What if I’ve lost my faith?
Ask a Pastor
“What do you do when you think you’ve lost your faith?” – Omar, Life Center, Wash.
Kelly: It is a gift to me as a pastor to know that when we think that we have lost our faith the church community is there to carry us. God cares more about us than what we believe, and God is not going to leave anyone because they may have lost their faith.
In my lifetime there were times when my faith was weak, and I have experienced grief that felt too deep for me to carry. Somehow God always provided someone to bring hope and life.
It is important that I know that God does not need my faith, I do. God is gracious and accepting. I also believe that God is aware of those times when I am weak and when I may not believe, and it is for this very reason that Jesus comes into the world and gives us the Holy Spirit to comfort and stand by our side.
We live in a nation where there is a lot on television and popular mythology about being strong and heroic. Sometimes with faith it is enough to simply “be” and allow others to be for and with us. Sometimes it is enough to have the community carry our faith for us. What do you do when you think you’ve lost your faith? Know that you are not alone.
Anne: First of all, if this is something you’re personally struggling with right now, know that my thoughts and prayers are with you as you do. I also want to affirm that asking this question and engaging other people of faith in conversation is one of the healthiest ways to respond when you feel like you’ve lost your faith. It’s tempting to isolate ourselves when we feel this way, but being open and honest and saying, “I feel like I’ve lost my faith. Has this ever happened to you? What did you do?” is a powerful way to connect with the body of Christ and re-connect with God and faith.
I take a lot of comfort in Martin Luther’s Small Catechism explanation of the third article of the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him.” Basically, none of us would have faith or believe in God if we had to do it on our own. When my faith feels shaky, I pray for the gift of faith and look for that gift to come in unexpected ways. I talk to people I trust about how I’m feeling and the questions I’m wrestling with. As long as I continue to engage in my faith, even if it’s just to yell at God, I feel like I’m keeping my mind and heart open to being renewed in faith.
Rosanne: It would be wonderful if we could assume that living a life of faith would always be positive. But the truth is that the life of faith includes both faith and doubt. It is in the moments of doubt that we feel as if we have lost our faith. Sometimes it is important to stop for a season doing the things you have always done with regard to church activities or your faith practices in order to give yourself time to reflect and think anew about faith and living. Sometimes it is important to start something new in your faith practices as you reflect on faith and living. Sometimes it is important to just keep on doing what you have always done, even if it feels strange, as you reflect on faith and living. Sometimes it is important to know that the community of faith holds you in prayer even as you may not be able to pray for yourself.
In doing whatever feels most appropriate for you, I hope that you have someone – a pastor, mentor, spiritual director or teacher – with whom you can trust to share your doubts, fears and concerns as you struggle with your own life of faith. This journey with and into doubt needs a companion.
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