There’s something I’ve wrestled with my whole life, and I didn’t understand why it was a struggle until I went through therapy at LDS Family Services. The struggle? Really feeling and knowing that God loves me.
I know, it sounds crazy. Here I am, a girl raised in the LDS Church, taught to pray and to specifically ask if Heavenly Father loves me, and yet, getting that answer, or perhaps actually being able to feel it, has been difficult. Despite my praying and doing all the things I’m supposed to do, I don’t feel it. Logically, I know it. I’ve been taught it. But connecting the emotions and spirit to it, doesn’t always work.
Ann F. Pritt, in an Ensign article (such a fab article – please go read the whole thing when you’re done here!) said, “A basic defense children use against sexual abuse is to shut down their feelings, helping them to get through the trauma. Yet this response also cuts them off from positive feelings. As a result, those who have been sexually abused may have difficulty feeling the love of Heavenly Father, His servants, and other nurturing people in their lives.”
When I read this statement, I finally understood. I thought it was me. I thought my sins or my lack of faith were the problem, but now I know that is not the case. The abuse that started when I was so young and tender, caused me to turn off my feelings to cope with the trauma. I’ve become skilled at feeling nothing. This lack of feeling extends to other times when I know I should be more affected, but I am not.
If, like me, you struggle to truly feel God’s love, to feel the Spirit, or to feel the love of others around you, don’t give up. It will come. It may be a small feeling at first, a glimpse, but as we heal our emotional,spiritual or other wounds from the abuse, and begin to allow ourselves to feel more, we will start to feel the good and positive feelings we’ve been missing.
Keep asking Heavenly Father to help you feel His love. Ask Him to help you know you are His son or daughter. God loves you. He loves me. Don’t give up. The good feelings of love, hope, peace, and many more will come.