Faith Hurts

So, I’ve been going through a really hard year. It’s been brutal. This hard year has been the cherry on top of a hard four or five years.

And it’s all pretty much killed me inside. I live with a literal ache in my chest, that I know comes from disappointment and sadness. It’s been there for close to a year.

I also have a constant butterfly feeling in the pit of my stomach, that comes from dread and anxiety. Over the past year, the only way I can sleep is on my stomach, because it seems to calm the churning. I can cry at the drop of a hat, because my tears live mere inches beneath the surface.

I had a boss tell me I was intimidating to work with, because I was “too strong.” I took it as a compliment at first, until she later clarified what she meant. By “strong,” she meant “hard,” or “scary and unapproachable.”

When I thought about it, I knew what she was talking about, the “hard” persona was a conscious coping mechanism that I needed to get through the day. I had to consciously put up daily walls, because I was in so much emotional pain, that I couldn’t emotionally handle any flack from anyone. I wanted to send the clear message to everyone that they had better, “back the ‘f’ off.”

My “devil may care but I don’t,” attitude, and subsequent inability to respond to said boss’s “regular feedback,” (read “micro-managing”), with the scurrying mouse fervor that she wanted, once led her to a temper tantrum in which she literally yelled and stomped her feet. I just watched and marveled that I had never made anyone unravel like that before.

I recently took another job, where I quit after one day, because I felt I was being taken advantage of. It wasn’t the best of companies, but maybe it could have been worked out, who knows. I spent today e-mailing the boss back and forth explaining why I had quit. At one point, I had to stop myself from replying, because, what was the point, really anymore? I had quit. Let it go.

In essence, my bad year is turning me into a bitch. I used to be a really nice person. People used to say that about me all the time. In fact, it was my defining characteristic. But, lately, I just feel angry, bitter and so sad.

The hardest part of it all, is wondering where God is in all of this. All of the things that have hurt me over the past year, I’ve been crying out to God for help. I’ve been on my knees begging for change. I’ve prayed, and prayed, and prayed and prayed…Most days I spend the whole day praying silently as I go about my day. Wake up to bedtime, I’m praying the whole day.

And I try in the natural to change things. And, the truth is, they just get worse and worse. It’s like, a conspiracy to keep me trapped. And the more I pray, and the harder I try, the worse it all gets.

And I think I hear God say one thing, and so I pursue it. And it turns out to be a blocked path. This happens so often that I don’t trust my perception of God’s voice anymore.

I read the Bible, and I feel like this or that Scripture is God’s voice for my life at the moment. And it lifts my spirits. And I believe. I really do. And, I hope. And I try. And I stand on the Scripture.

And things just get worse. Or at least they don’t change, which is just as bad.

Last week, I dissolved into tears and told God that this isn’t living life abundantly, and I don’t know what this faith is for, if it’s not to help me in my life. And I don’t see it helping me in my life. I just see pain, and destruction.

I see me beating my head against the wall, day in and day out, and feeling nothing but bloodied and bruised. And, for the most part, it’s always been that way. Sure, I’ve gotten a little progress here or there. But, for the amount of blood, sweat and tears, I’ve put into it, my life is but a fraction of what it should be.

And I try to believe. I try to have faith. I hear God say that things are going to get better. That he’s going to do this or this. But, as the days, weeks, months, and even years wear on, and the promises don’t come to pass, I grow weary. My heart hurts, and I begin to feel so much pain. So much disappointment.

My prayer lately has been, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Sometimes I just cry and pray the verse over and over again.

In all my years of Christian living, no one has ever been able to explain to me how to handle the heartache of faith. How do you protect your heart, when the very act of faith, requires you to go all in? How do you not feel crushed when you put your whole existence in promises that take years, decades, or even a lifetime to materialize? How do you cope when you trust God for daily bread, and it doesn’t seem to come at all?

I’ve asked this to the most spiritual people I know, and no one can give me an answer that makes any sense. I try to explain what I’m thinking, but my desperation and confusion comes off as offensive to them. So, I’ve stopped asking.

Lately, I’ve gotten to where I can’t let God’s promises in my heart anymore. Because it hurts too much to believe. I want to believe. I do. But I don’t know what to believe or how.

And I know I’m in such a dangerous place. But, I can’t pretend that I’m not there. Because my heart feels in shreds like grated cheese. And I can’t stop myself from feeling the way that I do.

And I feel like I’m watching my faith unravel with my very eyes.

I know that God has his own ways, and they are higher than ours. I know that God’s timing is different, and we don’t understand his plan, and all of that. But, if this faith can’t make me feel whole, or happy, or help me when I need it most, then what is it for?


3 thoughts on “Faith Hurts

  1. I’ve been there … in a way! So much that I kept wanting to stop reading the article but something kept me reading. I had 3 years of really bad health, mentally, putting up walls to everyone to the extent that my brain would subconsciously cut out – and I would faint! God eventually led me to a wonderful Christian counsellor who, with a lot of work, has helped me turn things around. It’s not easy but I’m sure there is a way out of this for you. Praying that you will find it. xx

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I know this piece was a bit darker. But I think there are times that it is important to share those dark places. Because. eventually when we do come out of them, it’s a testimony of how low things got, and therefore how much God has brought us out of.. You can know that the night I wrote this, was part of a night of sort of “sackcloth and ashes,” before God. The darkness of the piece itself prompted me to go on a three day fast. My fast unlocked change as early as the next morning. continuing through the week, until things in my life are a lot betterI don’t think God is done unlocking the change I have been crying out for, and I am now excited about the future. I am keeping this post up for now, because I know that people can relate, whether they would like to admit it or not. 🙂 Thank you for your prayers!

  2. Thank you for writing this. I can’t remember ever feeling this way before now. But I’ve been through heartbreak after heartbreak and I just imagine I have. This last one though- didn’t come with the usual red flags. It was a man who presented himself as committed to God. We prayed together and I felt I received confirmations that he was the one. So many confirmations – more in common than I’ve ever experienced. But I continued to pray God’s will when I had little disturbances in my spirit. And those whispers led to a complete dismantling of my relationship. I am devastated. This ended with me feeling neglected, misused and betrayed. I know people go through divorces and illness or death striking their children or spouses- there’s always more painful scenarios. And I am suffering too. I feel very much like your words indicate here- like what is my faith for? Im tired of giving things up to God and suffering this much pain. I pray for His will not my own and I don’t understand why His will and my commitment to it would make me feel this way. I just want to thank you for writing this because I do not feel alone. I know I will get through this tough moment, but the pain is too great for me to FEEL that right now.

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