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Author Topic: crisis of faith and whinge-fest  (Read 1316 times) Average Rating: 0
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kmm
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« on: November 26, 2009, 07:12:34 PM »

I am about to whine, quite intolerably I'm sure, but if anyone has anything helpful/constructive to say in response to my forth-coming massive whinge-fest, I'd be most appreciative.

I am often of late considering just throwing in the towel when it comes to my Christianity, giving up on trying to be Christian. I feel like I am getting no where and failing miserably at living up to any even basic Christian requirements. And because of this, there is usually a feeling of guilt sitting in the back, and often front, of my head.

I've been trying to find a way to appropriately prioritize my life, and am not succeeding (including usually avoiding looking at this forum to increase my time).

For instance, I am not attending Church much, and don't often read the Bible or pray beyond saying Grace at dinner and a quick prayer with my little boys before getting them to bed. When I do go to Church I spend most of the time keeping track of my kids rather than praying and the like (which is part of raising Christian children, I know).

I rarely fast - I do try but find that most fasting food that my family would even consider eating takes significant amounts of time to make or is quite costly (the largely pre-made expensive stuff from specialty grocers, which anyway contains too much tofu to eat with each meal for my comfort level because of estrogen mimicking issues). Making two separate meals for my family and then for me seems to be too much, not to mention my preschooler and toddler can't eat only fasting foods for extensive periods of time. I find regular cooking and clean up overwhelming as it is.

I don't much make my family a priority, unless you count the fact that I work a lot in order to financially support my kids. This morning was the kicker: my husband was beyond angry with me because he ended up having to work until 2am last night (he started at 8:30am the day before - this is not, fortunately a regular thing, except when he has to travel for work). When he got home at 3am, there wasn't a dinner waiting for him in the fridge. The thing was that a) I assumed that if he was staying that late, or just sleeping at his work, which was a likelihood, he would go and get himself something to eat for dinner or at least call in for pizza, rather than going from 1pm (after lunch) until 3am without food. He says he didn't have time to get food and I should have asked him if he wanted food when he last called me at 9:45pm to stay he might not come home at all. And I suppose I should have. But I was caught up with doing laundry and working (because I had to leave work early that day to pick up the kids from their respective daycares - it was a two-hour round trip, whereas if he got off work at a normal time, I might only have to pick up one child and not leave so early). So I didn't think about it. And there weren't leftovers from our dinner because, in an attempt to fast, we just had peanut butter sandwiches and carrots.

My marriage does largely get ignored (frankly, by both of us - I don't really care about having any attention from him, I'm too tired - both from life duties and some health issues and being busy, but I know that is not healthy).

I live in fear that I will be fired from work (because most everyone I work with is completely devoted to their job), so almost every spare minute of my life is devoted to doing that, or cooking or cleaning, or now my Masters Degree (I am only doing one course per term for that, and I need to, because the only way I can keep my new position, which I am happy with and less negatively stressed with, is to be doing a Masters). I do try to spend some time with my kids, and do also need to spend time to ensure that they (well, at least the 4.5 year old) gets to participate in some sports activities (we don't have a yard so...). So here is the sin of not trusting in God, and I cannot seem to get away from this. By the way, I do absolutely have to work - we own little (we live in a housing co-op to save money, that is we don't own), spend little (I buy most of my clothes from thrift stores) and rarely go out (and never go on vacations - although my husband is saving to go visit my mother-in-law overseas with our older child, but otherwise...). It's just an expensive place to live (and no, we cannot move elsewhere as then  job opportunities for both of us would largely disappear). We make a decent living, but it just seems to be the situation many people are in.

I also know that my parents would completely disrespect me for not working and be completely embarrassed by me (so the sin of pride is also something I can't shake). As it is they have a problem with the fact that I am only on a 70% contract right now (which is about 40 hours per week of work - in another two years I am required by my boss to go back to work full-time).

As a Christian I am to serve others - that just isn't happening. Well, yes, I do help people out at work, but then that's my job.


There are a myriad of other ways I am failing at Christianity. I've tried a variety of time-management ideas and ways to free up more time in my life, but I simply cannot squeeze anything in. The only thing I've really managed is to go from 5 hours of sleep a night last year to closer to 6.5 hours, and to get into a position at work with which I am far happier.

I do realize that my life is utterly charmed next to the vast majority of Christians in the history of Christianity. Somehow they made it work. I seem incapable of this.

Well, thank you for the opportunity to vent, and I apologize for foisting this upon you all. Perhaps I will be feeling less sorry for myself tomorrow...sigh!

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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2009, 08:01:37 PM »

kmm,

It's always good to get some things off one's chest.  Smiley Seems to me that it's perfectly natural for a young working Mum to feel tired, overwhelmed, and finding that she just can't cope, and I really think you need to talk to your spritual father about your faith crisis and fast issues. I would venture with some advice; which you can ignore if you like.

No one expects you to be superwoman; if they do they are bound to be disappointed; and you need to quickly deal with any unrealistic expectations. If you, yourself, have aspirations to be the "best", but lack the energy to acheive even half of what you believe that you should, you will be disappointed in yourself. If this is the case, and I'm not saying it is, you might need to lower your sights to a practical and accheivable goal. If I were you I would concentrate on the really important issues in your life; hubby and kids. That you are making it to Church at all is fantastic! Just keep doing that as often as possible until the gloom has lifted. We go through cycles; be kind to yourself when things are hard. Sometimes, the really grim experiences seem interminable; but they do come to an end. God is merciful.

As far as things like hubby needing a meal at an odd hour; keep something in the freezer that he can pop into the microwave. Also, it might pay to check with your doctor to see if you have health issues; low iron levels or something; a common complaint for young Mums.

Try to get some small time for yourself to recharge batteries.  And get some time with hubby to remind both of you that you are in this together. I know that's hard when things are economically tight and work has crazy schedules, but try for hour's walk in a park, leaving the kids with someone so you can focus on each other and remember why you are together. 

I feel for your situation and wish you all the best.

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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2009, 11:39:37 PM »

Hugs, Kmm!

A lot of good advice there from Riddi!

Truly, we all have our crosses to bear, no matter what our lot in life may be.

Such a shame that women can't be permitted to stay at home-I remember my mother being completely swamped in work and she didn't even work away from home! There was always so much work just caring for the four of us children and all the gardening, canning, cooking, cleaning and sewing. Whew.  I truly don't know how working mothers cope.

I don't have any advice, but it really is helpful sometimes to be able to vent...I know I've done it many a time myself...Sad I hope things will get better and that you won't have to feel so overwhelmed. It hurts me so much that our world is so cruel,competitive and demanding that we can't just calmly and restfully be who we are meant to be.
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kmm
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2009, 12:38:31 AM »

Thank you so much Riddikulus and Rosehip!

I really appreciate your kind words, your ideas/help, and your willingness to listen and your patience in allowing me to vent (I really don't have anyone else to vent to, except God of course).
 Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2009, 01:12:19 AM »


Faith development, salvation, and marriage are journeys.  Sometimes on these journeys it will seem that you have arrived at a dead-end, but it is not necessarily the end.  Don’t give up on your faith or marriage.  Find a supportive priest soon to help you nourish your faith and your marriage.
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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2009, 07:26:30 AM »

I think today's Epistle reading (2 Thess 3:6-18) really applies here. The Apostle Paul encourages Christians to work as he did "with labor and toil night and day...but as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good." Learning to set and keep priorities really is difficult. Most of us have experienced an unbalance of priorities at some point or season of our lives. I can only echo the advice of others that you enlist your priest's help to find the balance you need for yourself and your family.
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 11:10:12 AM »

Dear Kmm,

From what you wrote, it seems to me that you ARE serving others pretty much all the time, so you ARE a wonderful Christian!

I admire people like yourself, and wish you all the best.

G.
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2009, 12:49:47 PM »

From what you wrote, it seems to me that you ARE serving others pretty much all the time, so you ARE a wonderful Christian!
I agree, I think you are doing better than you think.
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2009, 01:51:05 PM »

I had much the same concerns recently when I felt like all I do is go to work, wrestle with children, rinse, and repeat.  However, my priest pointed out that while daily prayer, fasting, etc. is important it's also the mundane work that allows us to show our families love, kindness, patience, self-control.  Nothing says all of that quite like maintaining your sanity while dinner is burning on the stove and you still manage to comfort the kid who just walked into the kitchen table for the umpteenth time because she's suddenly tall enough to reach it.  In short, live out what you believe.  I sympathize with you, being a mom of two small kids and working full time; it feels like there's not enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done, let alone spending any quality time connecting with your family. 

On fasting, you mentioned that some fasting foods seem to take a long time to make or are unpalatable to your family.  I use my crockpot during fasting times more than any other time just because I can plop in some veggies with some vegetable stock and have a good soup that I barely had to look at.  Baked potatoes are also a staple in our house, along with rice and veggie stir fries which take about 15 minutes of prep time and maybe 5 of cook time.  Hopefully your family will be a little accomodating about mealtimes, but if not you can always cook something for them like chicken and veggies and just skip eating the chicken. 

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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2009, 06:05:04 PM »

You know, it is funny that I was going to start a thread like that about me. About what a walking Christian fail I am and how I have fallen from the Heavens. It just feels that  I'm not close to God anymore, though I am still certain about Christ's Resurrection.

Recently, I heard some random priest (with Cyprian accent) on the radio saying that there is no greatest sin than to despair our of guilt, thinking that God will not forgive you. It is an insult to God, the greatest of all insults. God is love and by saying that He may not forgive your sins, you're just denying His Essence; you're denying His love, His sacrifice. So, don't worry about that. I think guilts are natural, we all feel ashamed for our sins and everyone in this forum is struggling. Repent. Do it over and over again. Someday, you'll get over certain sins - I hope, at least. Guilts show a truthful heart, that's what I know for sure.
I don't have a family, too young, but I still have to do my part in the household chores and school. I too feel that I can't handle all those together; friends, relatives, school, helping around and -of course- God. It's suffocating sometimes. And though you might sometimes have the time, you still feel exhausted or too "down" for God and friends.
For our own sake, our Church came up with the Jesus Prayer. Do not ever forget this. You sure have some time to waste when driving alone or doing nothing. Instead of wasting it on thoughts (which may, in the end, turn out to be very bad for your life), use it for God. You know how it goes; "Jesus Christ, have mercy on me - a sinner.", don't lose that chance. I rarely say the Jesus Prayer, I always forget it. But when I do remember it, I always seize the day.

I don't know how being married is, but I imagine that it's something great. If I were you, I would concetrate on my family first. Take time with your husband and children, that's what you're living for after all, right? But, again, I don't have that experience, so as to judge appropriately.

Who knows...? Maybe God has placed you in this family for a reason. Maybe you're that *something* that keeps the chain united. You're not the one who must be desperate, because, in the end, you may be the "hero".

For the end, take a glimpse over Romans 5:3-5. It was a help for me.

Sorry if, by any chance, I sounded dictative or if I was tiring. Have a good life, kmm. I hope you still have faith in prayers (not that they're not going to work if you don't Smiley). I wish you best luck. Be patient. Such situations do not change in a *poof*, but take time.
My two cents...and my prayers.
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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2009, 06:22:27 PM »


I agree with what everyone here has posted.

Kmm, relax.  You are doing fine.  We are all behind you.  You are not failing, and believe me God is there beside you, holding you up.
He understands your situation, and He is not going to judge you for not going to church every Sunday.

Do the best you can.  That's all He asks.

As for the fasting....it is better to keep the Faith and not fast, than to fast and lose your faith over it.

If fasting is causing major issues, don't fast from food.  After all, fasting is not all about "giving up" food, but, from curbing all our appetites and desire.  Getting a hold of our "wants".  That means less stress, less TV, fewer games, more patience with one another, not arguing back when someone is mean, but, holding one's tongue, etc.  Fast in your heart, and God will know.

As for your family and the pressure they are putting on you to work, well, that's their problem, not yours.  If you can get by with fewer hours at work and more hours for your family, do it.  You are the mother of those kids....and it's up to you to give those kids the memories and stability that they will look back at for their adult lives.

Most of all, don't give up.  Many folks are going through similar situations, and they can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But, it's there.  10 years from now, you won't even remember what you were so worried about.

Hang in there.

You are in my unworthy prayers.

Lord, have mercy!

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« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2009, 07:50:46 PM »

kmm, your post wasn't whining. I would never suggest to anyone they should ignore God, but it sounds as if you are thinking too much about whether or not you're a good Christian and not enough about your own self. God will care for you: He knows you are trying and that you need Him. You say you are tired; you mention your parents' expectations. To be honest you remind me of me of my own mum: feeling guilty for being tired (when we could see she was working virtually all her waking hours, and you describe the same), and feeling the need for others (eg. parents) to approve. But, you are holding your family together, bringing up your children, working, and doing a Master's degree! I was exhausted just doing the last of these!

You need to accept you're doing a lot. Prayer in action is not inferior to prayer in contemplation: you are obviously aware of how to be Christian. This is the time for you to remember that God will carry you are care for you.

I hope you can relax and forgive yourself a little - I am in awe of what you're able to do all at the same time.
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« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2009, 11:31:09 PM »

From what you wrote, it seems to me that you ARE serving others pretty much all the time, so you ARE a wonderful Christian!
I agree, I think you are doing better than you think.

I totally agree! God sees your great work every day and He understands! He knows your heart.
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2009, 03:14:38 AM »

I rarely fast - I do try but find that most fasting food that my family would even consider eating takes significant amounts of time to make or is quite costly (the largely pre-made expensive stuff from specialty grocers, which anyway contains too much tofu to eat with each meal for my comfort level because of estrogen mimicking issues).

It's peculiar that when Americans prepare vegetarian food, they think tofu must be some part of it. It's a pretty sure bet that the vast majority of the Orthodox world has never eaten tofu. If you want a protein-rich ingredient during fasting, go for buckwheat or lentils. Buckwheat tends to taste pretty gross to anyone who hasn't grown up with it, but lentils you can prepare in an Indian curry that doesn't take much time at all (set lentils to cook, do something else in the meantime, come back in 30 minutes and liberally douse it with spices) and will taste delicious. That kind of food is dirt cheap if you buy from an ethnic food market.
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« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2009, 03:16:59 AM »

Hummus is the new peanut butter.
Falafel is the new tofu.
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« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2009, 05:18:09 PM »

Wow!!!!

Thanks again everyone. You've all provided me with sound advice (excellent suggestions and things to think about) and the warm-fuzzies and it is a great help!

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