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HomeSpiritual GrowthWhy Do I Feel Like God Abandoned Me?

Why Do I Feel Like God Abandoned Me?

You don’t feel like going to church, so you don’t.

Bible reading feels like a chore, not as fun as it used to be

Prayer? Not in days.

Then you feel guilty and those things get even harder.

What’s going on here?

Some would say it’s either an attack from the Devil or that you are hiding some sin. They would tell you to buckle down and read your Bible harder.

That is possible, but it could also be that what you are doing doesn’t fit your personality or who you are. Think about the times you felt closest to God. What were you doing? 

While we believe there is only one way to have a relationship with God, through the cross of Christ, we can experience that relationship in different ways.

Church, bible reading, and prayer are the basic disciplines of the average Christian. But, there are other ways to experience God. If you can find out how you best experience God, you will have a more fulfilling relationship with Him. It’s good to still go to church, and read your Bible, but adding something new can make a difference.

The idea of “quiet time” is popular in Christian circles. This is a time when you read the Bible, study it in detail, and pray. This is tradition, and not specifically commanded in the Bible. It is a good thing to do, but it is not what makes one a Christian. 

There is an interesting book that can help you find your “spiritual personality”, and how to discover God in a whole new way.

The book sounds like something out of the New Age movement, but it is not. Gary Thomas wrote “Sacred Pathways” 20 or so years ago. 

He presents the idea that we all have a spiritual personality. We relate to God in different ways. He suggests we should try to find how we relate best to God, instead of trying to make what works for others, fit us.

Let the reader understand. This is not finding different pathways to God other than through the cross of Christ. It is about how we relate to God. What is best for me might not be best for you. 

The book has an assessment to determine your personality type, but that isn’t necessary. You can be more than one, and it can change over time. What is important is to examine yourself to determine how best you relate to God.

Think about the times you feel closest to God. What were you doing? 

It could be in church, or it could be on a mountaintop. It could be while you were helping out the church cleaning crew, or taking some food to a neighbor who is sick. It could be while you were playing some music.

It is still important to read your Bible, and there are a lot of benefits there. But if it is getting boring, it could just be that this is not the way you best relate to God.

Here are the nine personalities or temperaments Thomas defined, and there may be more.

  • Naturalists experience God in nature. In Romans 1, Paul says what can be known about God is seen in nature, and they get this.
  • Intellectuals like to study the Bible and theological concepts. They are close to God when learning something.
  • Sensates get close to God by feeling. Worship music may instill that, or anything that has great beauty.
  • Traditionalists like patterns, and want to do things the way they have always been done. They will mimic New Testament behavior if they can.
  • Ascetics prefer to be alone, to shut out the world. They may incorporate long prayers, meditation, and fasting.
  • Activists are out there fighting for God, for justice. They might be protesting at an abortion clinic.
  • Caregivers are people who like to help others; by taking care of people’s needs they feel closer to God.
  • Enthusiasts like the celebration atmosphere of group worship. They may buy worship music CDs instead of books.
  • Contemplatives have more of an emotional attachment to God. They feel the presence more than most people.

It is not necessary to pick one or to think you only have one temperament. Thomas’ book presents the idea of discovering how each of us best relates to God. What works for one person may not work for someone else, and vice versa. 

My journey

Early on in my adult Christian life, I leaned heavily into the intellectual side of things. I enjoyed nothing more than spending a day in a library, poring over dusty books as I tried to understand some deep theological concepts. I enjoyed studying Greek words and studying the cultures the Bible wrote about. When the light came on, when I learned a new concept, I would feel the presence of God.

One day I just got tired. I did not want to study anymore. I did not even want to read the Bible. 

I have always been an outdoors-type person. I realized that I felt close to God when I was out in nature, on some trail far from the traces of civilization. Over the last few years, my devotional time was more out in the woods than at my desk. 

I have never been a big fan of going to church. I don’t dislike it, it’s just that it isn’t particularly meaningful to me. I do like small group Bible studies, and I would much rather do that at someone’s house than go to the church building. I would happily do three home Bible study groups a week and forget about going to church altogether.

However, I have found that I like rituals and traditions, which take me back to church. Holy Communion is significant to me and I would love to do it every Sunday morning. 

I have also found that listening to the Bible is sometimes better for me than reading, which is a reversal of my early days.

Trying other things

Another point Thomas makes is that we should be open to exploring and trying new things. While discovering what works best for you, consider some things you have never tried before.

Discovering a way to relate to God even better than you already do is possible.

James Jordan is a retired journalist living in the Midwest. He writes about spiritual matters, mental health, writing, and social issues at times.

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