How To Survive Being A Messed Up Christian

May 23, 2014 at 8:21 AM

“Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable.”

C.S. Lewis

I try to sort through the voices in my head—what’s the Spirit—what’s me, and often fail. How many times have I mistaken simple mood changes with God moving away from me when it wasn’t that at all? Why is it when I read the bible some days it can encourage and other days it feels condemning and depressing? If God is not the author of confusion then why do I feel so confused? If I’m not supposed to do things in my own strength but rely on God, then do I just wait around until I feel something? Why is it most of the time I don’t hear God speak? How come as I get older I fear death so much? Why the hell do I lay in bed and before sleep, feel empty and afraid while my Christian faith feels silly and unreal?

I feel deeply. I also think a great deal. Do I think less—feel less, so I can believe more? I know that’s not the answer. Other than scheduling a frontal lobotomy it would be impossible. I could try and deny who I am. I could become a plastic Christian, a wind-up toy Christian, but it wouldn’t last. The thinker—feeler, would bust out eventually and that would only end in disillusionment. Have been there and I will never do that again. So I need an answer that is inclusive to my emotions, intellect and faith.

I can hear some of you sing, we don’t live by emotions. Bull. We all live by emotions to some degree, it’s impossible not to. How you feel colors everything. Gritting my teeth and trying to repress my emotions is not the answer. So what is?

Over the years what has helped is understanding myself and being honest about my weaknesses. To except the fact that I am deeply “flawed up.” Doubt, fears, regret, guilt, are emotions that are very familiar to some of the strongest spiritual leaders in history. Oh, and yes, and I should add to the list, sin and failure. If you are like me, and have this ideal of the perfect you, or what I call the “myth of the spiritual Ron,” then let me burst your little bubble: it ain’t going to happen. The answer to all of my problems does not lay in fixing me or I’m finished. The answer is completely opposite to that. It’s outside of me. Beyond me. It’s trusting in the unconditional nature of God no matter how I am feeling or thinking. It’s trusting in the cross.

Sound like freshly pooped Christian cliché? It sure would if you were saying it out loud to me when struggling. But here's what that looks like for me. I wake up in the morning and I feel like crap. My emotions say God is a million miles away, my brain reasons that He probably doesn’t exist anyway and the whole Christianity thing is a pipe dream. This is a bad morning. (I don’t get them as much as I used to, but once and awhile.) The result is a deep feeling of insecurity and fear that can spiral out of control and mess me up for days. Believe it or not, during these moments I am faced with a choice. It does not feel like I have any choice. It feels like rape. But I do have a choice. I can chose to put my faith in how I am thinking/feeling and the way I do that is simply do nothing. Just do what I have done for years; passively let my thoughts and feelings kick the shit out of me until I’m a mess. Or I can fight back.

Here is what fighting back is NOT for me. It is not trying to feel better. When things are bad, singing praise songs does not work in altering my mood. If that works for you, that’s great, but then you may be reading the wrong blog. It’s not reading the bible. That rarely has worked for me. I’m just being honest. When I am in this state my mind is full of doubt, and I can find all kinds of reasons to doubt what I am reading in the bible. What does work is I make a choice that instead of trusting my feelings and brain, I trust in God’s love for me. I often talk out loud to myself, and say, Ron, when you get like this, you cannot trust how you feel. You cannot trust what you are thinking. (That’s a big deal because I am somewhat proud of my brain.) Listen Ron, you know these feelings/thinking, come and go. They are rooted in traumatic experiences from your childhood. You know this! So, make a decision and simply trust in God’s love for you, right now.

After talking to myself, I then talk to God. And I say something like this: “Dear God, right now, in spite of how I feel, I make a quality decision that I trust in your love for me. You are my Father, and I trust you.”

Now, does this work like some magic potion, and I feel all better. Well, truthfully, sometimes it does. But other times it doesn’t. But that’s cool because I’m not trusting how I feel/think any more. I’m a flawed human being. I’ve got dysfunctional shit going on inside. I’m not perfect. Nonetheless, I’m God’s Son. He’s stuck with me. It’s an eternity thing and it’s sealed by His Son’s blood. It’s a done deal, no matter how I feel.

Where you looking for something more? Well sorry man, that’s it. Now do it!

Did this help? If it did, read this: Faith Is A Decision

Posted in: Spiritual


Comments (10) -

United States Abigail says:

Thanks for that! I really appreciate ur honesty it's refreshing ! I struggle with the same things and it's so good to hear others out there do as well. I love this sight ...juicing and Christianity that's great Smile


United States Abigail says:

Thanks for this! I totally appreciate ur honesty and willingness to say out loud what all of us r thinking  


Canada steve m says:

very interesting


United States Click Here says:

Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last part Smile I care for such info much. I was looking for this certain information for a long time. Thank you and good luck.


That was absolutely wonderful and helps to confirm that we are human. I would rather be honest and myself than anything else. Thanks!


Canada elizabeth shaw says:

Wisdom here! Thanks - to a degree, this is me.  My fav line is 'they are rooted in traumatic experiences fr childhood'.  Since everyone's experiences are unique, so are our twisted thoughts and fears, compliments of The Enemy.  
And truly, if we could figure it out, there would be more than just one God.  With that in mind, my confusions actually bring me safety and comfort at the end of my 'day' of fears, because I sure am not God. Humility is the doorway to His presence, and so the Word is confirmed to me, yet again. Upwards and onwards!


United States michael jace representing yourself in court says:

This year will be an apocalypse, and this is no joke!


Would be much better without the swearing.  That really disappointed me to read from you.


I just happened to open my tab and see this page... Think its a sign cause I've been "struggling" with emotions and the Truth for a long time and I agree with most of what you say that doesn't help you...Lol. We're human, we don't have good days and we're never perfect. Yes you swore but you were being honest and its helping others, like myself, to become more honest with themselves... Thanks Ron, for not being the typical preacher type dude... I appreciate your honesty. Working through daily emotions is especially hard as a Christian and being honest opens the door for help and healing. God bless.


I really enjoyed this. I think you described 99 percent of people how they really feel. Thanks for being honest it is uplifting!


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