I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and I’ve been baptized into the church for eight years. I grew up on stories of David fighting Goliath, Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the Whale, but I never truly grasped who God was. Even when I was baptized, I still didn’t understand His overwhelming love and presence. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably read about how I struggle with depression and anxiety (if you haven’t read it, check it out here).
When I was first diagnosed, instead of turning to God, I turned to people to heal my brokenness. By doing this, I set myself up to be let down, because people are human and make mistakes. When I grew apart from my friend group freshman year, I was more lost than ever. Fast forward to the middle of my junior year in high school. I was still severely depressed and didn’t really care much about God. I would pray to Him occasionally, but only to ask Him for things. Even then, it was a half-hearted attempt to communicate with my Creator. It wasn’t until recently that I stated really digging into His word, and thanks to a few of my friends, I finally have a heart burning for God.
So what do you do when you don’t feel God’s presence? This was something I struggled with for a long time, and ultimately why I almost abandoned my faith. I didn’t feel God, but it was because I wasn’t really trying. To quote one of my friends who has been helping me on my walk with God, “realize God is inviting you into His heart. In order to that, you have to surrender to yourself. When you do, you have to receive want He wants for you. Life with God is not dry, not superficial.”
Surrendering yourself is giving into God’s will for your life. Instead of trying to control everything (which will leave you ragged!!), pray for His will to be done. Pray for guidance. Even in the dry seasons, His hand will still guide you. You also need to dig into your Bible studies and learn about what God’s will is. The more you know about God, the easier it will be to hear His voice. You’ll know what it sounds like. Believe the promises God has for you. If you want to feel God, press into Him. He is there, He just wants you to show up. No matter what, He is there waiting for you.
So when you feel like giving up on God, don’t. Just because you can’t feel Him doesn’t mean He isn’t there, you may just be approaching Him the wrong way (or not at all, in my case). Pray for guidance. Study your Bible. Talk to friends and family members about your struggles. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! The worst thing you can do is keep your problems to yourself, because that’s when the enemy sneaks into your head and makes them seem ten times worse.
I hope you feel God soon, but don’t be discouraged if it takes a while. God loves you more than you can comprehend, and He will come to you when you call.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:13