One day you feel on fire and want to share your faith with the world. The next, you’d prefer to curl up on the couch and not even think about God. Honestly, it’s normal to have these types of emotional struggles even for the most zealous of Christians. It happens to me all the time.
Fighting Your Feelings
The first time you experience this discouragement or disillusionment it can seem that you have lost your faith. Don’t worry. You are not a bad Christian. In fact, you haven’t necessarily done anything wrong. The truth is that you cannot control your emotions. The way you feel does not always reflect what you believe. This can seem counterintuitive, because our society has adopted the heresy of hedonism which says that pleasure is our ultimate goal.
When we fall into this belief we strive at all costs to be happy, to feel good. But there are days you won’t feel happy. It doesn’t mean that you are depressed. It just means you don’t feel happy at that moment. It is not a reflection of your love of God. In fact, let’s talk about relationships.
For those of you who are married you know very well that you don’t necessarily feel head over heals in love with your spouse every day of the week. There are days that you get butterflies in your stomach, but there are also days when you can’t stand to hear their voice. It’s not that you don’t love them, you just don’t feel warm and fuzzy. Your emotions are going against your belief. Your heart and head are at war.
The same is true in the journey of faith. To be a Christian is to live in relationship with God. And just as married people experience disillusionment and discouragement, so do Christians.
Overcoming Emotional Roadblocks
There have been many times in my experience as a Church leader when I have felt discouraged about going to a meeting or participating in a certain event. I have questioned the effectiveness of my ministry. For whatever reason I just didn’t feel like going. My emotional response was negative.
I have discovered only one solution to this problem, ignoring my emotions. It doesn’t mean that I do not acknowledge my feelings, but rather that I do not allow my emotions to dictate my life. My faith in God, my love for God is more important than how I feel. This is exactly what it means to die to oneself.
The amazing thing about this approach is that it is almost always effective. For every single time that I have felt this way and ignored my initial desire not to go and went anyway, I have always found in the end it was worth it to have gone. It is as if God reminds me each time the reason He has called me to that specific ministry or vocation.
Just as the wife who doesn’t feel warm and fuzzy about her husband that day, yet goes out of her way to express that love to him gives a great gift to him and to their marriage, so when we are willing to look beyond our feelings, go deeper, die to ourselves, do we conquer those feelings discouragement and live our faith to the fullest.
Question: Have you ever ignored your feelings of discouragement and as a result witnessed the power of God at work in your life?