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Where do I go from here?

By Lauris --

Hey everybody. My Christian story is short, but I’d still like to share it.

I’m Lauris, a 25-year-old guy from Latvia, so English is not my native tongue. Anyway, I came to explore this faith after a couple years of depression, which I struggle with still. At some point, while searching for reasons to live, for the first time I pondered the existence of a god and the validity of religious faith. Influenced by some friends, I picked up C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”. It blew me away, it talked about Christianity in a way I never imagined before. His powerful rhetoric and convincing philosophy made me buy it and I started to attend a couple of different churches. I wanted to tell everybody that I’ve finally found the answer, because I longed for it so much!

I REALLY believed with all my heart that if there is this Jesus everybody is talking about, I’ll soon meet him, or whatever other miracles will happen! Because I needed so badly to be healed of my depression, they told me I surely will. They prayed for me; I prayed; I cried; I finished a Bible study; I read tons of apologetics; and so on and so on.

I also experienced periods of horror and spending days on the verge of insanity. For example: when trying to cope with the idea of “eternal hell” for any living soul at all. My feeling was: it would be better if nothing would exist at all, than a single living being will experience suffering FOREVER without a possibility of relief. Because I felt I HAD to believe it, it almost drove me mad. Of course, to keep my faith, I had to find an exit, and a temporary one came when I found out there were other Christian denominations that didn’t believe in hell, instead they believed in either the annihilation of the wicked or salvation for all. However, none of my Christian friends believed in any of that, so I couldn’t really talk about how I felt inside. That would be against the Bible and a big sin! However, it did calm me for a while.

But my depression was as severe as before. And, other heavy questions appeared over which even Christians disagreed completely, and it made me feel that much of theology is simply made up. I felt my god was imaginary, and I couldn’t pretend anymore. I read somewhere that if there is a god, I don’t think he would be fooled if someone tried to force “faith” down his own throat while being full of doubt.

But the last thing was this: I decided to give Christianity one final chance and went to an “encounter”. It’s a kind of 3-day seminar with all kinds of stuff, the goal is “to encounter God” -- with exorcism, speaking in tongues, a lot of charismatic stuff, etc. After two days there I felt it’s all a big charade. I felt tired and stupid. Nothing worked on me. I tried to “believe” as hard as I could, but I was so full of anger and doubt that I simply left on the third day.

Since then I’m not forcing it anymore. I tried, I did everything I could to find God -- to find Jesus -- but all I found was disappointment and fear.

Even though I’m not struggling to be a believer anymore, I’m still depressed and without a direction in life. This longing which drove me to search, it’s still here... this “spiritual dimension”.

A huge, nameless part, is missing. Where do I go from here?