What if I am Just Not Feeling It?
The Christmas Season is sentimental. It evokes both positive and negative feelings alike. Some experience warm and nostalgic feelings about faith and family. For others, the colder feelings of loneliness, sadness and anxiety are exaggerated. But what about those who feel more numb right now than anything else? What about those who follow Jesus and yet feel nothing?
Most of us are familiar with the idea of spiritual depression or have even experienced the infamous “dark night” of the soul. But what do you do when you feel neither high nor low? What about soul numbness or spiritual paralysis?
I find myself in this place more often than I’d like to admit. I have shared with more than a few close friends that I am troubled by my feelings being out of step with my faith. It should be a concerning thing for us when our life experiences don’t reconcile our biblical expectations. We so want to bridge the disconnect between our heads and hearts. We want our affections to be bound to our convictions. We really want to feel our faith.
Here is a passage from the bible and some action items that have helped me climb out of the “meh” space.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32)
First, I have to accept that God is for me regardless of my feelings. This reality is an undeniable and airtight fact. Facts are never substantiated by feelings. Two plus two is four even if I feel today like it should be nothing, much like my sentiments towards God. And according to verse 31, since God is for me no one and nothing can come between us. Not even me or the numbness in my soul.
Second, I can rise above the present paralysis by looking back. God has already made his love for me known through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. His love for me isn’t abstract, incomplete or distant. It isn’t co-dependent with my affections. His love for me is concrete, complete and close. His love is spelled out for me in the indelible blood of His Son, Jesus. Meditating on this powerful truth sparks warm feelings towards God in my innermost place.
Third, I can challenge numbness by looking ahead. God will graciously give me everything I need in the future, including the feelings I don’t now have. In fact, it’s really a small thing for Him to give me both the faith to believe and the feelings to go with it in order to keep me. This is so because He has already sacrificed His Son to have me. His commitment to me is never changing even when mine for Him is less than vibrant. This promise provides fuel to the spark in my soul. It gives me hope. And, after all, Christmas is about hope for those who trust in Jesus.