On feeling far from God

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Have you ever felt far from God?

I certainly have. In fact, I kinda do right now. Isn’t it sort of freeing to admit?

Some would have a cliche response like: “Well…if you feel far away from God, He’s not the one that moved, you are.” Or maybe ask that question…”What have you done to feel far away?” (Yeah, like any of that stuff actually helps when you’re feeling this way.)

Like I said…this is where I’m at and maybe some of you can relate.

So, last week I sat down at my piano and picked a few chords and started playing. I was irritated and frustrated with my present state but I held all that in and started to sing things you’re “suppose” to say to God.

That’s when two questions popped into my mind:

“What’s on your mind? How do you really feel?”

These two questions melted me. It was as if God was asking me these questions, beckoning me to just be real. Why do I always say what I think He wants to hear when those Christian-ese things are the farthest from the truth of where I’m at?

Now, there’s a balance of course. There is an awe and reverence I believe we need to have when it comes to how we relate to the Creator of the entire–well–everything. But does that mean we aren’t real with Him, too? No: the Bible says “pour your hearts out to him” (Psalm 62:8). I’m sure that means not just when things are going fabulous. It means pour out your hearts when things are great, but then when all hell breaks loose? Yeah, you got it: we pour our hearts out to him once again.

As a matter of fact, do you know who wrote Psalm 62? David – the guy that God deemed as “a man after His own heart.” And yet even with this title David felt really far away from God sometimes. Check out Psalm 13:

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

How long will I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look at me and answer, Oh Lord my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I will trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

If you’ve ever felt far from God, you’re obviously in good company.

In times of feeling this particular way, I have learned the best thing to do is to remember the things you already know to be true about who He is, kind of like what David did above. God is lots of things, but for me–in this season–I remind myself how FAITHFUL and PATIENT and CONSTANT and KIND He is. Regardless of how I feel or what the circumstances are, good or bad, these things WILL NEVER, EVER CHANGE. For David…well, that’s quite the situation he had going on. The beginning sounds pretty raw and honest and then in the end it is apparent he is reminding himself about God’s “unfailing love,” “salvation,” and goodness to him.

I’m no theologian, and I don’t have the answers to questions more often than I do, but I know as soon as I start “going through the motions,” I’ve lost the whole point. I think of it in terms of my husband and I. Within minutes, we would notice if either of us were “going through the motions” in our marriage. I swear, in just seconds we know if something’s up with one another! That’s bound to happen because we are getting to know each other. The last thing I want–and I am positive it’s vice versa–is to have a relationship that’s clouded with unspoken thoughts and feelings, runs on a to-do list, or is operated by “this is the minimum of what I have to do to maintain this relationship.”

In many ways, the same goes for our relationship with Jesus.

In the past ten years of following Jesus I’ve learned something really, really valuable: It’s in these times…these feeling-far-from-God times…that what you do today, you will live in the fruit of tomorrow.

What this means is: you just keep going. You keep talking and you keep asking and you keep worshiping and you keep being open and you keep being real with the One who knows you best…even when you don’t feel heard. When you feel as if you’re talking to a freaking wall. Yes, I believe distance from God can be caused by something we’ve intentionally put between Him and us. But sometimes it’s just a particular season we’re in and since I know He’s in it all and He’s faithful to never let anything go to waste, there’s something to be learned; a new facet of Him to be grasped in these not so fun times.

So, I was asked those two questions: “What’s on your mind? How do you really feel?” jolting me out of a “just doing my duty” state of mind.

I stopped singing nonsense, honestly answered back and a little song came out of it.

You can listen here:

Real

 What’s on your mind? How do you really feel?

Come on just be real, I’ll never leave your side

I always say what I think you wanna hear


So can I just be clear on where I’m at today?

I feel far from you, really far away

I know you’re as close as my next breath,

but it sure doesn’t feel that way


So this is when I hold onto everything I know

About who you are and what you’ve done

and all that is to come


You are faithful

You are patient

You are kind

And your hand never leaves mine


No matter how I feel

No matter how things change

You’ll never let me go

That will stay the same

After getting this song out, I didn’t necessarily feel all ooey, gooey close to God.

I still felt far away.

But after writing this song, I remembered again this is just a season and to God there is never wasted time. This season in my life is as important as (and maybe even more so) a “mountain top,” everything-is-awesome kind of season.

I felt less like someone going through the motions and more like His kid again. I’m.His.kid. and like any good Dad, He really likes me and wants to hear what’s up, regardless of how it comes out.

Once again, thanks for reading…and listening.
Now go tell Him what’s on your mind. : )

 

  11 comments for “On feeling far from God

  1. October 28, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Brittany,

    This post really spoke to me. I am going through a similar season as often I feel disconnected from God. I know He’s always there and I can feel His hand over me, but yet I am frustrated and I find myself searching… The song you wrote is beautiful and it touched my heart. Thanks Brittany. I am looking forward to more posts. Love, Esi.

    • October 29, 2014 at 8:59 am

      Esi…I’ve wanted to name a future daughter Esther and call her Esi since I met you. Bet you didn’t know that! I love your name sooo much. 🙂 (Ryan has a cousin named Esther so I don’t know if that’ll work out now..such a bummer – haha.)

      Anyway…thank you so much for reading. I almost didn’t post this one. Now, I’m really glad I did. I understand the frustration at times. I told Ryan just the other day, “Trying to get to God (or feel connected to him) feels like swimming through cement right now.” Ha! Kind of extreme, but you get my point. Keep on keepin’ on, as they say…Like you said, He hand is SO over you. You are one mighty woman, Esi Barnum.

      • October 29, 2014 at 6:57 pm

        I did not know that! Haha Esther is a great name :)… “swimming through cement” sounds about right haha… But it’s all good. Thanks for the encouragement Britt. Talk again soon! <3

  2. Jamy Betzold
    October 29, 2014 at 1:36 am

    This verse really stood out to me today.

    “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”(‭1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭14-15‬ ESV)

    I have also felt far from God and I so admire your honesty. I know it is much easier to share our past trials more than our current ones. I ask God to do His perfect will in your life through this struggle and that you will trust Him in your waiting; that you will continue to cry out to Him. I have a feeling that this time is meant to make you more holy and more in step with the Spirit and you will be grateful because of it.

    Thank you for sharing your heart, God has truly given you wisdom! And wow, I had no idea you sang like that! What a beautiful song. 🙂

    • October 29, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Hey Jamy…Thank you again for reading 🙂 And thanks for the verse; good one for sure. You said: “I know it is much easier to share our past trials more than our current ones.” <-- isn't that the truth. Thank you for your encouragement! Why can't you live closer? 😉

  3. Terry Denno
    October 29, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    When Christians are honest, vulnerable, and transparent like you were in your post, it draws me ” like a moth to a flame!” Reading this and hearing your song makes me feel kind of more connected to you (even though we hardly know each other!) It reminds me of your sweet voice and your amazing love for God! I remember you leading worship, and you are SO anointed! There was ONE reason you were on that worship team…you were there to be a living sacrifice to the God of Love!! I feel blessed to have read your post. I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for being a real Christian who doesn’t have all the answers. That’s the only kind of Christian I “believe in” anymore!! LOL!! I have heard you teach in church, and I am absolutely confident that you’ll come through this season, and when you do you’ll have another tool in your belt to bless others who are struggling!! ( I also know that you already KNOW you’ll come through this! I’m just glad that you …like me…are just a person who was saved and is kept by His love!)
    Lots of Love and Many Thanks…Terry Denno

    • October 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      Hi Ms. Denno!! Thank you so very much for reading and commenting. You are so kind and quite encouraging yourself. I like how you said we are “just a person who was saved and is kept by His love” – so true 🙂 I hope you are in the schools subbing this year?? I know you are loved my lots of teachers! Lots of love from Canada…

  4. Elaine Cardinal
    October 30, 2014 at 12:02 am

    You are sooooo real and so awesome! Thanks again for sharing your heart! And fully agree with Terry…..you will have another tool under your belt to relate, to share and to bless to other in similar situations. YES!! HE is Faithful, Patience, and Kind……Love your song….truly miss your singing.

    • October 30, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      I already sent you a message back on FB but thank you again, Elaine!!

  5. Barb Jackson Pearson
    October 30, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Hi Brittany!! This song and your voice are just amazing, God has truly blessed you with such a wonderful gift. And the way you touch people’s hearts is what is most important. I have certainly felt far from God and know the pain and sadness of this, but reminding myself of all His goodness in my life and scriptures has brought me through. Looking soooooo forward to hearing more songs and your beautiful voice in the future!!! Love ya!!

    • October 30, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Thank you so much for reading AND commenting, Barb! I would love to chat with you and get to know you more. 🙂

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