I grew up at a Christian school. From pre K to senior year, I learned the Bible right alongside math, science, and languages. It was just a part of everyday life.

I didn’t meet Jesus until about my sophomore year. But sometimes I question if I even met Him then. This was when religion started to mean something to me. So I gave up on hopes of teen romance (at least the way I wanted it) and any interest in partying fell through quick as can be. Now, my weekends were for church and hanging out with church friends.

God and I were close for a while there. I saw Him in ways I never had before. I understood things, I wanted them to apply to me. I wanted to live in the overflow of His goodness, and I thought I was.

But relationships are my idol. That’s how they would put in a church sermon, and so that’s how I present it to you here. I just fell away because I want to be held, I want to be kissed, I want to be texted all day long.

But that was high school. Now, I’m single and in my second year of college, and I just can’t stop wondering where God went. I know He didn’t go anywhere, or at least that’s what my theology has taught me to believe. He’s as close as He’s ever been. But why doesn’t it feel as pressing? Why do I feel so numb to the truths I thought I believed to be so evident?

Part of me is writing this down just so I can feel convicted on why He seems to have disappeared. I hardly go to church, I never pray, and I barely even think about the religious morality of college life these days. It’s just so much easier to be lukewarm. This is the answer that stares me in the face. The fact that I don’t put in any effort, and so of course I can’t feel Him.

But another part of me is so confused. It’s never been so hard to channel the God feeling as it is now. I can’t close my eyes and feel inexplicable peace anymore. I worship, but it just feels like singing.

Everyone who kept me so strong in the faith is fallen away as well. There is hardly any motivation for me at this point. I feel like I am just a completely different person, and the girl who knew Jesus personally has died.

I’m living a life with ancient artifacts of Christianity sprinkled in it. I’m saving myself for marriage not because it feels pressing right now, but because I know I’ll want it in the future. I treat people kindly because that’s what you’re supposed to do. I feel bad about drinking or smoking because I know it doesn’t align with my beliefs, but I don’t believe them enough to stop. I don’t want to have some watered down college experience and end up with a ring on my finger from a husband who pastors our church.

I just feel like I can’t win.

But Christianity isn’t about winning. In fact, Jesus describes the Christian walk as one of persecution and challenges. But I’m supposed to stay strong and face these with my faith as my armor. It just doesn’t feel as realistic as it used to.

With that, life doesn’t feel as real as it used to. Skies aren’t as bright, laughter isn’t as hard. But maybe that’s just the youth fading away. I want the results of Christianity, but I don’t want the reality of it. It’s the truth- and it’s ugly.

So God hasn’t gone anywhere. I’m just changing. I am becoming the human He made, but maybe not who He intended me to be. Maybe I’m in a valley. But I’ve never been so undesiring of the mountaintop.

College student, woman, master of sarcasm, occasional inhabitant of this brain. Nebraska. Washington.