What to Do When God Feels Distant

We’ve all been there. Some of us are there now. We approach God and hear nothing. His overwhelming presence isn’t like it once was and we wonder why, why does He feel so distant?

Well, I’m here to tell you: I don’t know why, exactly. But, after being through times of silence and distance from Him (even if they’re just perceived) I’ve learned a few possibilities.

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God’s Love Letter to Us

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
Jeremiah 31:3 (NASB)

His love is everlasting. It doesn’t change, ever. How He feels about me is the same today as it was yesterday and won’t change tomorrow. Because of the everlastingness of His love, he draws me into Himself with His lovingkindness. He loves me enough to give me the greatest thing in the entire universe – Himself.

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Living with What We Need

Jesus calls us to live a simple life, not the life of disorder and chaos.

Last spring I shifted my daily routine from exercising first thing and squeezing in a quiet time to having my quiet time first thing and exercising later. The fruit of just a minor change was amazing – my attitude improved, my outlook on life was better, I had more clarity and discernment, and best of all my relationship with God was richer, deeper, and satisfying. But sometime in the last few months my habits shifted back to my old ways and the fruit I had was shriveling up. When crunched for time I’d spend less time with God instead of exercising and I noticed an increase in anxiety, the feeling of distance from God, and uncertainty in decision-making. Thankfully after a relatively short season of confusion, God made it clear to me why I was feeling the way I was. So, I’ve committed to start my day with Him. If I don’t get to work out that day, then so be it. It’s better to miss that than my time with God. (1 Timothy 4:8)

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Focusing on God’s Sufficiency

Most mornings I wake up feeling like I didn’t get enough sleep, I didn’t get enough done yesterday, and I won’t have enough energy to do all I need to get done for today. So before my feet even hit the floor I feel overwhelmed and defeated.

What a way to start out.

But, this isn’t the whole truth I’m telling myself. Though I’m tired, I have left over tasks, and lacking in strength – and left to myself I would be too tired, too overwhelmed, and too weak – God gives me what I need from His abundance. Each morning He provides just what I need for that day. What was given yesterday is gone and what’s for tomorrow hasn’t come. He provides exactly what I need for just this day.

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Focusing on Hope

“…Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:24)

Hope requires faith because it calls us to something, someplace, we’ve never seen, touched, or fully felt with our physical senses. Uncertainty is at play. The unknown is eminent, obvious. But God’s given us enough of a glimpse into what’s to come, even better, into Who He is, to trust Him and hope in the future.

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Focusing on Grace

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God’s grace blows my mind. His love for us is so great that He freely offers His grace. He gives it knowing every shortcoming we have and sin we’ve ever committed (and will commit). (Ephesians 2:8-9)

His grace fills in the gap between us, where we are and where He’s designed us to go (Ephesians 2:8).

His grace tells me to rest in all that Christ has done (Hebrews 4:1-3).

His grace assures me that I am covered in the righteousness of Christ (Romans 5:17).

His grace is my strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

His grace is forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7).

His grace never runs out (Ephesians 1:13-14).

It’s hard to define. It can’t be earned. It’s a gift. And we have it even when we don’t know it’s there.

And grace is the characteristic of God that’s probably the hardest for me to accept.

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Looking Back to Move Forward Remebering God's faithfulness in the midst of anxiety & fear

This past week’s been a tough one. My anxiety has flared it’s ugly head and I’ve found myself trapped in a vicious cycle of negative mind-talk and overall feelings of inadequacy and burden.

There isn’t a specific reason this started, (I’m sure it’s a cluster of reasons) but I’m done trying to over-analyze this beast. It’s here, I hate it, but I know it’s not here to stay. This time, instead of dwelling on why it’s here, I’m going to work on how to get rid of it; all the while praying that if it be beneficial for me to know the why (to hopefully prevent future “visits”) that God would make it clear. I’m done wasting my energy on the wrong question.

So how am I getting rid of it this time? I’m taking that adage “Don’t look back, you’re not going there” and doing the opposite. (Leave it to me to do the opposite…) Granted, I’m not going back to where I was, but I’m allowing myself to go back, to remember, the times God has brought be through before – so many times before (Psalm 77:11).

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Our No Doesn’t Change God’s Yes God's sovereignty doesn't rest on me

God is in control. Like complete and total control. He is sovereign. He can do (and does) anything He pleases (Psalm 115:3), and it pleases Him to use us for the good of others and His glory (Philippians 2:13). The fact that He chooses us, beckons us even, to be a part of His greater plan is amazing (and that word doesn’t seem sufficient).

When taken wrongly, to think that He uses us for His great purpose can feel like a burden, a huge pressure. It’s a big deal to follow Him! The things He asks of us not only affect ourselves but the lives of those closest to us, of the world, and even future generations. It’s heavy stuff. But, Jesus says that His way isn’t heavy, He specifically says that His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). But, how can that be? I mean, it’s such a big deal!

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