Q: I don’t have the same passionate fire in my heart for God that I used to have. I believe He’s there, and I just yearn to feel His presence and I pray to be filled with His spirit, but I still feel so empty. What can I do to feel close to God again?
First, I admire you for caring that you feel far from God! So many people start drifting from God, watch the fire die, and just give up the fight. Whatever you do, don’t give up the fight! Never quit longing for God, even when you don’t “feel” Him.
So many girls–including me–have been where you are. And obviously, just like you’re experiencing right now, feeling close to God isn’t a snap-your-fingers and it’s done process. But the Bible does promise,
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. -James 4:8
But how to we–as humans–come close to a divine God?
We have to invest in our relationship with Him. Just like any relationship, feeling close to God takes work: talking with Him, trusting Him, listening to Him, sharing with Him, and learning more about who He is. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you can put your finger on what’s pulling you apart from God:
- Are you holding onto sin? The second half of James 4:8 says, “Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” James gives us a gut-check question to ask ourselves when we’re not feeling close to God: Is our loyalty divided between God and the world? More specifically, are we holding onto any sin that’s building a wall between us and our divine Daddy? If we are, that sin has got to go if we’re going to feel close to our holy God!
- Are you too busy for God? Have a bunch of activities (maybe even really good things) crowded out time to just be still and listen to God, think about Him and learn about Him? What can you cut back on to make room for Him?
- Are you reading His love letter to you? God wants to talk with us, and most often He uses His Word, the Bible to speak truth into our lives. If you’re not sure where to start, my post “Where Should I Start Reading My Bible?” will give you some ideas.
- Are you talking to God regularly? You can talk to your Daddy anytime, anywhere. Take advantage of that! Think of how you would talk to God if you could text message Him. Instead of sending a photo or update to friends to share that funny or embarrassing or hurtful moment, talk to God about it instead. Share life with Him throughout the day.
- Are you being challenged and inspired? Reading a challenging or inspiring Christian book can be like pouring gasoline on a flickering flame of faith. Crazy Love, by Francis Chan is a good one. Or browse my Favorite Books for Teens on Pinterest.
- Is your heart “good soil”? On the Deeper page I give some advice on how to grow in your relationship with God, based on a parable Jesus told in Luke 8. Take a few minutes to read it and really think about whether your heart is good soil, and if not, what things might be crowding out your relationship with God.
I hope those questions help you put your finger on some practical ways you can start coming closer to God. In the meantime, I think you might relate to this worship song. It puts words to the frustrations of not “feeling” God even though we love Him so much. It’s called “Because You Are” by Everybody Duck.
Praying for the fire to be rekindled!