no “power or strength” from him our first inclination is to run. We feel dirty. We feel unwelcome. We feel unloved. We isolate and hide. The best thing we can do when that is happening is to intentionally surround ourselves with our brothers and sisters of the faith. They can pray for us. They can encourage us. They can share their similar stories. We are all in this together. Trying to weather a storm as a single tree will leave us completely shredded and uprooted. But if an entire forest is weathering the storm they all bend together and come back up together.


2. When you feel like praying the least, is when you should pray the most.

D.A. Carson said sometimes when we don’t feel like praying we have to “pray ourselves into prayer.” I’m terrible at this one. Whenever I feel dry I have not one molecule in me that wants to pray. That should be the first indication that is when I need it most. Set a time and keep it. Be silent. Be still. Ask God to speak to you through His word. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it feels like He isn’t there. But sometimes He shows up when you least expect it.


3. Be honest, transparent, and real with God and others.

I remember when I first became a Christian I thought I couldn’t be honest with God. I thought I couldn’t be mad at Him. I thought I couldn’t scream at Him. One day though after a set of events where it felt like God had “failed” me, I couldn’t take it anymore. I lost it. I threw my bible across the room and said, “this doesn’t even work anymore!” And it was in that moment I heard a quiet whisper saying, “now that you’ve dropped the charade, we can get somewhere.” It wasn’t until I was completely transparent with God that I started to see just how beautiful He truly is. We don’t need to always have a smile. We can cry. We can yell. We can be frustrated. And the best part of that is God actually wants us to cast all that stuff on Him (1st Peter 5:7). Has it ever shocked you how explicit and raw the Psalms are? Somewhere around 80 percent of them are laments. They aren’t all “worship” songs. Until we are fully transparent with our loving Father, we’ll never feel the weight of burden and anxiety off our shoulders.

 

What about you? What do you do during the dry seasons? What has God taught you in those times?

 

For further study below are a few books written to those in the valley:

 

32 Comments

  1. gveli
    August 11, 2012

    this was really good. il have to remember to come back to this. ive been in what seems like a desert season for a couple of months. its been emotional to say the least. i think prayer is the most important thing to help me get through it. being in constant communion with God throughout the day helps me feel His Spirit in and around me and is a great encouragement.

    Reply
  2. Tshephi S
    August 11, 2012

    Realy realy needed that. Dry seasons are the most difficult seasons a Christian goes through and honestly when im going through one i realy want to get out of it as quick as possible not realising that a lot of the times during that season, God actualy reveals Himself a lot, i also believe that during that season a lot of us tend to have a distorted view of our identity and God just uses that season to truly show u who you are and who He is in the fact that He loves you and that His love for you is not governed by whether you feel Him around you or not and that no matter where u are in life, you are still His child and dearly loved by Him no matter what you’ve done or havn’t done, who He says you are remains your identity.

    Reply
  3. Sophie Fening
    August 11, 2012

    Whenever I am in a valley I think that I should not pray or read God’s word because he will see that my heart doesn’t desire it and he will look at me as fake. I’ve learned that I have to start somewhere. Praying to God asking Him to make me love Him more helped so much. I’ve realized that even though I’m not praying because I think He will see that I don’t want to be, he still knows exactly what’s in my heart. When I stop putting my faith in how “good” my faith is and start reminding myself of God’s promises, I climb higher and higher on that mountain everyday, out of the valley.

    Reply
    • Shelli N.
      August 11, 2012

      Wow, exactly what I went through for quite a while! Thanks for your honesty, as it shows others they are not alone in their struggles( that other Christians deal with the same stuff). May God continue to help others through your honesty!

      Reply
    • Ronnie
      August 11, 2012

      that’s exactly how I be feeling!! I really need to stop buying into devil’s deceit and rely on God’s grace and unconditional love for me..

      Reply
  4. Diana S.
    August 11, 2012

    I know my Lord spoke thru u you to me.

    Reply
  5. Christian Asumadu
    August 11, 2012

    Jefferson! I can’t fully explain how much this piece means to me. Those were the EXACT feelings I had just before I read this. God is sovereign indeed. It’s beyond my understanding of the timing of your posting and how urgently I needed to read something like this in my walk with God. I thank God that people like you are allowing God to use you as a vessel of pure change to the masses. Never let up with what God has called you to do. Stay bless bro.

    Reply
  6. Monique
    August 11, 2012

    I am in such a dark place. I have been able to encourage others yet haven’t figured out how to encourage myself. Your words may have saved my Life! Thank You!

    Reply
    • Michelle
      August 11, 2012

      Amen Monica I feel the same

      Reply
  7. Hannah B.
    August 11, 2012

    Thank-you so much for posting this. I have been going through the desert for quite some time now. I am a person who doesn’t like to invite people in, to tell them about my problems, so #1 is really hard for me. Well, actually, all of them are hard for me. Again, thanks for posting this.

    Reply
  8. abigail
    August 11, 2012

    Just what I needed thank u :-)

    Reply
  9. Chantel
    August 11, 2012

    Thanx so much for sharing…I totally needed this, been kinda of being a lone ranger lately…& reading the other comments from others going through the same thing helps me to know I can & will get through this with prayer. Its in the valleys deserts where we grow. Praying that God continues to use you to reach the broken…thanx

    Reply
  10. mark williams
    August 11, 2012

    I really needed this post. I’m not sure i have ever felt father from God than i have in the part few weeks. I have been blessed by your blogs and you’re spoken word. Thank you for allowing God to use you for His kingdom.

    Reply
  11. Michelle
    August 11, 2012

    I so needed that I have going this for a while please keep posting it helps a lot

    Reply
  12. Mallory
    August 11, 2012

    wow!!! Thanks for sharing this!. This is exactly how ive been feeling. ive isolated myself away. haven’t been to my church in a month1/2. was going threw the desert. im 25 and there arent alot of young adults at my church i started to feel is this it?..

    Reply
  13. Jazmin R.
    August 11, 2012

    I’ve been going through this lately.. I feel abandoned by my Church Family… This has really helped though. Thanks Jefferson…

    Reply
  14. Renee
    August 11, 2012

    Thank you so much for posting this, this is EXACTLY what I needed. Be Blessed.

    Reply
  15. Armando
    August 11, 2012

    Really found this to be radiating with His truth. Everything always seems to come back to fellowship and cultivating a pure, deep and intimate ‘personal’ relationship with Him. No matter the season. #praiseHiminthemiddleofitall

    You have an amazing gift Jefferson, and it continues to bless us all through your words. Thanks for sharring!

    Reply
  16. Destiny Molina
    August 11, 2012

    Very helpful and inspirational to not only me but to everyone i believe all of.us can learn from this reading were not alone!

    Reply
  17. Marina
    August 11, 2012

    I feel like the same as what Sophie said above; when I’m in the desert I feel like I shouldn’t bother reading or praying because it doesn’t exactly feel genuine. But this article has actually been helpful for me so thank the Lord for sending me this way!

    Reply
  18. Betty
    August 11, 2012

    Thank you! Totally what im going thru. God is good…

    Reply
  19. Nancy
    August 11, 2012

    WoW and WoW! Your post is amazing and the affirming comments are amazing!

    Reply
  20. iriv
    August 11, 2012

    I currently go to school away from home, and every time… around this time, I get the feelings of disappointment and regret of how I’ve spent my summer… when I should have been more focused to stay on top of my studies and especially training (I also play on a varsity team). I get anxious, afraid, and even defeated. During times like these when I don’t feel God’s presence, his grace, or reassurance that everything indeed will be okay, I run. I run alone in hopes to clear my mind and allow God to be present with me during that run. And there have been times when I believe God has spoken to me and told me the truth of things, sometimes it’s not what I want to hear, but it’s what I need to know. And for that I’m grateful. Thank you for this post because now I know when I don’t feel God’s presence or I don’t feel like praying, it is the time when I nee Him most.

    Reply
  21. Emily
    August 11, 2012

    Ill never forget the time when I was living in my car, driving down the street, and wishing someone would hit my car and end my life (because I could NEVER bring myself to do it). God had impressed on my hart jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. After 9 months of being in hat vAlley I remember screMing “NO THIS THOUGHT IS MOT FROM THE LORD HE HAS A PLAN AND A REASON FOR ALLOWING ME TO GO THROUGH THIS!!” and when I go through a valley I am reminded of that verse. Let me tell you he brings you through these valleys so that not only are you transformed, but he can work through you to identify with others who are in the same valleys.

    Reply
  22. Leontien
    August 11, 2012

    if you are in a period where all feels good, remember this good feeling. In a dry season you call this feeling back. Keep on praying, even more. Good times will come back, not in your time, but in the time God has planning for you. Be patient. You will learn from the dry season. You will grow in the desert and on the mountaintops.

    Reply
  23. M.F
    August 11, 2012

    I too felt that God led me to read this post today because of the things I went through recently. The work that God does through people is amazing, and the work He does through you Jeff. May God continue to bless you, Jeff & Alyssa, with all that you need in order to fulfill the plans He has for you in Jesus name Amen.

    Reply
  24. John Christian
    August 11, 2012

    Nice advices. I dont have this dry seasons, it’s my life! :) Always felt like this, never felt God’s precense even how much I want it and have searched for God. Just freakin tired of it, but I never give up. It’s anyway no real hope to find except from Christ you know.

    Reply
  25. Feliza Lopez
    August 11, 2012

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for such good advice. I will pray right now. You are truly an inspiration for many of us. God bless.

    Reply
  26. Jenny-Ray
    August 12, 2012

    Wow thank you Jeff!!
    This is exactly me right now and ive been praying to get out of it but now i have a new perspective on it.
    I really appriciat all you do for the glory of God jeff (:
    Thank you

    Reply
  27. Allie
    August 13, 2012

    Thank you so much for posting this. I know that I have struggled with this and I know for a fact that standing with The Body of Christ helps. Get involved in your church and let a leader know what is going on. Stick close to your mentors and friends in the church and force yourself to pray, to read your Bible, to spiritually feed yourself, and to just love God. It is worth it.

    I know that a lot of teens ask this question and I have had a difficult time explaining why we still do what we do so thank you Jeff! -My admin and I love your posts! It was shared on the Teen Jesus Freaks facebook page in hopes that other teens see it and get a revelation from this.

    xoxo
    -Allie

    Reply
  28. Moroti
    August 14, 2012

    Thank you for posting this, I think sometimes as Christians we expect ourselves to be perfect, even though God doesn’t. He knows we falter but it’s up to us to go to Him when we do. Thanks again, I needed it. :) God bless!

    Reply
  29. Jun
    August 14, 2012

    Wow. This post was great! Its really hard for me being a fairly new christian because I feel like my whole life is this desert. I always feel like its me not doing it right. I keep trying to say the “right” prayers or read the bible the “right” way but I dont think ive ever just tried to talk to God naturally! I just started reading this blog andd its already been amazingly helpful! Thanks so much

    Reply

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