Sunday, April 6, 2008

8. "For me 'it' is just not there, why don’t I feel anything?"

"I was raised in a Christian church and have always tried to live right, I go to church on Sundays, I’ve even tried to pick up my Bible before, but just don’t get it. I see other Christians who seem so “on fire” for their faith, and for me “it” is just not there, why don’t I feel anything?"

First I need to tell you how awesome it is that you're doing your best at living your faith, even when you don’t “feel” any strong emotions about God. But before we go further, I need to address the topic of feelings. Yes, it is wonderful when we have strong emotions and powerful experiences, and we all hope we’ll have them now and then, HOWEVER, the Lord never said that was part of the equation.

We need to try to live the way He wants us to, no matter how we feel. Sometimes it might take a big scary situation in your life to bring you to your knees and then maybe you’ll have a conversion experience that will set you on fire. That’s how it happens for some. For others, it’s just a slow growing of your faith through the years, a continued quiet obedience to Him – maybe you’ll even have bigger blessings someday from the Lord, for following Him even when you didn’t have the strong feelings to go with it to push you along.

Most importantly, remember Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us follow Him, A S K for the Holy Spirit’s help! Ask to be filled up. If you still don’t “feel” anything, keep asking, but don’t assume He’s not there.

One note: sometimes the growth of our faith can be really hindered if there is some sin in our life that needs to go. You know what it is, and it’s got to go. Later you won’t believe that you held on to and settled for that garbage for so long, when there was such beauty waiting to unfold in your life after you just did what He asked!

Also, and this is huge: if you aren’t feeling especially holy, even though you want to, St. Benedict said to begin by doing holy things, and there is where it will start. Care for the poor, be unselfish when it’s most difficult, give away money (also called “tithing”) to those who need it, etc. Deacon Paul at our church put it this way today, "Pray, study, act", and most likely the feelings will come.


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