The Real Truth About God
Dear Selfless Esteem,
I want to have a relationship with God, but I don’t know if God exists. And even if He does exist, I don’t know if He has given up on me because of all the mistakes I’ve made in my life. What do you think?
Dear Spiritually Confused,
Thanks for honestly expressing your thoughts and feelings. It’s better to be genuine than go through the motions of any religion out of obligation. (¬‿¬)
Let’s address each point of your letter:
—You want to have a relationship with God.
—You don’t know if God exists.
—You don’t know if God has given up on you because of the mistakes you’ve made.
When You Want to Have a Relationship with God
There’s a part of your heart that longs for a relationship with God. Possibly you were influenced by certain beliefs or a particular religion growing up. Or maybe this desire sprung up in your spirit without any prior experience with formal religion. Either way, talking with a trusted religious leader or chaplain about it can help you think it through. (If you’ve had a negative experience in the past related to religion, please read “Religious Trauma: The Devastating Effects and How To Heal.”)
Having a relationship with God involves obeying Him, trusting Him and praying to Him, including short, informal prayers throughout your day. (See the post, “How To Pray in 5 Simple Steps.”) Following God isn’t always easy, but He promises blessings to those, who do what is right (Proverbs 10:6). Watch Pastor Mario Ortiz’ sermon, “Walking in the Will of God?” for more information.
When You Don’t Know If God Exists
As I mentioned before, it’s good you’re honestly expressing your feelings. I encourage you to bring your emotions and questions to God. Jesus set an example by expressing all His feelings and tough questions to God. On the cross, He asked, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).
In the same way, you can ask God the most difficult questions. He can handle it. Request Him to give you some sort of sign that He exists. He knows each of us so well (Luke 12:7) that He can manifest Himself to you in a personal way.
When You Wonder If God Has Given Up on You
It sounds like you have some regrets in your life because of mistakes you’ve made. And so, you wonder if God has given up on you. Here’s the good news: God doesn’t reject repentant hearts like yours (Psalm 51:17). Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
This is hard to believe because sometimes we project the characteristics of our fathers or father figures onto God, such as the following traits: distant, punitive, critical, or untrustworthy. However, God is a perfect father, who loves us unconditionally. For more details about God’s love, see the post, “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem.” Furthermore, Compelling Truth‘s article, “Why would God leave the 99 to find 1?” explains Jesus’ parable regarding His pursuit for those, who have strayed from God, and His joy upon reconciliation.
I recommend finding a competent therapist to discuss your past regrets so that you can move forward, forgive yourself, and receive God’s forgiveness. The American Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors have provider directories. Also, check out “Why You Need To Get a Therapist ASAP.”
Regarding any feelings of guilt, you may be interested in the post, “Defeat Self-Criticism.” If thoughts of regret are keeping you up at night, see the post, “The Best Ways To Fall Back Asleep.” And if you’re feeling depressed and/or thinking about harming yourself, see the posts, “Want To Stop Feeling Depressed? Here’s How” and “How To Change Self Harming to Self Healing.”
I close with a song by Hawk Nelson, which describes the heart of God towards people, who are remorseful. As you listen, imagine God directly speaking to you. 💗
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This post was originally published on 1/8/23 and has been updated.
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