How I stopped talking to God

The difference between talking and listening.

Balpolam Idi
5 min readMar 22, 2023

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Prayer is an activity and an occasion I look forward to because it is dialogue you see. It is me rambling endlessly, to a sovereign being who cares enough to listen, but beyond that, to respond. This discourse with response has been part and parcel of me since I found God and discovered that not only does He not not like me, He more than likes me, He loves.

I had to learn unbelief to stop talking to God. Now, before you smear me with the tomatoes of apostasy or faithlessness, I am a believer who has had a hard time believing. Not because the facts changed, but because I changed. I was constantly being rewired by grief, disappointment, trauma, anger, and hurt. Instead of my instinctive reaction to run to Daddy for a band-aid, or to kiss my booboo and make the pain go away, I turned inward. Then came the self-loathing. It really is incredible how our minds convince us to believe untrue things simply because we dwell on them long enough. I had to believe, or rather, unbelieve so many things about God to stop talking to him. Primarily, His love for me was the first line of attack. No, I didn’t doubt that He loves me, it became as though I was falling out of favour or He was falling out of love with me. Psychotic isn’t it? But when we dwell on insane thoughts long enough, we begin to believe them.

I am so grateful for the books and resources that help me navigate tough places. It is as though knowing that there are others who have experienced this, in different variations, but documented their journey, messy as it was, is a soothing salve. This is why I am here, writing this. Perhaps it will soothe another person’s ache. But I digress.

As I said in the Thing with Falling, we never plan for these things. “They just be happening oh.” At first, it was for lack of words, I would mutter and groan and murmur. Then I seemed to have lost my words except for these groanings, and I didn’t understand why. Then I began to question the validity of the said murmurs and groanings. If I cannot even define what it is my prayers desire, how can they be heartfelt and earnest? And so the cycle began. Do I pray and risk it being empty because a double-minded man gets nothing? Or do I press on in faith and not feelings? Have I turned God into a genie or a doting Irish auntie, is that why I am offended that things are not going my way? Dare I question His heart for me, for His people, or even assume that I have more care for anything on this earth than heaven does? Have I lost my mind? Am I afraid because I am losing my grip on idols or am I just wacky at being a child of faith?

But I used to pray in confusion and get clarity. Why was this different? It felt like I was sinking in an ocean, chained to a weight bigger than me, with waves overwhelming me. I pray you never get to this place. And yet again, I hope that if you do, you find the anchor.

Ballie kneeling in front of the 1962 Saint Barbara Catholic Church at Seth Avusuglo ‘s behest.

It is the silence that was most disconcerting. It is not something I was used to you see. I talked to God even more than I talked to myself — and I talk to myself an obscene amount. So this one-sided conversation felt like being ghosted by your best friend or talking stage just when you needed to define things or clear the air. I had felt it before, on a human level, but this one was different. I had a big block in my chest. My body failed woefully to contain the turmoil in my spirit and mind. I detested it — that being weak. Because Talking to God has always been my defence, my way out. But so suddenly it was snatched from my hands like the abduction of an infant in a rowdy marketplace. I was vulnerable, frail, and it got worse, because life continued to deal me blows as though reaffirming that I was indeed alone.

I have never doubted that God is there, which I think is kind of the problem. I know He is. The problem is am I being ghosted by a Holy Ghost for something I did or for character development? I don’t know.

I used to love to pray for people. I say used to because I am not as enthusiastic any more about it and that’s the truth. I slowly withdrew from interceding for very selfish reasons. I am not proud of it, but this is where I let my pain and bleeding lead me to. I found myself wondering if I am not being answered, what qualifies me to stand in on someone’s behalf? Of course pride was manifesting in a humble way but it bugged me so.

At this point, I am saying one too many things and nothing exactly. If this were one of my prayers, after this sentence, I would have chuckled and said “But Holy Spirit you know I don’t know anything, so I’ll keep saying nonsense. You have to tell me what to do oh” and I’ll be smiling sheepishly while I receive a respond ‘text’ from Him.

I miss it. I am not writing to get 7-steps-to-building-back-your 24/7 conversation, I just needed to

  1. Share my journey, as I promised God I will with my writing. The good the bad and ugly.
  2. Share because someone reading needs to know they are not alone and though I’m being ‘ghosted’ on certain things, I still get sent on errands and I’m a bloody soldier so Yes sir! is always my answer.

I miss that friendship, but perhaps all this is in line with one of the most beautiful and painful parts of my previous year. I’ll never know until I know. As you are led, please say a prayer for me. I am slowly finding my centre of gravity in this journey. I still struggle with discrediting some narratives I have now come to accept. But struggling is good, it means I am wrestling so yay.

May the Peace of Christ dwell richly in you, and His voice steer you through turbulent waters. May His gentle spirit caress you with reassurances and embrace you when you are fallen and broken. May He bind up your wounds and lead you to the arms of the many-breasted One. May you never stop talking or listening.

Love, Ballie 💖

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Balpolam Idi

Live, Love, Give. But most importantly, Dream. Learner. Teacher. Wanderer.