The Betrayal of Feeling

I often feel numb. I usually don’t feel like doing anything because I just don’t. High functioning depression really does just take it out of you. And unfortunately, the lack of motivation and general exhaustion translates into my relationship with God. Most mornings, I hit snooze a couple of times until I finally have to roll out of bed. Some mornings are easier than others, but most mornings I dread opening my Bible. Not because I don’t love the Lord, either, but because it is difficult for me, for some reason, to do so. And I think it comes not only from my various mental health deals but also from my perfectionism.

It is so easy for us to become obsessed with looking perfect, which draws us further away from the Presence because our ideas about achievement and good-enough-ness make us into someone that is never, ever at the right place to sit with the Lord. We forget that He just wants us–not some feeling or perfect performance. Coming before the Lord is not a contest of progress; it’s just about showing up at all. Show up and be willing, and that’s the whole deal. He’s not trying to trick you into spending time with him unprepared.

When I’m really not “feeling it”, I’m struck by the Psalms. The lamenting and confusion of the Psalms is comforting because David was called a man after God’s own heart, but he wasn’t feeling it most of the time–and more than once throughout the parts of his story shared in the Bible, he failed miserably, everything from great cowardice to affairs to murder. It’s much easier to get up in the mornings and sit with the Lord in the midst of my imperfection when I can look back and see that all the great heroes of the faith have had the same moments and seasons I have, although, I have not been in a place where murder was something I felt compelled toward, but I digress.

I doubt Joseph was just, super emotionally engaged with God all those years in slavery and exile. Being connected to and growing with God isn’t equal to feeling happy and super emotionally charged all the time. Sometimes it looks like the opposite of that. Growth is painful, growth is difficult, and sometimes I would just rather not grow. We’re obsessed with progress that looks really good to other people, but we tend to avoid the things that take time, quiet and away from the eyes of the world (this is where Sabbath becomes of paramount importance, although I have certainly never been good at practicing Sabbath, like, at all).

But, the really good news is that we’re not left alone to figure out navigating our relationship with God while struggling with depression, apathy, and numbness. The really, really Good News is that God wrapped Himself in flesh and said our enough-ness was entirely wrapped in His sacrifice and not our own actions and definitely not our own feelings. The really Good is that He is really good–we cannot go all the way to him, we can’t even make it halfway, but He pursues us and just asks that we turn around and let His embrace be the steady foundation of our fragile, failing human hearts.

He is the Enough, He is the feelings when we can’t feel, the Good when we are far from it, and the Light when we are absolutely blinded by darkness. There is more than your feelings–He is much more than how we’re feeling.

•••

With Love,

Hannah

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