Monday, May 18, 2009

"I Just Don't Feel Close to God" or "Bring Back that Loving Feeling"

I have a friend who says he just doesn't feel close to God. Now, my friend is a faithful Christian of 26 years and has been to church most of his life. He believes. His theology is sound. He teaches Bible class and is a deacon in his church. He serves others faithfully and selflessly. He reads his Bible daily (more than I do) and says he prays a couple of times a day. He worships at a conservative denomination and does everything he's supposed to do. I don't know of any hidden sin. So what's the problem!??!

There is no "life" in his spiritual life. He doesn't feel close to God or even feel anything toward God. Committed...check. Faithful...check. Understand God...check. Religious...check. Passionate...not so much. Loving God...uh...what's that? Feel loved by God...hmmmm.

So how does one bring back that "loving feeling?" Here's 5 ideas:

1. For 7 straight days, when inside your car by yourself in the driveway, yell for 30 seconds straight. Neighbors will think you have lost your mind and will likely call the "guys in the little white hats." But this exercise helps express any emotion that is clogging your system.

2. Share your personal testimony of faith with someone. Talk about how God has saved you, how cool Jesus is, what sins you were committing and how God saved you, etc. Get personal.

3. Dance while singing praise songs. Now this may take some getting used to but allowing your body to express emotion helps your heart connect. Raise your hands, take a "praise pose" sing from that position. Get your body into it.

4. Get a spiritual mentor who is passionate about Jesus and learn from him. Get him to help you to open up your heart.

5. Make at least 5 emotional statement to God daily during prayer time. Learn to express excitement and happiness to God along with the anger, hurt and fear. Be courageous, let it out.

Do you have other ways of connecting that have worked for you? My friend reads this blog. What would you tell him?


  1. Sounds like your friend might be going through the motions ....perhaps it is becoming rote--rote prayer etc not really communing with God and drawing into His presence.

    In my past when I have not felt his presence it was because I was harboring secret sin...or not dealing with sin...not willing to deal with it when I knew what I should do. Others might not be aware of this.

    The verse in James says to Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8). I have found that being honest with God helps--and to just tell him how I feel...ask Him to search my heart...ask him to show me if there is something wrong in my life that is causing such and such.

    God makes His presence known by His Spirit..I have heard some people say he sometimes lets us go through a dry time to teach us that it is all of is by his grace and mercy and not by us doing something.

    On the other hand we can quench him and sometimes it is because we are deceiving ourselves. This is why I think it is important to ask him to search our hearts.

    Your numbers 2,3,4, are right on.

    Praying His Words from Scripture helps me. Reading Revelation and seeing His glory..meditating on all that He is helps too...

  2. Thanks for your wisdom. One and five can help someone start the process of being able to emotionally express and connect with their own emotions.

  3. Sometimes, you won't be able to kickstart intimacy with God, because He's not trying to teach intimacy, but seeking.

    There's a reason we're told to seek God. You can only seek that which is hidden. God hides, not to be mean, but to teach you His voice. When God seems distant, He's actually hiding behind a rock way over there smiling, wanting to play hide and seek. If you're not used to this, it can be unnerving for sure. But it is a very valuable game to God.

    Two things:
    1. Make basecamp, cause your about to move up. Dads don't play hide-and-seek with every kid, just the kids they want relationship with. Keep waiting expectantly, and one morning you will wake to find yourself at the top of the mountain. Jacob is a good example here: "I'm not leaving until you bless me."

    2. Poker with God: When God holds His cards close, He's wanting you to say, "I'll see your wager, and raise you." What He's training you for is to be able to function on the battlefield without Him holding your hand. He wants you to ride your bike without training wheels. He wants you to grow up. And its good. Don't be afraid of it, but lift your chin up, and say, "You can hide, but I know you're here. I'm just going to keep on praising you, because you're awesome."

    The Wilderness is only for those who are being prepared for great things. Don't fear it. Embrace it.

  4. WOW. Excellent thoughts. The idea is to seek Him and He will be found. Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Dusty Chris--good point about your reasons for 1 and 5.

    Brad--interesting thoughts on seeking God. I think we are to seek Him in everything--I guess we all tend to be blind or blinded by our sins...our lives need to be constantly seeking Him . ..being aware of Him. Then , again, there is the whole aspect of abiding in Him. I have found praying in every situation opens me up to seeking Him....praying because I am not the one in charge...praying because I am seeking to be dependent on my heavenly Father as Christ demonstrated His dependence on His Father for and in everything. What a challenge--I need prayer for wisdom, grace, and courage in every situation.

    Oh, Hey, DUSTY Chris--there is a quote on Bonhoeffer on dryness spiritually on the blog I think you visit here: I believe it was on may 17.

  6. Hey, I thought this applied:

    I like what Paul Miller says about the desert place in our lives:

    "God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden. Here's how it works.

    The first thing that happens is we slowly give up the fight. Our wills are broken by the reality of our circumstances. The things that brought us life gradually die. Our idols die for lack of food......

    The still, dry air of the desert brings the sense of helplessness that is so crucial to the spirit of prayer. You come face-to-face with your inability to live, to have joy, to do anything of lasting worth. Life is crushing you.

    Suffering burns away the false selves created by cynicism or pride or lust. You stop caring about what people think of you. The desert is God's best hope for the creation of an authentic self.

    Desert life sanctifies you. You have no idea you are changing........
    The desert becomes a window to the heart of God. He finally gets your attention because he's the only game in town....................Without realizing it, you have learned to pray continuously. The clear, fresh water of God's presence that you discover in the desert becomes a well inside your own heart."

  7. I wish there was a way to change and be sanctified that included sipping lemonade and sitting on the front porch. Not! I agree with you, hoping that agreement doesn't draw "suffering attention" to myself (like praying for patience). Great post nannykim.