When You Feel Distant from God
Earlier this year, I was feeling great in my walk with God. I would awake eager to dive into His word, to pray to Him about my day, to put on worship music and just rest in His embrace. I could clearly feel His presence as I went about my days and was able to vividly see the many ways in which He was at work within my life.
And then, suddenly, I couldn’t.
It started when I opted to scroll on Instagram instead of read my Bible. And pushed off prayer until the wee hours of the night, falling asleep before really saying anything. Worship music began to not have the same effect on me as it used to, and my prayer journal stayed buried underneath various pens and pencils in my drawer. That burning desire I once had to commune with Christ, to spend time in God’s word – these things were now nowhere in sight.
Feeling distant from God like this can be frustrating and discouraging. We want to go back to how things once were – to the time when there wasn’t a wall between us and Him – but for whatever reason, we just can’t. Whether it was involvement in a sinful activity that made you steer away, a new busy schedule, or simply a lack of enthusiasm, it’s hard to navigate life without God by our side.
So what can we do?
Reflect on the root of the problem
Often times I’ll feel distant from God for what seems like no reason, but after doing some introspection, I’ll realize that the problem is tied to something deeper. For instance, I may realize that I’ve consciously neglected to read my Bible over a period of time and that fear or shame is stopping me from being intimate with God. Maybe you dig deep and realize that it’s the ways you’ve been spending your Friday nights that have been keeping you from God, or that you feel he was absent in a time of need. Whatever they may be, recognizing these feelings is key to getting over them.
Look to the word for truth on what you’re dealing with
The things we feel when we’re distant from God are often so far from the truth.
Take the above example of not wanting to face God due to shame over not reading the Bible. We may feel that God will judge us if we return to Him, but scripture says that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and that God will welcome us back with open arms no matter our sin (Romans 8:1, Luke 15:20-24). Or maybe we feel that God has abandoned us and isn’t hearing our prayers, but when we look at what scripture says, we learn that He is with us always and has a special time and place for everything in our lives (Matthew 28:20, Ecclesiastes 3:1). Aligning our ideas of God with the actual characteristics of God enables us to approach Him out of love, not out of guilt or fear.
Repent anything that you realize has been keeping you away
Perhaps you realize a certain sin is driving your distance from God. Even though it’s hard, bringing this sin to Him and praying for forgiveness is so crucial in enabling you to carry on in your faith journey without its heavy weight bearing down on you.
Maybe, though, you’ve searched and searched but can’t seem to find an answer as to what’s driving the distance and thus don’t have anything in particular to repent. That’s completely normal; sometimes we can’t figure these things out until after the fact. In this case, no matter how futile you feel your prayers may be, just continue to ask for clarity and guidance.
Listen to worship music
When we feel distant from God, it can feel as though there’s just no way for us to be moved by the Spirit anymore, no way to experience God’s presence. I find that listening to worship music is the one caveat. By simply putting on the music, closing my eyes, and praying for God to help me let go and embrace the lyrics, I almost always am able to feel His presence again.
Journal/write down your prayers
Feeling far from God can make it hard to pray as usual. If you’re like me, your thoughts will start to wander until you eventually zone out and return to whatever it is you were doing. That’s why I find transcribing my prayers works so well. I’m still praying just as I would in my head, but by putting these prayers onto paper, I’m able to stay focused and concentrate more fully on what I am saying. As you begin to write, ask God for assistance in breaking down any mental blocks you’ve constructed against Him and for strength to communicate freely with Him.
Start small: Read devotionals
There is no replacement for spending time in the word of God as it is in the Bible, but I know how daunting this book can feel during the dry seasons of our faith. So rather than waiting around for the motivation to read your Bible to return, instead start small by reading a short devotional every day. Getting into the habit of spending even a couple minutes with God can help minimize how distant He feels and ease us back into communion with Him.
Even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment, know that God is always by your side. Feeling distant from Him is a struggle like all others that, with prayer and perseverance, can be overcome. As James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
I right now feel very apart from God and don’t
like . I feel less secure.
Thank you so much for reminding us that no matter how far we’ve moved away from God, it’s only one step back to Him. I’m at a place where my heart and spirit is totally numb. I read the Bible and there’s no revelation, it’s like a story. I listen to worship music and just enjoy the musicality of it. But, it does not end here, right? I get to try again. I’m alive for a reason. Mainly, to worship. I will strive to focus on this journey. Laying all thoughts captive. Allowing the Holy Spirit to intervene and take charge. And most importantly, i will take my pen and book and write letters and notes to my heavenly Father. My dearest friend. Most beautiful. Thank you again. Thank you.
This morning, I just felt so distant from God and even though I’ve been getting up early in the mornings to spend time in His word and prayer, I feel like He’s a million miles away. I didn’t know what to pray for, grasped at whatever came up, and even “forced” dialogue. Maybe today is just “one of those days” and I’m just not feeling okay. It’s okay to not be okay – maybe I just feel like my life hasn’t turned out the way I expected and it’s because of the decisions I’ve made along the way. I’m any case, thank you for your advice because it’s very timely! God bless you!
I just ran across your article, My husband has been diagnosed with cancer and I feel my world is falling apart.
I have been feeling so distant from God, asking him why?? God.
I’m praying! but don’t feel like he is listening, I jus started writing ✍️ A prayer journal to help and searching scriptures for help.
Tears dropping rn, so first I was feeling away from, in different particular ways. 1st,I forget my dreams, 2 I feel lazy to read his word, 3I just felt like I lost the connection and the consistency. For I was so,much attracted to world and distracted from God’s Word. And I became feeling, guilty, hopeless and scared to evens admit my mistakes.
Thank you so much for this. I have been feeling disconnected from God for a while now, I was starting to feel there was no hope of ever establishing the connection I had with God before. I now have hope that what I’m going through is not permanent. God is always present, always listening, I just need to believe it more and ask God to reveal His presence to me.
Wow! This spoke directly to the season I’m in, and I really needed this. I’ve felt distant and stuck for a long time, and it’s so encouraging to know that it’s normal to walk through seasons like this. Thank you for sharing!
I love this message. I think in this world and just with life it’s easy to sometimes feel distant from God, or like He’s not there. But I know that He is there and He loves each and everyone of us. I’ve also learned that It’s okay to not always be okay. Sometimes we’ll feel like we’re on a “spiritual high” and sometimes it’s the opposite, we struggle spiritually. But it is important to remember that even when we’re going through tough times and feel distant from God and alone, He’s always there. He’s in the details of our lives. He loves us, even when we feel unworthy or struggle, or can’t feel and recognize His love. HE’S ALWAYS THERE, HE LOVES US!
Thank you for this. It’s been about a month since my biological father passed on. I’ve steadily drifted away from the personal and intimate walk I had with my Saviour. I feel numb. I so long to return to Jesus in the way it was – on fire for Him and in love with Him. Thank you for writing this. It has helped shed some light on what I can do and what I need to trust the holy spirit to do.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this beautiful and insightful piece. It is just what I needed. God Bless. Keep writing.
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