Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I have not been feeling happy lately. Even if I keep my spiritual cannon, I just feel empty inside. When I told my parents that I want to live on my own and they were upset and I felt guilty. Spiritually, I feel like everyone is moving forward but me. I do not see God's purpose for my life or His plan for me. I know God is a loving Father but I feel that my relationship with Him has not been one of love but as a ruler that I need to do certain things or otherwise He will be against me. I know this is not correct but I do not know how to feel the love of God when I constantly feel that He is upset with me because I constantly feel guilty about something. Also, the decision on the job and whether or not I should live with my parents has made things worse.

People have different opinions about God. Some only think that He is a Judge waiting to issue a stern sentence. God is just, but He is also most merciful. Have you ever witnessed a loving father with his son? Regardless of the mischief of the child, the father adores his child and is amused by him discovering the world around him through trial and error. When the child accomplishes his goals, it is the parent who is usually the most thrilled at his success. Do you think that a parent could love a child any less because he does not achieve certain goals? The parent actually praises this child more for his efforts and perseverance. God is your advocate, looking for any excuse to praise you. He is the One whom we ought to praise, yet He delights in His children. You are His child; whether you feel it or not, those are His sentiments. I encourage you to take the time to get to know God better. Spiritual canon alone is not enough, because it is only an exercise for self-discipline that will help you to build a better relationship with God. You need to befriend God again. He is looking for ways to defend you rather than to punish you. The more you realize His immense and incomprehensible love for you, the more you will want to please Him, not out of fear and punishment, but out of love and reverence.

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