a break from God

Am I the only one who has ever been burnt out on God? I know it sounds bad and may be hard to admit, but I can tell you that there is freedom in the honesty of it.

One of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:13, which says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” It’s beautiful and encouraging, sure, but my misinterpretation of it led to months of exhaustion and ultimately taking a break from God. 

Long story short, my Christian walk was never sunshine and roses. It’s been hard since the beginning, but a few months ago I came to a place where I had nothing but God. People around me were telling me that this was my chance to get close to him and to grow into a deeper relationship with him. 

I started to spend more time reading my Bible than ever before. I listened to more worship music and journaled and sat in his presence more than ever before. I was seeking Him with all of my heart, but as time went on I realized that I didn’t feel better. I didn’t feel rested. I felt the opposite. I tried to bury that thought far away because it just didn’t make sense. I was doing everything I could to seek God, and I was actually hearing from him. But I still had that gut feeling that it should be easier. I felt like I was making all the effort. I was striving and it was exhausting. 

I got to a point where I thought things were turning around (and could see God’s hand in it), only to be put back down to where I was before. This time, knowing I was back to having only God and nothing more, I knew I couldn’t do it again. There was distrust and confusion, but more so the thought of “pressing into God” like I’d been doing for months made me want to run. So, I did. I decided to take a break from God. 

That was about 2 months ago. I stopped everything that had to do with God. No more reading, worshipping, praying, going to church. Nothing. I needed a break from it all. And it has been the hardest thing in the world to come back from. There is so much more disconnect now, shame and guilt from even deciding to take a break, loss of identity and community, and a very real part of me that just doesn’t want to get back into it at all. I’m writing this from the (very small) piece of me that actually believes God’s promises about me and for me.

This brings back the verse Jeremiah 29:13, “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.”  All that time, I thought that’s exactly what I was doing. I was wearing myself out seeking God allll the time, pressing in and going hard. But now I can see that I wasn’t seeking with all my heart as much as I was striving with all my might. Seeking God with all of my heart means removing anything else that has a hold on my heart and making him the king. But even before I can do that, I have to let him into all of my heart (including the pieces I don’t even let myself see). And to do this in a way that brings rest instead of exhaustion, I have to accept his gift of grace. He gives me grace for my shortcomings, for my laziness, for my selfishness and everything in between.  I used to always say that I didn’t want to take advantage of his grace, but that really just put me in a place to not accept it at all. 

Seeking God with all my heart will begin to look different than I’ve thought. Personally, my first step will be to gain some trust in him before I can really give him parts of me. But it won’t come through checking boxes off a list- did I read today? Did I pray? Did I listen to a worship song? No, forcing yourself to talk to someone you have a relationship brings nothing but eventual resentment towards them. It will instead come through an honest acceptance of myself and where I am right now. And in accepting where I am, I can begin to have real quality time talking with God about that. There’s where the freedom is, that’s where the breakthrough is, that’s where God is. 

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