Joyless Faith

I’m so burnt-out that nothing gives me joy except news of first baptisms and confirmations which, while they do make me genuinely happy, all else is just pushing againt the burnout and forcing myself to have joy. Now don’t get me wrong, my primary joy and hope is in the Lord, but everything else is just stress. I can kill my faith with more prayer and be turned off completely or I can take a breather which is something I’m too afraid to do. I’m starting to sympathize with Martin Luther when he insane.
I can pray more and help other people, but 90% of my life is not happy, happy, joy, joy.

Anybody else feel like this?

Almost sixty years ago my father told me to pay attention to the here-for and the here-after would take care of itself.

God is Love. He wasn’t afraid to make you, even though He knew everything you would do and fail to do well in advance. So you are here for something. Find it and get about the business of doing it. Do it with enthusiasm and without fear.

Do it out of love for God and others. Do it without fear. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear brings punishment. And he who fears is not perfected in love. Let us therefore love because God first loved us.” (1 John 4: 18 & 19)

This is not a panacea. You might have to deal with this tendency throughout your life or maybe you will just out-grow it. I’ll tell you this: the more you busy yourself with the here-for, the more likely the here-after will take care of itself.

Be Well

That’s what I struggle with. The whole battlefield wars before me, and I am stuck deciding what to do. One false direction and I am gone. Timidity is rewarded with an eternal bonfire with me as the suckling pig. If I get it wrong when I die, the devil will cackle as is his wont. Alas, if get it right (and if I DO get it right) then much joy will be had in service to the Lord.

Op overthinking.

That is not what the poster after you means.

Joy in the smallest things is always there. Small things that are great . a flower, a smile from someone, a tasty treat…

These seemingly small joys ARE JOY.

They are part of our humanity, given for our joy and refreshment

Jesus speaks of us as needing to become as little children.

Go back to the Sermon on the Mount and listen to Him… Please!

I have and I bolded the part in your post where you said you’re afraid to take a break.

Take a break and just breathe in the wonder of creation, look around you and see God’s good things without putting pressure on yourself to pray. You need to take care of yourself as well especially if you struggle with scruples.

God did not prescribe a set number of hours praying to get into heaven. He needs you in his kingdom and sometime that is by being still and hearing him in that mode.

Read Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God.

Maybe give yourself a break and be still…

God Bless.


What do you do for others?
There is where you find joy.
It’s in seeing first-hand, up close, what God can do through you.
We’re upon the season of Advent. It’s cold and people are hungry. Children need tutors, the poor need blankets, and the homeless need someone to talk to at the shelter, prisoners are lonely, the homebound need someone to take Eucharist to them and listen to their life stories.
Be the hands and feet of Christ and experience true joy while you pray for these people.
Make your life a prayer.
That’s to be close to Christ and to be like Him.
God bless.

It’s ok to take a break from your personal devotions if they’re making you feel overwhelmed. The only prayers I would not recommend taking a break from are your morning offering, the rosary, and night prayers… all just a mere 20 minutes or so.

When’s the last time you had a vacation? Sometimes a week or 2 away from our normal everyday life can be just the thing to give you a fresh start.

But also, when you are feeling burnt out or overwhelmed, don’t forget to ask God for help, to give you strength to bear it if it’s His wish that you are going through this right now, or if it’s not His will for you, to help you overcome it.

Not sure what else to say, but I hope this helps, and I’ll keep you in my prayers.

I don’t ever advise people to stop praying.
Pray unceasingly.
It’s the “I’ve got to do this devotion or else God will be mad at me” attitude that has to stop. ’
We pray out of love.
Don’t stop loving.
Prayer is also a conversation. When we have an issue with someone in our lives, we don’t cut off communication. That is precisely the time when we talk, and LISTEN.
Devotions are optional. Prayer is not.
Best wishes.

I’ve felt this way. I lost my joy last winter and through this long and hard year still haven’t gotten it back, though I’ve been investing quite a lot of time in Mass and Adoration – sometimes so much that I wind up bawling on the couch in the evening, completely overwhelmed. Maybe devotion isn’t “supposed to be” so draining, but for me it is, so I’ve learned to deal with it.

I do take breaks. Not a complete break from prayer, but I cut back on the formal prayer, leave out the Adoration, maybe don’t go to Mass for a few days, and focus more on prayers of aspiration and spiritual reading. At this season of my life, I find Francis de Sales soothing and inspiring; I used to particularly like Therese of Lisieux. I work on remembering that God is my Father and Savior and Counselor, that I am his beloved, and that He is for me and not against me. I read or chant Psalm 139. I just go gently for a few days. When I feel stronger and more balanced, I ease back into my usual routine.

Please be gentle with yourself. One of the fantastic things about Catholicism is that there are many ways to adore God, so when we get burnt out, we don’t have to give up.

Thank you … so needed to hear that.

Sorry if I worded this the wrong way, I read it again and realized I should have clarified more, I did not mean to imply giving up all prayers or even to spend a long time away from them, I just meant to say that if you are doing alot of devotions and it’s overwhelming, just cut back alittle, aside from the ones I listed, because I have known others who would take on way to many devotions, to the point of interfering even with their responsibilities, and in that case it can be a bit too much…

Awesome advice.

God gave you life. God gave you talents. God put you here for some purpose. Try to discern what it is. Apparently it is not just praying and looking after yourself. Try looking to others. They too are suffering, and they need you. Be that light that shines in the darkness of the world today. Show God’s mercy and love to others. Glorify God by your life. Read Clare’s post again for a few specific suggestions.

Not sure what “take a breather” means.

If you mean you have loaded yourself up with all sorts of devotions that you do…etc that are something one may freely take up or put down…your free to “take a breather” - continue to pray of course etc -but you may have rather overdone somethings…often people in their zeal may.

Discuss with your confessor…

Remember - Christian Joy does not per se always involve emotions…it goes deeper.

"“Gaudete in Domino semper”, St Paul wrote: “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:4). True joy is not a fruit of “divertirsi” [having a good time] understood in the etymological sense of the word di-vertere (di-version), that is, shirking the commitments of life and one’s responsibilities.

True joy is linked to something deeper. Of course, in the all too often frenetic pace of daily life it is important to find time for rest and relaxation, but true joy is linked to our relationship with God. Those who have encountered Christ in their own lives feel a serenity and joy in their hearts that no one and no situation can take from them. St Augustine understood this very well; in his quest for truth, peace and joy, after seeking them in vain in many things he concluded with his famous words: “and our heart is restless until it rests in God” (cf. Confessions, I, 1, 1).

True joy is not merely a passing state of mind or something that can be achieved with the person’s own effort; rather it is a gift, born from the encounter with the living Person of Jesus and, making room within ourselves, from welcoming the Holy Spirit who guides our lives. It is the invitation of the Apostle Paul who says: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:23)."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

“Christian joy thus springs from this certainty: God is close, he is with me, he is with us, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, as a friend and faithful spouse. And this joy endures, even in trials, in suffering itself. It does not remain only on the surface; it dwells in the depths of the person who entrusts himself to God and trusts in him.”

~ Pope Benedict XVI

“I realize of course that joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty. Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved.”

~ Pope Francis (The Joy of the Gospel)

Well stated. :thumbsup:

Yes, well said.

I accept the fact that I may have overdone ‘Moral Theology’ much to the detriment of ‘Good Works’ wherein the thought process is not “this seems like a good thing to do because it helps that person”, but instead it’s “If I don’t do it, I’m going to cook in the eternal deep-fryer for all eternity”.
This negative thinking may have started when I took my non-religious faith seriously due to Protestant Doomsday Prophecies. Then I discovered that marrying outside the Church is a sin. Then I found out what Co-Operation with evil means, hence my panic over my Sisters’ Non-Catholic wedding. Then I found out you can commit Sacrilege via an incomplete Confession. Then as is follows: visits to Sedevacantist websites, Looking up saints quotes on Hell, Hardball Catholic/Saint Teachings, Saint writings on the Practice of Faith (and they were advanced compared to me), and the fact I was never serious about my faith before the age of 24 means my practice of the faith is marred by liberalism and either/or, all or nothing, this or that, if it isn’t guaranteed, I remain dubious kind of thinking

A little over 2 years and I’m left sitting wondering “where did my faith go wrong? I started out with good intentions and high hopes, and I’m left with next to bupkis”

Get a spiritual director now.
You have too many misconceptions to address online.
This is your “come to Jesus” moment.
Get some solid catechesis because yes, it’s getting worse. Remarks like your one about a deep fryer (why would you even say that/) and that you think you have received nothing shows a serious problem. See a priest about all this immediately.
It’s too important to be posting endless threads about it and not take the advice and goodwill offered.
you don’t appear to realize it, but many are praying for you.

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