Let’s face it. Life is difficult. Sometimes, or maybe all the time, it seems like all life throws at us are challenges. Whether it be lots of little things that add up or a big challenge that seems to have rocked your life like an earthquake. I know I’ve dealt with both, but more recently I’ve had to deal with the latter. The big question that pops into my mind whenever I’m wrestling with my faith is Why does God let crappy stuff happen?
There is no easy answer to this question. If I’m being completely honest, I’m still struggling with this myself. I’ve asked pastors this question and sometimes even they couldn’t give me a straight answer.
There are a few things you can do when there seem like there are only two choices: walking away from your faith, or staying to sort out your mess of questions. If you choose to wait out the storm and deal with your tangled faith, and I hope you do, here’s what I have done over the past few months to get through my hurdles in life. I hope they help you, too.
- Pray. But don’t just pray. When I was talking to a friend about some of the struggles I have been wrestling with recently, my friend told me that it is okay to yell at God. He knows what’s on our hearts, anyway, so just tell Him how you feel. Yell, cry, say how you feel hurt or betrayed or whatever you’re feeling. Go out into a forest and scream it at the top of your lungs. It’s okay.
- Write it out. Make a list of grievances, if you will. Write what you feel in your heart. Write your angriest thoughts down. Writing is cathartic, it helps us sort out our feelings.
- Talk to someone about it. A pastor, a mentor, a parent, a grandparent, or even a friend. Someone who is walking with Christ as well and has probably gone through the same thing you’re going through now. It’s nice to have assurance that you’re not alone. That’s why God made us a Church, so that we could give each other love and support in all seasons of life. I’ve found that after telling someone what’s been going on in my troubled heart, usually my mom, I feel better. Lighter, even. We weren’t made to carry our burdens alone.
- Ask for help. Ask for your “someone” to pray for you. Ask your church to pray for you, even if you haven’t gone in a while. Even if you never go to a church service, just ask. Heck, post a comment on this post (or any post in the future) and ask for us to pray for you! The prayer warriors are on it. Surround yourself with people who care.
- Go to a place where you can be alone and think. As you can tell by the title of this blog, I am an introvert. Introverts are wired in such a way that makes them need to be alone to “recharge their batteries.” We need alone time to think. And after all the social interaction of the last three steps, I would definitely need some alone time. If that’s not how you operate, do it anyway. Take a twenty minute walk to clear your mind. It’s amazing what some fresh air in your lungs will do for your think-space.
- Bury yourself in the word. Even if it is the last thing you want to do. Even if you’re so angry at God you never want to read the Bible again. Crack it open and read. My favorite book for when I am feeling low are the Psalms.
- Listen to music. Music has always been the pathway to my soul. It is how I deal with every emotion in the book. I write with music, read with music, walk, run, eat, you name it. Music is in my blood, and I know this is also the case for a lot of people. Turn off your mind and listen to the words. For a hurting heart, my favorites are “Shoulders” by For King and Country and “By Your Side” by Tenth Avenue North. Really, anything by these two bands.
- Pray. Again. I know, there’s a lot of praying on this list. But prayer is our way of talking to God and his way of talking back. Even if he answers in whispers or even in silence. He hears you.
(Picture cred: Here)
Walking in Christ is a relationship. I have been told that a relationship with God is very much like a marriage. Married couples fight, and sometimes it’s hard to love your spouse. But in the end, they’re always there. I can’t stress this enough, questions are okay! In my opinion, they’re the only way to grow in our faith. Wrestling with big (or little) questions makes us stronger in our faith and our relationship with God.
Bottom line: With God, love will always remain.
(Did my fellow For King and Country fans get the reference?) Love is the never changing truth of following God. He will always be with you and he will always love you, even if you don’t feel it. Even if it feels like God is a thousand miles away, don’t forget his promise that He would always be with us. No matter what.
Here are some verses to help you get started:
2 Samuel 22:31
1 John 4:18
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.”