Indifference towards God -- advice needed

It’s been a while since I posted on here… I’m 16 years old, going through a bunch of junky (possibly abusive) stuff with my parents, and pretty much losing faith in God. I feel very little emotion over anything anymore, unless it’s anger, which I feel very powerfully. I’m never really truly happy or excited – kind of losing interest in life in general. I’m just numb. For a while I pretty much stopped praying; I was mad at God and tired of trying to find Him in the mess of my life. Now, I pray at night and in the morning, but I don’t say much and usually my mind wanders. I know I’m not trying hard enough, but I don’t care about God at all anymore. I don’t feel Him, and don’t really want to be close to Him anymore either. Nothing about my faith seems sincere, and if someone were to ask me if I loved God, my honest answer would have to be that I don’t know. This is a big difference from who I was just a year or two ago. My goals for the future – my desire to serve God in everything – have completely disappeared. My general good will is pretty much gone, I masturbate (which I am terribly ashamed of), and I’m bitter and angry a lot, plus I constantly put myself down. I hate who I’m becoming, but I don’t know what to do to turn things around. I feel like I’m floating – I don’t have anything to hold on to, and I’m kind of scared I’m going to turn away from God altogether. The weird thing is I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Can these sorts of feelings just happen?

I guess my question to you all is what can I do to keep going? Does God forgive us, if we don’t forgive others? And how can I reignite some small desire for God?

I’m meeting with a priest this Sunday. It’s my second meeting with him, though the first one was mostly about my family issues. I feel terribly guilty about going to him, for starters, but I’m also not sure what to say about faith stuff. How can he help me with it? I have like no clue what I’m doing. And I haven’t been to confession since First Communion (something else I’m ashamed of, though it’s not exactly my fault – my parents don’t put much stock in it). Should I mention that to him? I don’t want him to think I’m stupid or a jerk or something… that’s the last thing my low self-esteem needs.

Any advice about any of this would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

~Lefty

Lefty, whatado? I hope you don’t mind if some of my hip hop lingo slips in but that’s the easiest and most honest way for me to communicate right now.

Anyway.

16 was a tough year for me too. My best friend tried to kill herself… same year she quit going to church and believing in God. So, in hindsight I see that people your age go through some trying times. The good news is that you are seeking advice from a priest. I think that’s a good thing. And no, he won’t laugh at you or think you’re asking dumb questions. At least, he shouldn’t.

Keep praying. Don’t trip if there are no feelings. Religion isn’t about feeling good. Did Jesus feel good on the Cross? Check yes or no. I’m guessing, no. God is close to you; others would have you believe differently.

You a Catholic? You can ask Mother Mary for help, too. She loves nothing better than to bring people to her Son.

As for forgiveness… yes, it wouldn’t hurt you to get your reconciliation on. Matter of fact, that’s just what you need. No guilt-trips for not having been since God made Adam. I got friends who haven’t been for much longer. And they get irritable when I invite them nicely and kindly to maybe go to confession. Trust, if you like some feeling in your religion, that is the time you will get it! Whenever I make a good confession, I literally feel better. Then I’m free, thanks be to God, to go and try to serve God better.

Let me know how it goes. God bless.

*Dear Lefty,
First let me give you a big spiritual hug!:hug1:
next i will second what Bouncingball said and share my own thoughts…
Always remember God loves you whether you feel Him or not. I believe that sometimes when we do not feel Him it is His way of getting us to refocus on Him.

When I asked someone on the internet for some advise on some things they told me to go talk to a priest. It was the best advise I ever got…
I also did not know how to open up about these things to my priest, I was afraid of many things, so I printed up what I said and took it with me so that I could just hand it to him so that he could read it if I did not open up to him.

I would try to be as open with him as you can be, just like your post is, do not worry about looking like a jerk or stupid or anything like that…they are there to help you and I believe that the more open you are with them the more they can understand what you are going through and hopefully the better they will be able to help you…
If you are unsure as to how open you should be just ask him for some pointers…let him know you want to open up to him but have reservations about it and tell him what those reservations are.

With all the things I have had to talk to a priest about they never made me feel like I was stupid or a jerk…

I hope and pray this helps some. I am sorry I can not offer you better advise other than talking to your priest, I just do not feel qualified. But I will say a few prayers for you that you are able to open up to him…that is what he is there for and I do believe he is more qualified than I am to help you through this…and I agree with Bouncing Ball ask Jesus’ Mother Mary for help…I am sure she will be there for you…

Keep the faith and know that God loves you,

Simple soul
*

Lefty,

Long time no see. Welcome back :slight_smile:

16 was tough for me (I’m not much older than that now actually). I went through a period of emptiness as well. In fact, I was almost went over to the Protestants and atheism! :eek: I thankfully never bought into either and so I am a happy Catholic :slight_smile:

Anyway, it sounds like you are experiencing a dark night of the soul. It’s basically when God retracts emotions from you to see if you are still faithful to Him. A test, if you will. It happens to just about everyone, even the best of them.

What I would say to you is not to give up just because you can’t feel God. Just because you can’t feel Him doesn’t mean He isn’t there and worthy of attention. You can’t feel the air (except in a breeze :p), but you know it’s there and it is most certainly worthy of attention- without it you would die! The same goes for God- you may not experience Him, but He’s there and is worthy of attention.

I know this advice sounds hard to follow and listen to. Trust me, I was given similar advice and practically threw it out the window. And this didn’t happen too long ago either. :frowning:

I suggest that you keep praying, with heart, every day. Throw in a Rosary if you get the time. Keep going to Mass and Confession, even if you’re shaky. Read Bible verses. My favorite stuff in the Bible is the Gospel of John. I love his style. Find your favorite thing parts in the Bible and read them. It helped me and I know it will help you.

I can’t stress enough how important perseverance is. Do not give up. If you do, you will most certainly regret it. Fight the good fight. God will come through in the end; He did for me and I’m happy now :slight_smile:

Keep up the hard work!! :smiley: :thumbsup:

I’m with all the previous posters.

Speaking with the priest at our church was a wonderful saving grace for me. I NEEDED to speak with him. I NEEDED the sacrament of reconciliation. I also had not been since the first one I’d made way back in grade school. So 22 years or so. I’m sure it’s been much shorter for you.

I wouldn’t worry speaking with the priest. I flat out broke down. A big old blubbering fool over EVERYTHING. Absolution was given … I was given my penance and told not to get too caught up things, to do what I can. To remember Gods mercy and love for us.

:console:

You’re in my thoughts.

“God you have made us for yourself - our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you”

Hello Lefty,

You clearly do still have some sort of attachment to God and to His will, since you do not like who you are becoming and wish to change it. Do not be afraid to act on this. Always remember to pray to God to help you. You may find it hard because of all that has happened, yet God is more pleased with those who pray in times of pain and doubt than those who pray when things are going fine. The first is far harder and shows more dedication than the other. Frequent prayer will strengthen you like you wouldn’t believe. Trust me, I was in a similar place to you some time ago when I was a year older than you (I’m eighteen now).

Also, get to confession. You say you haven’t been since first communion. Don’t be afraid to mention it to the priest. In fact, if you can, try to make your confession to him if you can. Priests are trained not to judge. He won’t yell at you for it. In fact, the thing that will make him happiest is if you ask to confess. There are few things more happy for a priest than someone trying to return to God after a long time away. The priest will not judge you or insult you for it. Have courage and come to him with this.

Ultimately, I think your desire to please God is more present than you perhaps realize. As I mentioned, you clearly feel dissatisfaction with how you are acting, and your request for help here shows that. If you felt no desire, you would not have cared enough to post here, or to try to go see a priest. Lefty, you may have work to do, but you’re way better off than you think you are. As I told you, pray more often, and commit yourself more strongly to serving God. You may not necessarily immediately “feel” inspired, but as I mentioned, it’s the ones who persevere even when they don’t necessarily feel fully able to that make God the happiest. Not even the most devout feel constantly inspired. In fact, many holy people have gone through times of great spiritual struggle. Mother Theresa had to deal with spiritual darkness for over forty years. I myself have to deal with it, and I’m studying to become a priest. It’s a natural part of faith that we all must endure through, for we come out stronger in the end if we do.

So commit yourself to prayer and doing God’s will. It may not happen immediately, but God will eventually comfort you. Wait patiently for him to give it to you, because demanding for it impatiently will not help. You will have struggles with sin, as we all do, but God will help you.

I will keep you in my prayers. :gopray2:

Hi Lefty. :wink:

I really relate to your post. My dad is an alcoholic and it leaves me depressed most of the time. I want to feel good and when I start to feel good I remember my parents and their problems and I immediately feel terrible again…

What I hear in your post that is good is that you are trying…you are reaching out to God by meeting with the priest. I think you should pray the Stations of the Cross. No one knows pain like the Savior. When I make the Stations, I feel better, in that I am not alone. It is still hard because I wonder why my parents suffer, and I wonder why life is so hard…but I also realize if I am being honest–if my parents wanted to be happier, they could make some effort. I mean, we make the effort for ourselves and we hurt too.

I have to find it within myself to let my parents be responsible for their own happiness and myself responsible for my own. Maybe just make an act of faith that God loves you and that He cares about you. You may not feel it totally, but God will appreciate the effort you make in trying to have faith.

I hope this helps. Keep the faith. :thumbsup:

Thank you all for your encouraging replies. I decided to write something up and take it to the priest to have him read before we get talking; that way I won’t be able to not tell him things I need to tell him and I’ll have to open up. Do you think that’s okay to do? It got kind of long… like 2 pages. :o I need to tell him about a lot of what’s going on in my family for him to understand everything. I’m so nervous – no clue what I’ve gotten myself into.

I will keep praying. It’s encouraging to know that it has to end sometime. I’m so glad things have worked out for you, coolduude. :slight_smile:

Thanks for your help!

~Lefty

*Wow, two pages worth, I wish I had my scattered thoughts all together like that when I met my priest the first time.
I only had a paragraph or two when I met with him.
Needles to say it has been an ongoing process since then to get it all out and I believe I am still trying to get some of it out.
So yes, I do believe it is ok and I believe you are off to a better start than I was when I first started to talk about all my problems and concerns.

My prayers are with you, keep the faith and please keep me in your prayers as well…

I was 16 once. A long time ago, but the confusion and pain of that age is something I still remember. Compounded by the abuse you alluded to would make it even worse.

I think speaking to your priest is exactly the right thing to do.

I will pray fervently for your intentions! :hug1:

I am 16 and sometimes can relate (partially) to your problems.

What I have started to do (Which has helped ALOT) is pray the Rosary, each day. Yes, it may seem more a chore than a prayer; but praying it with say Gregorian Chant, or some pictures of Jesus on the Cross can really help.

My 2 Cents,

PiousTemplar

Well, I had the meeting yesterday and I guess it went well. The priest was good about being objective and he really helped me look at things a little differently. Best of all, he asked if I wanted to go to Confession, so I told him I did, but I hadn’t been since the first time, and he was great about it – said that was fine and he’d help me do it, and he walked me through the whole thing, sitting there in the rectory. I wasn’t exactly prepared for it… I think I kind of failed at it… but hey, I tried at least, and I’ve really been trying more with God since then, even if I’ve realized the big adversary here is depression.

Thank you all for your help and kind words! They are very, very much appreciated. God bless.

~Lefty

Trust me, you did not fail. God appreciates your commitment, perseverance, and sincerity. He appreciates the effort. You did not fail.

Your priest sounds like a good one. Go to him if you have questions or are seeking encouragement. Come here too, to CAF, where you’ll always find prayers and a helping hand :slight_smile:

When praying, imagine God just looking at you. Looking at you with love, looking at you with the love of a Father. God loves you.

Ask Mary, your mother, for help. She wants to help you and loves you.

Ask Mary and Jesus to come into the hearts of your parents. Whenever I get angry at someone, praying for that person, as hard as it may be, is the only thing that helps me, oddly enough.

God bless you.

Do you have a youth group at your church you can join? You don’t have to talk about what you’re going through but it’s nice to be surrounded by like-minded people of your age!

Thanks, Coolduude – do you ever feel embarrassed about Confession? I feel like I did it “wrong” or weird or something. I don’t know, my voice was weird – almost childish sounding. I know, it sounds stupid…

Yeah, there’s a youth group at my church. I can’t do it during the school year because of a scheduling conflict, but I plan to join this summer.

When I first started going again I felt embarrassed about it. To an extent I still do because my parents aren’t terribly religious, so I feel I would be alienated from them if they knew that I really like to go.
Anyway, I did feel embarrassed at first because I felt like a nerd sometimes or (excuse the language) a prude: here I am, 16 years old, and going to Confession almost weekly while my classmates are out partying instead. In the end I reasoned that eternal happiness and the state of my soul far outweigh weekend parties. For the body- pleasures and all- are but temporary; they go away when our time on earth is finished. The soul is forever. The decisions we make now could possibly affect us for all eternity.

My old theology teacher used to say that the time to ask for forgiveness is now- the second we die we are judged. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

Keep going to Confession and the Mass. Then you can say what St. Paul said:

[quote= 2 Timothy 4:7-8]I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
[/quote]

Yeah, I’m in the same situation with my parents; really I can only go when they don’t know about it, which makes things a little difficult.

Your post made me feel so much better, though. Thank you so much! I really am craving going to Confession again… there are things I missed by accident. I don’t think I’m going to have the opportunity again until March, though.

Thanks again, coolduude – I appreciate it. :slight_smile:

As far as I know, any sins that were forgotten in Confession are forgiven. It is suggested, however, that you bring them up anyway so you can receive advice on them from your confessor.

On another note, March is quite a bit away. Be extremely careful about what you watch, read, and especially about what you think. One little mortal sin will disqualify you from receiving the Eucharist, which you really need right now. Be careful in what you do and say Acts of Contrition regularly. I also suggest praying the Rosary as much as you can. The Blessed Mother will certainly look after you :slight_smile:
If you feel tempted, say the prayer to St. Michael as much as you need to until the temptation goes away. Here’s the prayer:

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

You’re welcome! :thumbsup:

Hey, that’s one question I have – like how exactly does it work, talking to the priest about your sins? It was kind of different for me this time because we were already talking about a lot of stuff before the actual confession, since that wasn’t really the point of the meeting originally. So can you just ask about things afterwards? Sorry if it’s a stupid question – I’m really new to this.

One other question – are “bad” thoughts related to God considered mortal sins? Actually, I’ve been doing better in some ways since going to Confession; today I resisted a temptation I haven’t been able to resist in months. But I’m curious about that…

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