Faith questioned


#1

Hello,

I don't know what to say. I'm going through a very dark time in my life, and finding it hard to get through each day. I've always been very spiritual and have always turned to God for answers, but I feel so alone now, like he's really, truly abandoned me. My life has been a mess of anxiety and depression since early this summer. I'm finding it so hard to find any reason to keep going. The pain is always there, knocking me down. I pray and pray, but nothing ever changes. I never get any answers. I'm not looking for pity or anyone's else prayers or a pat on the back or anything. I just wish I knew why it seems like God is so far away, why I can't seem to reach him anymore, and why it feels like he's left me to my own devices. I've prayed. I've repented for everything I can ever remember doing wrong. I just don't know what to do anymore. Is it possible he really does leave us to suffer on our own?


#2

Prayer is very important, and you should continue with that. But it is also possible that there is a medical reason (clinical depression, an underlying illness, etc.) for what you are experiencing.

You should attack your problem from both perspectives — spiritual and medical. You don’t have to go through it alone.

If you have not already done so, see your doctor, get a good checkup, and tell him what you have been experiencing. If you have been to your doctor, followed his advice, and not seen any improvement, it is probably time for a follow-up visit.

And talk to a good priest about the spiritual darkness.


#3

I agree that you should go to a priest about this.

You know the footprints thing?

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:

“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you’d walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me.”

The LORD replied:

“My son, my precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”

It might help if you tell us a little more about what is getting you down!


#4

Many saints suffered through the “dark night of the soul” and “night of nothingness”, such as St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux and even Mother Theresa. Maybe read up on some of them to get a better understanding (in addition to addressing any medical conditions).
Do you do any volunteer work? Are you active in any ministries or apostolates? Do you have a spiritual advisor? Make sure you are not traveling down your spiritual path alone.


#5

Make Psalm 27, your Psalm. Find comfort in the promise despite the very difficult hardships Memorize it, and repeat it in whole and in parts throughout the day. God loves you, and now perhaps, He does indeed want you to know the help of others by calling out for prayers. The church is a "people", do not stand alone, when you can stand with a whole church that is praying for you. Harvard did a study that demonstrated that people who were sick healed faster if they were being prayed for, than those who did not have prayer. I will remember you in my prayers.


#6

Just wanted to let you know that you do not stand alone; I too am traveling that seemingly "lonely road". It is a horrible, empty feeling and until you walk that road, you can't understand the desolation one feels. I pray there is no mental/physical cause for your despair, and I hope you have a quick resolution to this period in your life - and a speedy return to your full spiritual well-being! Right now it seems nothing will ever be right again, but I pray with perseverance all of us who are suffering this darkness will soon return to the fullness of the light.


#7

[quote="NothingGirl, post:1, topic:177414"]
Hello,

I don't know what to say. I'm going through a very dark time in my life, and finding it hard to get through each day. I've always been very spiritual and have always turned to God for answers, but I feel so alone now, like he's really, truly abandoned me. My life has been a mess of anxiety and depression since early this summer. I'm finding it so hard to find any reason to keep going. The pain is always there, knocking me down. I pray and pray, but nothing ever changes. I never get any answers. I'm not looking for pity or anyone's else prayers or a pat on the back or anything. I just wish I knew why it seems like God is so far away, why I can't seem to reach him anymore, and why it feels like he's left me to my own devices. I've prayed. I've repented for everything I can ever remember doing wrong. I just don't know what to do anymore. Is it possible he really does leave us to suffer on our own?

[/quote]

Hi, it seems that what you're going through is like what the Saints called "dark night of the soul". I've been through a similar experience too. There's one thing I know for certain: God has not and would not leave you. He endured the Passion for you! He won't leave you now. What might be happening is you're sharing in the Cross. And this is not a punishment, but a way that God strengthens us and makes our faith less dependent on feelings. It's for our sanctification, in the end. Try to trust Him, and in His goodness. God sometimes removes the feeling of His presence from us,but He never removes His presence....there's a difference between these two things. I know it must be very difficult, but try to accept this as a cross and carry it for love of Him.... this is how the Saints were made. Mother Teresa went through her "dark night" for many years. St Therese, before she died (at 24 from tuberculosis) said that she can't suffer anymore because all suffering is sweet to her. It might seem incredible that someone would say this... but any suffering we go through is a way to bring us closer to Him.

Suffering in itself is bad. But God can use it for good, if we let Him. We waste a lot of suffering... try to offer this to Him and resign to His will. But this doesn't mean not feeling upset. We're not robots.. if it doesn't feel like a cross, then it's not a cross.

Remember He's with you, and dont give up praying. Don't feel afraid.

About the depression, it might help to speak with a priest or a good doctor... but sometimes it just helps to trust in God's love and that He is with us. The more we trust, the more graces we receive. Maybe this is an opportunity to learn faith and trust that goes beyond feelings.

God bless :hug1:

"The everlasting God has
in His wisdom foreseen
from eternity the cross
that He now presents to you
as a gift from His inmost heart.

This cross He now sends you
He has considered with His all-knowing eyes,
understood with His divine mind,
tested with His wise justice,
warmed with loving arms
and weighed with His own hands
to see that it be not one inch too large
and not one ounce too heavy for you.

He has blessed it with His holy Name,
anointed it with His consolation,
taken one last glance at you
and your courage,
and then sent it to you from heaven,

a special greeting from God to you,
an alms of the all-merciful love of God."

(St Francis de Sales)


#8

Jesus to St Gemma:

"Jesus once said to me: “Do you know, daughter, for what reason I send crosses to souls dear to me? I desire to possess their souls, entirely, and for this I surround them with crosses, and I enclose them in sufferings and tribulation, that they may not escape from my hands; and for this I scatter thorns, that souls may fasten their affections upon no one, but find all content in Me alone. My daughter, if you do not feel the cross it cannot be called a cross. Be sure that under the cross you will not be lost. The demon has no strength against those souls who for My love groan under the cross. 0 My daughter, how many would have abandoned Me if they had not been crucified. The cross is a gift too precious, and from it come many virtues.”

I prayed then to Jesus that He would not concede to me any grace except that of loving Him very much, and Jesus said: “Oh soul dear to me, if you truly love Me, behold My chalice; you can drink it to the last drop. On this chalice I have placed My lips, and I want you to drink it.” I told Jesus to do with me as He would. And then He said to me: “I have sent this cross to you, you do not appreciate it; rather it is contrary to your desire, but the more it is contrary, the more it is like Mine. Would it not seem to you a dreadful thing to see a father in the midst of sorrow and the children enjoying themselves? When I shall be your Spouse of blood, I will come to you, but crucified; show your love to me as I have shown it toward you, and do you know how? By suffering, pains, and crosses without number. You ought, therefore, to consider yourself honored, if I lead you on paths hard and painful; if I permit that you be tormented by the demon, that the world despise you, that persons most dear to you afflict you, and with daily martyrdom, I permit your soul to be purified and tested. And you, daughter, think only of practicing great virtue; run in the path of the Divine Will, humbled, assured, that if I hold you to the cross, I love you.”


#9

I am so very sorry you are suffering.I have no great words of consolation other than God loves YOU He loves us all.
I have suffered anxiety/panic attacks in the past (a lot)my 19yr old son still does.It can be very debilitating and life can seem out of control.When I had my worst period of anxiety i didnt let God in to help me.I forgot to pray/ I didnt bother to pray for His help.I shut myself off.
Since having God back in my life properly I am so much healthier.I still get stressed as I have a stressful occupation, I care full time for my mother(who lives with us) and two disabled adult sisters and more…
BUT I can deal with it and I pray all the time in everything I do.When I am running a bath,washing up,cooking,driving my car,shopping,even watching TV!
Do you have a priest you can talk to?Even on the telephone?If not contact Fr Vincent Serpa here at CAF.He is so approachable,friendly and knowledgeable.My love for you my friend
God bless


#10

Depression and anxiety affects prayer. Be sure that in addition to what all these people are saying, you check that out too. In Dark Nights God seems absent but the experience does not incapacitate your ability to function in the world. God does not leave us to suffer alone, ever. We are a community people. God is in people. There are people to help; not just here but where you live. Seek someone out.
Blessings.


#11

[quote="PhilotheaZ, post:2, topic:177414"]
Prayer is very important, and you should continue with that. But it is also possible that there is a medical reason (clinical depression, an underlying illness, etc.) for what you are experiencing.

You should attack your problem from both perspectives — spiritual and medical. You don't have to go through it alone.

If you have not already done so, see your doctor, get a good checkup, and tell him what you have been experiencing. If you have been to your doctor, followed his advice, and not seen any improvement, it is probably time for a follow-up visit.

And talk to a good priest about the spiritual darkness.

[/quote]

I am grateful that you chose to reach out to others. This is a safe place to share the feelings of despair that you are experiencing. I pray that you have already taken the advise contained in this response to your entry. Seek professional help. Also reach out to someone or to several others that you trust. The pain you are experiencing is real in your mind, but not necessarily real outside of your mind. For example, you registered as NothingGirl. That is absolutely not true! You are and will always be a child of God. You are only lost now and I pray that you will get the help you need. "A friend is someone who will sing to you when you have forgotten the words to your favorite song". God Bless


#12

This type of fallacious reasoning is very common. In response to this, I ask: How do you know that God has abandoned you and leaves us on our own? Is God always supposed to give us answers? Are they supposed to be the ones we want? How much is God supposed to act in our lives? How do we know that?

While I ask many probing questions, I intend to illustrate a point: There are many things that we don’t know about God. Some of them can be known through good reasoning, but others may not be knowable by human beings. In either case, it is best to reserve our beliefs about God’s nature until we have the reasoning to back them up.

I have this strange habit of recommending apologetics books to people, and you’re no exception! A good starter might be Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft.

Hope these questions give you some food for thought!

  • KrazyKaiju

#13

See Nothing Girl, God is speaking to you through His people! All of these kind souls have obeyed the will of God and reached out to you to give you hope. Please listen to Him… :yup:


#14

Hi, I know what you are saying here, but at the same time I think perhaps you should be looking for pity, because pity (mercy) is actually the best gift God gives us.

Remember the blind man who called out to Jesus and was healed of his blindness? He called out, “son of David, have pity on me!”

Perhaps you think by your prayers and your efforts to stay close to God, you are going to be healed. But in fact, only God’s pity is necessary. If God gives you one glance of pity, you will be instantly healed.

If you are looking for God’s pity and mercy, you will find it very quickly. You will get better very quickly.

In fact, you wouldn’t be wanting anything else once you have experienced God’s pity. His pity is enough, always.


#15

Amen
I hope you are praying Nothing Girl.God is listening and alway there for YOU and all of us.God bless


#16

Hi my friend

I can understand and identify with how what you are feeling - as while the feeling is different for each person who experiences it there are many similiarities.

Sometimes just knowing that others understand can make you feel less alone.

Something I have found helpful when I have felt like this, and which it could be worth you trying, is to say to yourself what you would say to a friend to was going through the same situation.

Why do I suggest suggest this? Because sometimes:

we are more understanding/less judgemental of others than ourselves
find it easier to suggest tactics to someone else than ourselves eg to talk to a priest, counsellor
are more open to an idea if it is suggested as a possibility not as somethnig you should do.

Also you are not “nothing girl” - if you were you would not have the courage and the energy to have posted on this forum.

Best wishes

Salonika


#17

Thank you for all the advice.

I'm sorry I've been slow in responding. I get horrible migraines that leave me sick, sometimes for days. I've been having a bad few days. I've been dealing with a lot of sickness, mine and my mother's--she has some tough medical conditions, plus the flu, recently.

I've been really tires of late, but I'm still trying to figure things out, trying to figure out if it's me or God--if I should do more, or maybe ask for less. I don't know. I know I'm depressed and that's probably having a huge effect on things. I often (especially of late) feel really surreal and out of touch. Something strange and dangerous can be going on--I work a lousy cashier job but we sometimes have bad situations that you need to stay alert to--and I will feel totally dead and removed from things. I know I should probably see a doctor, but my mom's doctor is a pill-pusher and medication of all kinds make me really sick, so I've been trying to work things out spiritually, mostly. That's why I've often turned to God for help. There isn't much "here" that does me much good.

Basically, all my plans and ambitions have crashed. I could handle that. But then, about six months ago, I crashed emotionally and I haven't been able to pick myself up. I feel like everything is useless and hopeless. I don't want it to be, but it just feels that way. All the tiredness and anxiety I've been dealing with has stalled out the business I wanted to run. I can't make the money I want to make to help my mom out so she can retire. I can't turn to my family because I only have one brother and he's become very bitter and resentful towards me but won't tell me why. I've tried reaching out to him but he pushes me away. I have difficulty connecting with my friends and coworkers, plus I'm ashamed to try and explain how horrible I feel. My friends might understand but they're all dealing with crises of their own, with the economy and jobs being bad, and I can't bother them. My coworkers at my job are terrible, most are gossips and don't care about anything unless they can make fun of it--they make fun of everyone. I feel so alone, and I keep praying that God will give me some guidance, just a little. I don't want some big blaring answer, just a feeling of being guided just a little bit. But I just feel alone.

Thank you for all the caring responses. :o


#18

[quote="NothingGirl, post:17, topic:177414"]
Thank you for all the advice.

I'm sorry I've been slow in responding. I get horrible migraines that leave me sick, sometimes for days. I've been having a bad few days. I've been dealing with a lot of sickness, mine and my mother's--she has some tough medical conditions, plus the flu, recently.

I've been really tires of late, but I'm still trying to figure things out, trying to figure out if it's me or God--if I should do more, or maybe ask for less. I don't know. I know I'm depressed and that's probably having a huge effect on things. I often (especially of late) feel really surreal and out of touch. Something strange and dangerous can be going on--I work a lousy cashier job but we sometimes have bad situations that you need to stay alert to--and I will feel totally dead and removed from things. I know I should probably see a doctor, but my mom's doctor is a pill-pusher and medication of all kinds make me really sick, so I've been trying to work things out spiritually, mostly. That's why I've often turned to God for help. There isn't much "here" that does me much good.

Basically, all my plans and ambitions have crashed. I could handle that. But then, about six months ago, I crashed emotionally and I haven't been able to pick myself up. I feel like everything is useless and hopeless. I don't want it to be, but it just feels that way. All the tiredness and anxiety I've been dealing with has stalled out the business I wanted to run. I can't make the money I want to make to help my mom out so she can retire. I can't turn to my family because I only have one brother and he's become very bitter and resentful towards me but won't tell me why. I've tried reaching out to him but he pushes me away. I have difficulty connecting with my friends and coworkers, plus I'm ashamed to try and explain how horrible I feel. My friends might understand but they're all dealing with crises of their own, with the economy and jobs being bad, and I can't bother them. My coworkers at my job are terrible, most are gossips and don't care about anything unless they can make fun of it--they make fun of everyone. I feel so alone, and I keep praying that God will give me some guidance, just a little. I don't want some big blaring answer, just a feeling of being guided just a little bit. But I just feel alone.

Thank you for all the caring responses. :o

[/quote]

You sound seriously depressed. Please seek some counseling and in addition, you might need medicinal support for a while. Please help yourself. God is there and loves you. Love yourself. :signofcross:


#19

Certianly continue praying, if you’re Catholic (I’m guessing?) I would suggest going to weekly confession if your parish offers it. I would also talk to your priest for guidence. For my part, I’m going to do this most helpful thing I can for you. I’m going to pray for you. God bless, may he lead you through your dark times.


#20

This is extremely important advice.

I often (especially of late) feel really surreal and out of touch. Something strange and dangerous can be going on–I work a lousy cashier job but we sometimes have bad situations that you need to stay alert to–and I will feel totally dead and removed from things.

The symptoms you have described above are serious enough to place yourself and others in danger. You have prayed and prayed. Sometimes God wants to heal through medical professionals. Please give Him the opportunity to do that.

Betsy


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.