"How does one transition from the survival dance to the sacred dance? Let me tell you how it starts. Did you know the first half of life has to fail you? In fact, if you do not recognize an eventual and necessary dissatisfaction (in the form of sadness, restlessness, emptiness, intellectual conflict, spiritual boredom, or even loss of faith, etc.), you will not move on to maturity. You see, faith really is about moving outside your comfort zone, trusting God’s lead, instead of just forever shoring up home base. Too often, early religious conditioning largely substitutes for any real faith."
-Richard Rohr, Loving the Two Halves of Life: The Further Journey
A necessary dissatisfaction! This gets my attention. Rohr is proclaiming that this necessary dissatisfaction that comes to us in our times of sadness, restlessness, spiritual boredom, and loss of faith are necessary if we are to mature in our faith. In the midst of your emptiness, sadness, and doubt have you ever thought these were necessary steps leading you to a deeper and stronger faith? In the middle of such experiences we pray for God to remove these burdens. Perhaps our prayer should be to move through them! To embrace them. To learn from them. To be transformed by them.
This really speaks to me for I have experienced all these realities that make up what Rohr calls "necessary dissatisfaction." I am reading a book by Margaret Johnston called "Faith Beyond Belief." She writes that feelings of the absence of God or even doubting God's existence are simply important stages on the way to a more mature and grounded faith. I love it when what I am hearing and reading dovetails together to speak to my soul.
So it may be possible that the lousy feelings you are experiencing just might be part of your necessary dissatisfaction. And rather than removing them or escaping them God may be urging you to move through them to a new kind of faith on the other side of our discomfort zone!