Relationship with God

I’ve always grown up going to church, have grown up in a religious household, have been encouraged to read the Bible, pray, go to Sunday school, etc., but I’ve never felt close to God. (if that makes sense)
People have always talked about how they “feel” when God is with them, they hear God speaking to them in a way, and have just felt his presence in one way or another, but I’ve never felt that, and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
Over the years, I’ve fallen away from Christianity because of the circumstances I was in and I just never felt special to God, or have never felt him working in me, so I just stopped praying and believing, but lately I’ve felt like I should try to get back into praying and all of that, but I just don’t know where to start.
One problem that I have is I don’t understand the Bible. I don’t really understand the stories, what its saying, what it means, and what we’re supposed to learn from it. I have always felt that no matter how much I study it, I’ll never get that feeling that other religious people do when they read the Bible. I don’t feel God touching me in any way, and I don’t know why. I’ve just felt like I’m reading a history book and none of it really means anything.
I really do want to get back into a relationship with God, I just don’t know how to. I feel like it would really help me, and would be good to get back into religion. I’ve wanted a relationship with God for some time now, but I just don’t know where to start, I feel like I’ll fail or not take it seriously. I’m trying to break habits of mine, push away bad things in my life, and these things help, I just don’t know what to do.
When I used to pray, I just felt like I was talking to myself. I didn’t feel like I was speaking to anyone or anyone was listening. I don’t know if its just because im not putting everything I feel and have into worship, I dont know if im just not focusing hard enough, I don’t know what the problem is
When I go to Lipscomb University (the college im going to), I have to take Bible classes, and go to chapel for credit, because it is a Christian college, and I feel like this will help my relationship with God and help build it, im just scared that it won’t affect me because I don’t know how to read the Bible or feel “inspired” or feel like God is working in me. I plan to do things to help my relationship with God, I just don’t know how it’s going to go, and if I’ll learn anything.

Hey Nicole_kaley,

I can definitely relate to what you are saying. I grew up in a Christian household but never really bought into it, for many of the same reasons you said, as well as some others. What your going through is so hard.

I left the church for a long time and it took a crazy awful experience to get back into believing in God. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you. After years of dealing with depression and anxiety, I tried to end my life this January (also, just a note that I am not condoning this method to figure things out). I failed as I was found my someone and rushed to the hospital. I was incredibly pissed that I was still around when I first woke up in the hospital. I felt like I was at my wits end. So I finally just said “God if you really, what the heck do I do now?” And I will say nothing drastic or crazy happened but day after day, as I would wake up I would start feeling more and more like I was glad I was still alive and that I actually still wanted to live. I didn’t know if this was God or just life. But my faith as definitely grown from there.

I don’t think it is about feeling or understanding everything from the start… it’s a process, it’s a relationship like any other. I think the first step is just to decide whether or not you believe in God or not and then go from there.
Praying is a weird thing for me to - especially when I don’t feel him moving or answering my prayers. I don’t think your issue is not focusing hard enough… but I still struggle many days in my prayer life, as well
The bible was my enemy for most of my life. When I first decided I did in fact believe in God, I started by reading books not the bible and for me that helped. Some of my favourite books from that time are The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey, Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke, Messy Spirituality by Michael Yaconelli, Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick, and Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. When I did want to get back into more straight biblical stuff I started with devotionals - my favourite is one called Jesus Calling. I really liked it because I grew up in a conservative church that was all about fact and rules and nothing personal where this devotional took the bible and made it very personal.
I have also learnt that for myself, I needed to find the right environment for me. My parents church was toxic and not helpful for me. But I have now found a church that wants to champion me in life and in my relationship with God. So maybe finding a better church community might also help.
Also, for me music has played a big part in every area of my life and so I have used music as well to try and help me grow. I heard once that “there is more than what you feel.” So on days where nothing seems to have changed, or that God isn’t there I put on some good music and just focus on what is truth even when I don’t feel it.

I am in now way an expert in this and this is my first time really sharing, so I hope it all came across the right way. I am still learning and trying to grow in this area myself, but if you ever want to talk more feel free to message me.

You are so loved!!!


1 Like

Sorry, I also meant to add in regards to the bible part - that I also find it overwhelming and don’t always understand it. What I have been learning though is that it’s really just a long winded story of God’s love for humans and how much he desires us and chases after us to have a relationship with us.

1 Like

Hey @nicole_kaley - Every religious person goes through what you’re going through at one time or another, especially if they’re brought up in a specific religion. Once they start to think for themselves, they start to question everything that they were brought up in. I believe this is actually a healthy season in life, as long as it’s handled carefully. Some people completely turn their back on their faith, and some people push for answers. I personally really enjoy biblical theology and apologetics; I love watching debates between creationists and evolutionists. One of my friends is studying biblical theology at Oxford, so I also get to ask him random questions that I’m wanting the answer to. If you’re into reading, I highly recommend checking out “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. Lipscomb has a nice campus - I’m sure you’ll love it!


All Christians have seasons where they go through a “dry spell,” where they feel like God isn’t speaking to them, or don’t feel His presence. I know you said you’ve never felt his presence or anything like that. That can be hard, especially when it looks like everyone around you has their relationship with God “all put together”. But, don’t give up.

I went an entire year where I started to question if I was really “saved” or if I really had given my life to the Lord. The cause of this, I discovered, was due to me basing my relationship with God on emotions and what I felt. I’ve been struggling with anhedonia (not being able to feel ANY emotion) for at least the past year and a half. This has impacted a lot of things. I realized that it also was affecting my relationship with God. Because I no longer can feel emotion any more, it would make sense that I felt like my relationship with God was crap. I would spend time with God, read my Bible, pray. Yet I, continually, would feel nothing. I wouldn’t hear God speak to me through the Word. In fact, I often left quiet times feeling even worse than before I had them, because I felt like I was doing something wrong, because I “didn’t get anything out of it”.

There came a time, last winter, where God totally took the whole past year of me questioning if I was even saved, and showed me what the real problem was. It was me basing my relationship with Him on emotions. And when I didn’t get anything out of my quiet times, I would blame myself. Like maybe I was doing something wrong. But, no.

God has used my anhedonia to totally transform my relationship with Him!

I was looking for a counselor, while living overseas, this past winter. I kept trying to find an online counselor, who I could afford. I kept coming up empty. I knew I needed help. But one night, after crying out to God, I finally came to the realization. “What if I don’t find a counselor. Is God enough?” And, in that moment, I realized that God could be enough. If I let him be. It was then, that I decided to chase hard after God. I sought Him in quiet times, not expecting any “happy” emotions or putting an expectation on hearing from him on my time with Him. But I sought Him from a place of just “being” with Him. I no longer put my own self prescribed structure on my quiet times. In the past, I’d feel like I had to pray for so long, then have to read the Bible until I absolutely “heard” God speak something profound to me, then pray for others. But, now, I wasn’t setting expectations.

(By the way, I eventually was connected with a pastor who counseled me, which greatly helped, and was a much needed answer to prayer!)

There are times where my brain may be fried from dealing with anxiety or stress, and I really don’t have the energy to pray even a tiny prayer, nor read a whole passage of scripture. In these times (which I’ve been in one of those times for awhile now), I will find one verse to read and meditate on. Some days, my brain is so fried, I barely can focus on that. But it is SOMETHING. Or other days, I’ll say a few sentence prayer to God, because that is all I can muster up. I’ve come to learn that God is so okay with that. It isn’t about how much you read or how long you pray. It’s about coming to God, broken, and saying, “God, here I am”. And soaking in that time with Him, being in His presence. No matter how much you read, pray, or feel His presence, God just wants YOU. Allow yourself to just “be” and don’t put expectations on your time with Him. I have found there is so much freedom in this.

I know I rambled on a lot. I just wanted to share my own experience. I hope in some way it helps. If you want to talk more, feel free to PM me.



Thank you for sharing and for your transparency and openness with your emotions and ultimately what is going on in your heart.

I completely understand what you are going through. I, myself, grew up in church from youth group to becoming a youth director for that same church. I became numb to a lot of the teachings and my relationship with God because it became redundant and disingenuous over time.

It wasn’t until I left my position from the church and the church in general and moved to another state on a whim for an experience as a single guy and to experience new surroundings did I discover more of who God was and is and even more so grew deeper in love with him. Case in point, sometimes in a situation like yours it can become redundant with growing up in church and going to a christian college. You hear the same things over and over again and nothing seems to stick.

When I moved to another state, I didn’t have anyone there, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have a place to live. Nothing. I was in the harsh reality of the real world and away from the comfort of my christian bubble both financially and spiritually. Things become real when you can’t afford food and the eviction notices show up on your door. Because of this I became an alcoholic. I had hit bottom. In that moment, I cried out to God because in this state of life I was in, all I truly had was God. It was only because of this God started to remind me to cry out to him and just simply start having conversations with him. Growing up, I always thought that I had to have the most tailored prayer than anyone else, but what I learned was to just talk to God like you are having a conversation and it transformed into consistency with him. That consistency turned into reading the Psalms. I am like you where sometimes the bible can be confusing and hard to read, but somehow reading the Psalms really related to me because these were real life people’s hearts who were just as flawed as I was which that just were trying to figure it out in the world with he same struggles and thoughts as I had. You can find bible reading plans for just the Psalms and that might be a good place to start.

Lastly, having a small solid group of friends you can trust to share these doubts and challenges with are key. I cannot stress this enough. I can count tons of times in which I never truly felt I can share my doubts and struggles for the fear of being judged, but when I found a couple friends that had the same doubts and struggles as me, I felt so encouraged. Encouraged to know that I was not alone with how I felt, comfort in knowing I wouldn’t be judged for questioning, and walking alongside each other was so freeing.

I hope this is encouraging hearing my story and I sincerely hope that you find your balance between all these things. Remember, we are here for you and are rooting for you!



You are special to God. I have a similar story to this. I posted a while ago. Keep working on talking to god. He wont judge. Remember everyone relationship with god is different. And some Christians can go over the top.
Christian are weird bunch too. But as long as follow god not Christians you should be fine.

I also have a friend who went in and out of churches too. So make sure you find a good fit and some friends who accept you.

Hold fast

1 Like

Hi @nicole_kaley I think this this is something that everyone goes through at least once in their life or even multiple times and it’s okay. Have you ever thought about doing spiritual direction? I use to do it and if you get the right person it can be helpful. Also having a good support system helps especially if they understand your circumstances and not judge you for your thoughts, feelings and experiences. Know that no matter what God loves you and will be by your side. Keep hanging in there.

Pray pray pray! Pray for God to wrap his arms around you and help you reconnect with him. Here is a song that I listen to alot when I’m feeling lost, alone, scared, hopeless…and I hope it helps you too

1 Like