Insight: There are many people in the world who share your opinion, however I am not one of them. God is very real. Not only have I seen Him do miraculous things that only God could do, but I have also experienced His love and power in a very real way. I have had conversations with Him and He always encourages me. Through my darkest time God was with me and there was no way I would have gotten through them as successfully as I did, without Him.
If you believe that God is not real, I feel sorrow for you, because you are missing out on the most fulfilling relationship you could ever have. Have you ever asked God to reveal Himself to you or given Him a chance at all? How can you know whether something is truly real or not unless you have given it a chance?
Issue: I find it really hard to trust God. I have trust issues with people I can see let alone God who I can't.
Insight: Believe it or not this is an age old questions. In the days of Moses (read Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament for the complete story of Moses) the Israelites also had a hard time trusting a God they could not see, even with the miracles that God had performed for them. So first of all you are not the only one in that boat. I too have had my trust issues with God.
The interesting thing is that if you read the Bible from the perspective of the people, you can identify with their doubts, however if you read the Bible from the perspective of an Almighty God you start to see it in another light.
God creates man and gives man everything he has, man then responds with disobedience, and tries to hide from God. Since this incident we constantly hurt God, and yet He still tries to reach out to us again and again. He even sent His Son to die for the sins of the world so that we can be free to love Him back. Yet looking at the world around us, people hate God, people don't trust God, people judge God, people deny God, people ignore God, and even love man-made gods over Him.
God must be heart broken. His only desire is that we love Him the way He loves us. He wants our best for us, so sometimes He does not do what we expect Him to, instead He gives us something better! I know this from experience. Even though you can't see Him, He loves you more than anyone else does on this entire planet, and He will give you His best and not allow you to settle for your own plans. Do not be disheartened, God knows the big picture and He just wants you to know you are loved and you can trust Him with everything. He will never let you down.
Issue: I have taken on a lot of responsibility lately, sometimes I feel like all I do is work and have no time for fun. I find I have a hard time saying "No", and even when I do I feel like I am letting people down. How do I get my sanity back?
Insight: One thing you need to ask yourself is, are those people that are asking for help expecting you to be at your best, or less than that? Most people want us to be at our best, otherwise we could be hindering their progress. How can someone give their best if they are burning themselves out; the simple answer is they can't. So it is in everyone's best interests to say no from time to time.
I have a hard time saying no as well. I was offered an amazing opportunity to use the gifts God has given me in the marketplace, however at this time I really do not have the time to invest in this new endeavor. In the future, I might go in and sit down with them and discuss how I can be involved then. It is unfortunate that we cannot always do everything we feel we should be, however I have come to realize that God's timing is perfect and there is a reason that it is being put off.
Sometimes we convince ourselves that if we are not able to do it then no one will be able to. This may be true in some cases, but in most cases there are other people that could step in and do what you have been asked to do, however they may be overlooked or even put to the side because you are always available. I believe there are times when we need to say no so that we can give everything we have to our current projects and also allow others step to the forefront and be able to use their gifts as well.
Keep in mind that we are saved by grace, not our works. Ephesians 2:8-10 states this very clearly, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." If your motivation is to earn your salvation then your motivation is not a healthy one and you must pray that God would give you a healthy motivation. We should be motivated by our love for God and our love for people, this is what motivated Jesus in his ministry. Throughout the New Testament we see a pattern, Jesus was moved by compassion, assessed the need, then filled it. A great way to determine if your motivation is healthy or not is to ask yourself for whose glory are you doing all of this work?
Lastly, if you do not have time to be one on one with God every day then you have said yes to too much. God is much more interested in where you are at with Him than how many ministries you are a part of. God, instead of our works, should be the center of our lives. If we lose sight of God, we lose sight of why we are involved with these ministries in the first place.
If you are feeling overwhelmed right now, take an afternoon, and spend it talking to God, reading the Bible and worshipping Him. I am certain you will return refreshed and invigorated.
Issue: I used to be really close to God, however in the last few years as I look back all I see is pain and misery. Where was God in that painful time? Why wasn't he there for me? If God really loved me he would have been there.
Insight: I am so sorry that you have had such a difficult time in your life over the past few years. There are several reasons why bad things happen in our lives, however God is everywhere, all the time, even if we don't see it. It reminds me of the footprints poem.
I believe that our thought processes always go in a negative direction if we are not actively watching our thoughts and directing them in a positive direction. 2 Corinthians 10:5 states, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." We as Christians need to watch our thoughts and make sure that they line up with the truth found only in Jesus Christ.
I myself have experienced times when I have felt like I was abandoned by God, but now as I look back I can see exactly the moments he picked me up and carried me. Life is not easy and there will be times in our lives that are painful, just know God is always there and he waits for us to reach out to him. I have found that a change of perspective helps dramatically. For example, the poem describes a person who can only see the footprints. Now if that person had looked at what happened from a side view, the person would have seen Jesus carrying them. It is amazing what a change in perspective can do when examining your life. The best way to get a fresh perspective is to talk to someone you trust, and listen to their view of what is happening. Another great thing to do is talk to God. Ask him to show you where he was in those dark times. He will reveal it to you.
Issue: People keep telling me that depression is a sign that I am struggling with my walk with God. I feel like my relationship with God is strong, yet I am still depressed.
Insight: Depression is an issue that has really hit North America hard in the last few years. From my experience depression is no respecter of persons. it can target anyone no matter how close or how far you are away from God.
Depression sometimes has a medical cause, in these cases I would consult a physician in order to receive treatment. In the cases without a medical cause, there are many things that could be the cause and it could take a great deal of time and reflection to discover it. Counseling can be an effective tool in order to discover the cause and be able to deal with it effectively. Another way to discover the cause is to ask God to reveal the cause to you. The one thing to remember is that God will never give us more than we can handle so if he does not reveal the cause to you right away, it may be because you are not strong enough to deal with it at this time.
There are two choices when something like this occurs in our lives, one is to run to God and the other is to run from God. Just remember in this difficult time to continue to run to God. It can be difficult to continue to run to Him if we feel like he is not answering our prayers, however He is listening and He will answer your prayers in the timing that is best for you. His desire is His best for you.
I strive to help others by being a safe place for others to ask questions and pose issues they face.