Maybe it was the daily time in the bible. Maybe it was the prayers that danced from my lips as I drove. Maybe it was just the passion of younger days. Whatever it was, I used to believe better.
I can say I got jaded or became cynical, but more true than that, my soul has shrunk and shriveled. My soul is starved. I’m not sure if I did the starving or not. Either way, this shrunken soul has little belief to wring out of the corners these days.
Maybe this is all the depression talking. I know I have a harder time holding on to faith when depression is raging through my veins. Still, I think there is more to this than just the voice of a depressive episode.
I miss the big faith I used to have. Faith that was fed and growing. Faith that was living and active like the God I trusted in. I miss the faith of my younger days. I would that I could trade in the apathy I have now for the faith I used to know, but I don’t know how. I search the scriptures, but they are so dry and dusty to me, superimposed with all the theology about them that is supposed to make me believe better. It doesn’t. I don’t. I try to pray, and its sand stuck in my throat, choking me on silence. I don’t know how to talk to Jesus anymore.
I know how to talk about him though. I’m good at that. I can also talk about his body, the church. I can talk about love, about hope, about faith. I can speak about these holy things with words that can convince you that I believe. But most days I don’t know if I really do believe. I’ve even stopped going through the motions.
What exactly have I stopped believing?
I mean, I still believe the lines of theology that I can spout. I still believe the Bible tells the truth about Jesus. I still believe the Jesus rose from the grave. I still believe the good news that God has reconciled all things to himself in Jesus who was put to death for the forgiveness of our sins and raised to life for our justification. I still believe that Jesus will come again and all will be made well.
I still believe in these things, I just don’t live like I do.
Practically, functionally I am an atheist. While I can spout to you about the love of God, I have trouble believing that he could love me. While I can tell you that prayer – even silent prayer – matters, my prayer beads lie cold and untouched. I can point to scripture as life-giving and truth-telling, but my bible remains closed.
I’ve stopped believing that there is something to this Christian life. Sure, loving your neighbor is a great thing, but I don’t need to be a believer to do that. I’m not sure it’s important to be a Christian anymore. I want it to be important, but I just can’t convince myself that it is. I’m burned out on trying to live as if Christianity is the answer.
This is a question a buddy of mine and I have asked each other for years. We are asking if we are believing Jesus and placing our trust for salvation in him alone. It’s a great question, but my answers lately haven’t been that great.
It’s been a letdown to my heart.
See the way I used to believe is something I miss. I miss feeling connected to God. I miss being blown away as time and time again I realized that Jesus loved me.
Now God is like that ex-girlfriend that you don’t really talk to anymore.
I hate it.
But it’s where I am on my journey. This is my story right now. I’m tired of Christianity, unconvinced that it matters and have a small soul to try and believe with.
I used to pray for revival – new life – when I went through periods of spiritual darkness or dryness. I don’t know if I can pray that anymore and believe the words. But something in me still wants that resurrection life, something different about being human, something greater than myself. Something in my heart still misses God and longs for faith again. Something in my soul wants to stop believing about God and start believing in Jesus again.
I can’t silence this voice of longing, but I don’t know how to feed it anymore.
I don’t know where this leaves me.
I’m still trying to go to church, to connect with other people who have faith. I still call myself a Christian. I still take the body and blood of Jesus at communion. I still don’t know where else to go to find words of eternal life. But my soul hurts and hungers and doesn’t find food and is so small these days.
I am in the wilderness, hoping that the Spirit might show up and work a miracle in this heart of mine. I am searching for an anchor to hold me in the storms of my life. I am longing, longing, longing to know I am embraced by the Father again.
Is this all I am left with, longing?
Maybe there is an end to this longing. Only time will tell. In the in-between time, I will hunger and thirst and try to have faith that I will someday be satisfied once again.