Becoming disillusioned with the Church. I want to avoid losing my faith.

Rob Banks

Pelican
It’s been 6 months since I posted on the forum about some personal issues and it was recommended by some wise forum members that I go to church and get closer to God and Jesus.

I have been going to church, praying, educating myself about theology, and talking to my priest often about my faith and my personal situation.

However, I do not feel closer to God. Or if I am closer to God, then He is demanding that I suffer for past sins and is refusing to forgive me.

As far as the situation with my wife that I posted about, there has been some positive interaction (text messages and emails) between me and her, but it’s all a mirage. At this point, she has zero intention of ever seeing me, and when I say anything via text that pisses her off (which I am prone to doing) she flies into a hate-filled rage, cursing at me and throwing in my face everything I did to her in the past (violence, drug addiction, etc.).

Also, I am no closer to moving on and getting over her than I was before.

As for the other aspects of my life, I have not had a job in the 6 months since I first posted here. I’ve been fired from every job (or had to quit) because of a medical condition that causes me to vomit and gag throughout the day.

I am isolated and I don’t really interact with anyone other than my immediate family, and all we do is fight and argue.

I have had several relapses into hard drugs, and I am constantly giving in to lust (porn, masturbation, etc.).

I know that I’m not supposed to be Christian only to receive Earthly benefits, but it also doesn’t make sense that I’d continue to practice Christianity while actively living in mortal sin and falling further and further into isolation and self destruction.

There’s been times in the past where I’ve wanted to end my life. I no longer feel that way and I’d never actually take my own life, but what I’m currently doing is basically achieving the same thing only slower and more gradually.

I’m not looking for sympathy or anything. I know I am probably doing something wrong (i.e. not truly worshipping God properly) and this situation is my fault/my responsibility.
 

Johnnyvee

Pelican
I know it`s hard to discipline yourself, I struggle with it every day. But you have to do everything yourself.

Eat healthy, (Paleo, max 2 meals a day, OMAD maybe) sleep well, exercise, get some sun, spend some time in nature. No drugs or alcohol and limit caffeine to one dose a day. (black coffee or tea, or just water) That will fix you stomach/gut issues. Can`t expect health if you`re poisoning yourself consistently. I know all about those addictions issues, so I`m not moralizing at all. Trust no one but yourself, and screw what other people think. (especially women) I`m sure you can pull yourself out of this, and become a greater man.
 
I've had some similar struggles to yours...including overcoming sins of lust and falling further into isolation. Some of what you say may be true...God's forgiveness doesn't necessarily include freedom from consequence. I drink much less these days but will probably have acid reflux the rest of my life from heavy drinking early in life. Still...maybe God will spare me cirrhosis.

One question to ask yourself....if you have felt temptation and prayed for that temptation to leave...did God not speed to your aid? I can never point to a time when he did not. The temptation may return...sometimes merely an hour later...but this is the state of our soul. We need to constantly keep our guard and communication with the Holy Spirit.

Without knowing your specifics...the depth of damage done to your personal relationships could take great lengths of time to mend. Also, adapting to your new found faith will take time to find loyal friends who can minister to you on a spiritual and personal level. I still struggle with finding reliable Christian friends. I think this is much harder when you turn back to God, or just turn to Him later, and deal with others similar in age/station in life who have realized the benefits of faith throughout their lives. There is peace to be found in solitary existence if that helps...

Lastly, reread ArizonaGuys post in your "facing mortality" thread. I thought his advice was spot on. If you are still working his steps, maybe look to some inspiration from Job and Nebuchadnezzar as well as you read the Bible. Those guys had EVERYTHING taken from them and went through a long reconcilliation process. Yet in the end they were restored.

I hope you experience some peace and blessings immediately man.
 

Rob Banks

Pelican
I've had some similar struggles to yours...including overcoming sins of lust and falling further into isolation. Some of what you say may be true...God's forgiveness doesn't necessarily include freedom from consequence. I drink much less these days but will probably have acid reflux the rest of my life from heavy drinking early in life. Still...maybe God will spare me cirrhosis.

One question to ask yourself....if you have felt temptation and prayed for that temptation to leave...did God not speed to your aid? I can never point to a time when he did not. The temptation may return...sometimes merely an hour later...but this is the state of our soul. We need to constantly keep our guard and communication with the Holy Spirit.

Without knowing your specifics...the depth of damage done to your personal relationships could take great lengths of time to mend. Also, adapting to your new found faith will take time to find loyal friends who can minister to you on a spiritual and personal level. I still struggle with finding reliable Christian friends. I think this is much harder when you turn back to God, or just turn to Him later, and deal with others similar in age/station in life who have realized the benefits of faith throughout their lives. There is peace to be found in solitary existence if that helps...

Lastly, reread ArizonaGuys post in your "facing mortality" thread. I thought his advice was spot on. If you are still working his steps, maybe look to some inspiration from Job and Nebuchadnezzar as well as you read the Bible. Those guys had EVERYTHING taken from them and went through a long reconcilliation process. Yet in the end they were restored.

I hope you experience some peace and blessings immediately man.
I mean, it’s been months and I’ve seen no change whatsoever. I’d be bullshitting myself if I said I’m becoming stronger or a better man.

I’ve posted threads similar to this one in the past, and I’ve also talked to friends, family, my priest, etc., and they’ve always convinced me to go back to the church, keep trying, etc.

I’ve come to the realization that Jesus will not fix whatever is wrong with me. And I don’t have the spiritual strength to keep worshipping Him knowing full well that I’ll never find peace during this life.

I guess at least I know I tried and I gave it a good 6 months. God has revealed to me that it just isn’t meant to be. I have offended Him too gravely in the past (and continue to do so) and I have been cast away by Him.

Alternatively, maybe God loves me but I am possessed by demons.

Or maybe it’s all bullshit that God can save anyone. Maybe you have to already be a strong person, have good family relationships and friendships, etc., in order to be saved.

In any case, there’s no point in keeping spinning my wheels.

God is rejecting me. I fully accept that this is my fault and I don’t blame God, but I’ve come to the realization that it is far beyond me to be able to fix it.
 

Mike_Key

Robin
It’s been 6 months since I posted on the forum about some personal issues and it was recommended by some wise forum members that I go to church and get closer to God and Jesus.

I have been going to church, praying, educating myself about theology, and talking to my priest often about my faith and my personal situation.

However, I do not feel closer to God. Or if I am closer to God, then He is demanding that I suffer for past sins and is refusing to forgive me.

As far as the situation with my wife that I posted about, there has been some positive interaction (text messages and emails) between me and her, but it’s all a mirage. At this point, she has zero intention of ever seeing me, and when I say anything via text that pisses her off (which I am prone to doing) she flies into a hate-filled rage, cursing at me and throwing in my face everything I did to her in the past (violence, drug addiction, etc.).

Also, I am no closer to moving on and getting over her than I was before.

As for the other aspects of my life, I have not had a job in the 6 months since I first posted here. I’ve been fired from every job (or had to quit) because of a medical condition that causes me to vomit and gag throughout the day.

I am isolated and I don’t really interact with anyone other than my immediate family, and all we do is fight and argue.

I have had several relapses into hard drugs, and I am constantly giving in to lust (porn, masturbation, etc.).

I know that I’m not supposed to be Christian only to receive Earthly benefits, but it also doesn’t make sense that I’d continue to practice Christianity while actively living in mortal sin and falling further and further into isolation and self destruction.

There’s been times in the past where I’ve wanted to end my life. I no longer feel that way and I’d never actually take my own life, but what I’m currently doing is basically achieving the same thing only slower and more gradually.

I’m not looking for sympathy or anything. I know I am probably doing something wrong (i.e. not truly worshipping God properly) and this situation is my fault/my responsibility.
I know we are not supposed to talk about differences and debate heatedly about religion, but you might try Protestantism. Try something Non-denominational. Leave behind your Priest and Sacraments and try a sermon from a Pastor and a Protestant bible study or Family group/Men's group. Have them lay-hands on you and pray that the Holy Spirit reveal his power in your life.

Secondly, try fitness ... try Ultra-running (on Forest dirt Trails or Road Running) which is more than a marathon of running (you will naturally walk some, you will hike some) or try cycling for miles and miles. Many people that have been on drugs and what not, alcohol, try and succeed at running or cycling to change their life. Borrow a bike or lace up your shoes, get out there. Take vaseline for your bum (seriously, to prevent rash, A+D butt ointment), and go for miles and miles. Take 32-64 ounces of water/gatorade, you need salt.

Try 8 hours lifting weights.

You need something to live for. Don't harm yourself.
Best wishes,

John 3:16
 
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ginsu

Robin
10 years ago i met a guy who went to somekind of secluded monistary, or just community with people living religiously. While there his day consisted of mostly cutting wood and carying it back to the community and doing all kinds of other tasks that where needed. He came back completely clean and spiritually improved. The only bad thing he picked up was a love of super strong coffee as the place was in italy.

If you're stuck and you've been trying the same path over and over it could be good to leave everything behind and throw yourself into something different that will take all your attention. You could even go to thailand and have a muay thai training camp for the next 3 months where you will be busy all day, and worn out at night.
 
I agree with Mike above. Sometimes a pastor or priest may only offer what I think of as "clinical" guidance. You may be one of a large group of people that they minister to...or maybe they are more of theologian than a caregiver.

Secondly, try fitness ... try Ultra-running (on Forest dirt Trails or Road Running) which is more than a marathon of running or try cycling for miles and miles. Many people that have been on drugs and what not, alcohol, try and succeed at running or cycling to change their life. Borrow a bike or lace up your shoes, get out there. Take vaseline for your bum (seriously, to prevent rash, A+D butt ointment), and go for miles and miles. Take 32-64 ounces of water/gatorade, you need salt.
Big ups on the cycling...that's the physical activity that helped me. C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters wrote a passage where the demon assigned to the protagonist of the story allows the man a peaceful afternoon "on a road he liked" or something like that. From the demons perspective God's presence blocks the demon's access to the man and that was a turning point for the character. What is a favorite activity of yours?

Lots of things in life aren't achieved in 6 months time...but surely you have made some progress. Can you provide any forward movement you have made? Even a secular self help program for that period of time should have yielded a benefit or two.
 

Er Miqué

Sparrow
Have you tried doing the Steps to Freedom? If you think it's demons or such this helps a lot, and has worked for many people: you'll pray to renounce all the sins you've done and not to be property of the devil anymore: https://antiochcc.s3.amazonaws.com/web/Steps to Freedom Shortened.pdf After that you should be careful to lead a very clean life and not fall again.

Also you shouldn't think anymore about sin, focus your mind solely on God not the world or whatever happened. If you keep on sinning then you should realize why is that happening; you have to watch your mind all the time as from thoughts arise sins. And don't feel so bad, I know it's a cliché advice but if you keep on feeling like you're failing then you'll continue failing; if you don't think about getting out of that bad situation you're in now and have it firmly in your mind that no matter what happens you'll get out of it then you're just doing it wrong and will never get out of it.

Relax, the man is prone to sin and more in this wicked world and very hardly will he ever get out of sin himself alone. Don't trust in yourself is the best advice I can give you for avoiding sin, but instead trust Jesus and God instead and pray when temptation comes and keep your mind only focused on God himself; keep your mind on God and Jesus himself and never let it wander on other thoughts. Pray for God to do his will on you and show you his great mercy, God will change you for better everyday and soon you will be able to be better person.

And don't feel so sad about how low you've fallen, you can't do anything to change what you did before; the persons who have fallen so much in sin get to get a better relationship with God since they know how good He is. Don't care about what happened to you, focus solely on God himself and knowing his will is good and he will take care of everything (and that anything that might happen to you is for your benefit, that the problems and difficulties are to make you more stronger and more dependent on God himself so you can get to know him better and lead a better life).

What you have is a problem of sin, it's not impossible to fix it: just pray to God so that he may clean you and make you stronger.
 

Blade Runner

Kingfisher
My friend, I'm going to give you good advice, it isn't easy at all: Patient endurance.

I was raised with the truth, I have been given the gift of faith, my only fear in life is losing that gift. I struggle with it now and times seem like they will never be harder, and you know what? They are going to get worse. But God is always here, and He will always be.

The despair you feel is from the evil one. He has no power over you. Just pray, Lord have mercy - for you and your countrymen. I'm here for you, I've always prayed "Help my unbelief" and I believe ... please consider what I have posted before, it is so powerful (from RSV):

[18] And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
[19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
[20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Banks, Listen!!! When we suffer, He is with us!

Glory to God for all things!
 

Lazuli Waves

Woodpecker
You are saying things that show a humility many Christians do not have, but you are veering off into despair. These statements have humility in them, even if they aren't true:

"I know that I’m not supposed to be Christian only to receive Earthly benefits, but it also doesn’t make sense that I’d continue to practice Christianity while actively living in mortal sin and falling further and further into isolation and self destruction. "

"Maybe you have to already be a strong person, have good family relationships and friendships, etc., in order to be saved."

I've been reading The Ladder of Divine Ascent, which is like a training manual for monks. He says that when you become a monk, you will be attacked even more by the Devil, because you are like a solider on the front lines. Monks committed sins. I read somewhere that monks struggled everyday with sins, with pride being a common sin.

You should read about Saints who had similar problems as yours. You don't want to fall into spiritual pride/prelest and start thinking of yourself as a saint, though. You shouldn't even think of yourself as a monk. You are a person trying to learn from their wisdom. You should always strive for humility.

What I've learned in the past few years from Christianity has been that having humility is extremely important, and having pride is extremely harmful.

I'm not saying all Evangelicals are like this, but there is a certain type that try too hard to appear happy and smiling. They think that's what Christianity is, and if they appear that way, it will draw others to Christianity. What I've learned is Christianity is more about admitting how small and sinful you are. You have to turn yourself over to God. When I was first reading about Eastern Orthodoxy, I saw how constant repentance was emphasized. When I first read the Jesus prayer, (Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner), I thought the "a sinner" part, was going to be depressing. I didn't think I'd like saying it. I didn't want to remember my sins because I felt depressed and damned. Now, I pray that God reminds me of them so I can repent of them. It brings me closer to God. I've come to see how I am not better than anyone, and we are all children of God. I have not had your same struggles, but I don't think I'm better than you.

I struggle with sins of Pride, thinking I've forgiven someone when I later in my mind think something that shows I have not, judging other people in the sense of thinking I understand what motivates them to commit their sins, and focusing on other people's sins instead of my own. I often feel disgusted with myself, but also amazed that God still loves me despite this.

It's important to know God is with you through all this, even if you can't feel him. For a long time, I could not feel him, but now I know He was there.

When I was younger, I thought Christians were supposed to be perfect. I don't know where this quote is from, but it's on Father Spyridon Bailey's Facebook page: "Salvation does not require that we achieve perfect in this life, only that we strive for it." https://www.facebook.com/Father-Spyridon-Bailey-Books-180541086602/

That is what you are doing.

"It suffices to recall the words of the great fifth century Thebaid ascetic Saint Sisoe in support of this. Surrounded at the moment of his impending repose, by his brethren, he appeared to be conversing with unseen persons, as the chronicle relates, and the brethren asked: 'Father, tell us with whom you are carrying on a conversation?' St Sisoe answered, "'They are angels who have come to take me, but I am praying them to leave me for a short time so that I may repent.' When the brethren, knowing that Sisoe was perfect in virtue, responded, "You have no need of repentance, father," the Saint answered, 'Truly I do not know if I have even begun to repent.'"


You can always message me whenever you want.
 
A lot of obese people, if they are trying to lose weight, will try fad diets. They will do something like completely remove carbs, or eat 3 carrots every day for lunch, or do juice blend, or whatever the particulars are that they may do. If the are strictly adherent to their diets, they will often times lose a tremendous amount of weight. And many of them may eventually reach whatever weight they set for themselves as the goal. But what happens after they reach the goal? They revert to their old habits, and often times will balloon right back to whatever was their starting weight, or sometimes even more. They achieved their goal of whatever the number on the scale is, but they weren't able to become fit or have a normal weight. If your goal is fitness, then there is no finish line. To stay fit requires discipline, and when you become undisciplined you will not be fit, no matter how fit you may have been in the past. This whole dichotomy is sometimes described by people as goal-based (hitting a certain number on a scale) vs system-based (maintaining a healthy lifestyle).

If we were to describe Christianity, or really any religion, it would be considered a system-based. You're struggle to try and live a good life is one that you will need fight every day of your life. There is no finish line. Maybe death can be considered a finish line, but there certainly isn't one on Earth. You can led a holy life, reform yourself, go to confession and maybe briefly be without sin (other than original sin), but if you leave the church and adopt all your former vices, then it will not matter. Fortunately through the grace of God we are given an infinite number of opportunities for redemption. If you want to be a Christian, it's going to have to be something you actively work towards every day for the rest of your life, and it's not something that's easy.
 

Rob Banks

Pelican
You are saying things that show a humility many Christians do not have, but you are veering off into despair. These statements have humility in them, even if they aren't true:

"I know that I’m not supposed to be Christian only to receive Earthly benefits, but it also doesn’t make sense that I’d continue to practice Christianity while actively living in mortal sin and falling further and further into isolation and self destruction. "

"Maybe you have to already be a strong person, have good family relationships and friendships, etc., in order to be saved."

I've been reading The Ladder of Divine Ascent, which is like a training manual for monks. He says that when you become a monk, you will be attacked even more by the Devil, because you are like a solider on the front lines. Monks committed sins. I read somewhere that monks struggled everyday with sins, with pride being a common sin.

You should read about Saints who had similar problems as yours. You don't want to fall into spiritual pride/prelest and start thinking of yourself as a saint, though. You shouldn't even think of yourself as a monk. You are a person trying to learn from their wisdom. You should always strive for humility.

What I've learned in the past few years from Christianity has been that having humility is extremely important, and having pride is extremely harmful.

I'm not saying all Evangelicals are like this, but there is a certain type that try too hard to appear happy and smiling. They think that's what Christianity is, and if they appear that way, it will draw others to Christianity. What I've learned is Christianity is more about admitting how small and sinful you are. You have to turn yourself over to God. When I was first reading about Eastern Orthodoxy, I saw how constant repentance was emphasized. When I first read the Jesus prayer, (Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner), I thought the "a sinner" part, was going to be depressing. I didn't think I'd like saying it. I didn't want to remember my sins because I felt depressed and damned. Now, I pray that God reminds me of them so I can repent of them. It brings me closer to God. I've come to see how I am not better than anyone, and we are all children of God. I have not had your same struggles, but I don't think I'm better than you.

I struggle with sins of Pride, thinking I've forgiven someone when I later in my mind think something that shows I have not, judging other people in the sense of thinking I understand what motivates them to commit their sins, and focusing on other people's sins instead of my own. I often feel disgusted with myself, but also amazed that God still loves me despite this.

It's important to know God is with you through all this, even if you can't feel him. For a long time, I could not feel him, but now I know He was there.

When I was younger, I thought Christians were supposed to be perfect. I don't know where this quote is from, but it's on Father Spyridon Bailey's Facebook page: "Salvation does not require that we achieve perfect in this life, only that we strive for it." https://www.facebook.com/Father-Spyridon-Bailey-Books-180541086602/

That is what you are doing.

"It suffices to recall the words of the great fifth century Thebaid ascetic Saint Sisoe in support of this. Surrounded at the moment of his impending repose, by his brethren, he appeared to be conversing with unseen persons, as the chronicle relates, and the brethren asked: 'Father, tell us with whom you are carrying on a conversation?' St Sisoe answered, "'They are angels who have come to take me, but I am praying them to leave me for a short time so that I may repent.' When the brethren, knowing that Sisoe was perfect in virtue, responded, "You have no need of repentance, father," the Saint answered, 'Truly I do not know if I have even begun to repent.'"


You can always message me whenever you want.
I’m not thinking that I have to be perfect. I’m fine with not being perfect.

The situation I’m in is far from perfect, as I described above. I have no control over the demons.

If that’s the best I can do after 6 months in the Church, then it really isn’t worth it.

If anything, I was doing better (although not well by any means) when I would not attempt to resist the evil. It’s kind of like when the police arrest you and handcuff you (even if unjustly). If you submit, you’ll go to jail. But if you resist, you’ll still go to jail and you’ll be punished even more harshly and even possibly hurt or killed.

So maybe I need to stop resisting the demons, and only try to resist them again when I am in a position of strength.
 

Booma

Newbie
I have found the "Jesus Prayer" extremely helpful in developing resistance against worldly evils. Every time you are tempted, judge another, or become angry, utter the Jesus Prayer, asking for His mercy until it passes. This combined with a daily prayer rule has been the most effective for me. Do not rely on your own strength, which cannot stand alone against the world. Do not rely on your own wisdom, which cannot stand against all the devil's tricks. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

I think this video from Father Josiah Trenham will help you.
 
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ABeast

Robin
Why are you trying so hard? If you have to work on making some concrete improvements in your life devote your energy to those and pray for assistance. Jesus will help you out if you help yourself! I'm sure he doesn't want you to neglect your own issues in the pursuit of a religious experience.
 
Do you take meds for the condition which causes gagging and vomiting, throughout the day? Is there a possible cure for you? What is causing this health problem? I gotta admit I would hate life with such a challenge. Perhaps alternative medicine could help you.

Keep us posted on your situation, and do not give up. Please realize that even if you and your wife do not reconcile, as hard as that will be, you can still go on to have a solid life. But yeah, it will be hard.

Oh, and consider fasting for a day or two at a time, on a regular basis. Prayer combined with fasting can move mountains, and might really help you with your addiction issues.
 

Rob Banks

Pelican
Right now I’m not doing any drugs. But in the past I was into opiates and heroin and I’ve had relapses within the past few months.
 
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