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:
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. : )