We all go through ups and downs in our spiritual lives—times that we don’t necessarily feel God’s presence, or maybe we don’t feel like anything is happening in our lives. Do you guys remember the poem “Footprints?” I know so many times I feel this way— frustrated because maybe we don’t feel as “on fire” or our faith seems stagnant or being in the Word no longer interests us…
When I’m in that place I have to remind myself that it’s ok to feel this way. We are human…and I know that these spiritual “droughts” aren’t because of God or our faith in general, but because of us.
When I first started to explore God, Christianity and my spiritual life, it sometimes felt like a means to an end, a type of self-help to make my life happier, healthier and more satisfying. Remember, I was just a “baby” Christian—still trying to figure it all out and grasp God’s unconditional love for me and still trying to understand His perfect timing and plan. I’ve written about control before, and that’s kind of what this was. I think I sometimes sought after God as a way to fix my problems and take away my pain.
But that wasn’t a real relationship with God.
I think a lot of us do this whether we realize it or not. We turn our relationship with God into a give and take. If I do this, He will do that. But God isn’t a formula, and living like He is, isn’t really living by faith.
Scripture says, “For we live by faith, not by sight” (1 Cor. 5:7).
When we let our spiritual lives become a means to an end, we’re living for what we can see—the effects, the results, the rewards. But real faith is living for what we cannot see: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1).
Living for what we cannot see…that sounds a little scary, doesn’t it?
But that’s exactly where God wants to meet us, in our place of uncertainty and unknown. For it’s in our weakness that He is strong.
I know this time of year everything seems mundane and too routine (the school year, the “rat race”)…and I think my spiritual life can feel like that too. Has your spiritual life felt dry lately because you haven’t seen the results you’re wanting or maybe it feels like you are treading water spiritually? Are you waiting for a certain feeling or for something to happen that will make your faith feel alive again? Could it be that in this time God is whispering something to you that you can’t hear over your own expectations?
God wants a relationship with us. That’s why He sent us His son. He is “Immanuel,” God with us. When we look at our faith as a means to an end, we will never be satisfied with it and we might give up on it all together. But if we look at our spiritual lives as they were intended to be—a personal relationship with our Savior—then a faith will start to be less of a transaction and more a journey with our God. The best journey you will ever go on.