I know Christmas is a time to rejoice at the “good news” of “great joy.” But what if I’m too numb to feel anything? What if I’m emotionally detached in self-preservation?
I’ve written before that happiness is not required to celebrate Christmas. I know I don’t need to justify my emotions (or lack thereof) to anyone else.
But what if I really do want to worship the Christ child and I can’t because the symptoms of mental illness are cutting me off?
I fall back on the fact that God’s Word is true, regardless of my mood or emotions.
Jesus came to connect with my spirit.
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Joy is a fruit of this Spirit (Gal. 5:22), but it’s not required for worship. So, when I want to worship Jesus, I don’t have to wait for an emotional connection.
I go straight back to His Word, which is the truth, and I study what God was doing when He chose to be born as a man.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
God wanted to be with me. He wanted to connect with me intimately – Spirit to spirit. His arrival paved the way for us to become one in a way never before possible.
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Even when I’m feeling absolutely nothing, I can choose to thank God for sending Jesus so that my spirit could be reborn. I can bow my spirit to His and honor Him.
Jesus came for me, specifically.
This is the connection that I focus on when I don’t feel like being festive. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks meditating on the fact that Jesus came to be with me, specifically.
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’”
God spent 4,000 years getting things ready for Jesus to be born on the earth. Then, He spent the next 2,000 years setting things up so that I could be born again in Him.
And He knew that even after I got saved, He’d have to spend years holding my hand through depression after depression. He knew the mercy and grace and forgiveness I would need after acting out my delusions of grandeur. He knew the bad name I would give Him when I condemned others to make myself feel better.
And He still chose to be with me.
I John 4:9
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
I can live through Jesus in spite of my numbness. I can worship the Christ child from a place of knowledge, without emotion.
Jesus came for me, and He’ll never leave me.
I have a history with Jesus. I have a testimony of the many times He stayed with me when I felt so worthless that I expected everyone to leave.
I told Jesus I would understand if He left me, too. I gave Him so many chances to leave; but He never did.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Jesus doesn’t get offended when I don’t feel like He loves me. He just sits with me and loves me anyway.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When I decide to believe that the Bible is the true Word of God, then I have chosen to believe that He loves me regardless of my mental state. And for that I can thank Him and praise Him, with or without accompanying emotions.
What verses do you hold onto when you can’t feel God in your emotions?
Photo credit: Annalise1988