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Author Topic: Mature Convert Issue Advice  (Read 1508 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: November 24, 2011, 05:25:32 PM »

Warning everyone who is about to read this, this is a mature topic and little kids may want to steer away from this. Now that the warning is out let us begin.



As you all know, I'm a recent convert into the Orthodox Church, I am currently a catechumate right now. Anyway, I've been trying as hard as I can to observe all the practices and I find great joy in it; I read the Church Fathers and biblical readings, I cross myself, attend Church, try to give to the needy as much as I can even though I am only 15 and I try to spread Orthodoxy as much as possible. I always read and try to understand about our faith, I know more than some of the adult Orthodox Christians I know. But, I have some issues. I'm filled with sexual immorality, it affects my spiritual life because the shame makes me not want to pray, so I give up on praying, and I also feel guilty whenever I walk into the Parish because I know God wants me to stop, but I honestly cannot. It is too hard. I've been able to overcome nearly every other issue in my life but I cannot overcome this. Right now I am addicted to masturbation, I do it at least four times a day. I've had phone-sex in the past and my internet history is shameful if you know what I mean. On top of that, there are two really great girls I've known for a long time who think I am innocent and perfect, yet, I am taking advantage of both of them because I do not know which one I really want a relationship with so I just flirt and treat both of them romantically. I want to be clean, but it is really hard for me. Yet, I know I need to become clean. I am afraid God will take away the miracles He brought upon me if I do not repent and make a change. About a year ago I experienced the greatest miracle of my life and I know that He could just as easily take it away as He gave it and I do not want to lose it. I'm afraid I am deteriorating and not worthy anymore. I don't want to be forgotten.  Does anyone here have any advice. I've read St. Augustines's 'Confessions' and it is one of my favorite books and I admite him a lot because of our similarities, so, I chose him as my patron Saint and I have been praying to him asking him for guidance and to intercede for me, but, I stil struggle. Does anyone have any advice?
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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James, you have problemz.
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2011, 07:44:15 PM »

James,

Thank you for sharing however for this deep of spiritual issue, you need to discuss it with pastor or spiritual director. As a catechumen thta would be the specific priest or deacon who is guiding your catechumenate. I know that  this will be more helpful than pursuing this via a public forum and your spiritual director of your catechumenate will be able to incorparate readings, prauers, and intercessory suggestion that can help you to successfully win your battle.

Thomas
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2011, 07:57:40 PM »

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy.
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 12:47:01 AM »

James,

Thank you for sharing however for this deep of spiritual issue, you need to discuss it with pastor or spiritual director. As a catechumen thta would be the specific priest or deacon who is guiding your catechumenate. I know that  this will be more helpful than pursuing this via a public forum and your spiritual director of your catechumenate will be able to incorparate readings, prauers, and intercessory suggestion that can help you to successfully win your battle.

Thomas

I don't know how I could tell my Priest this. What if I get kicked out of the Parish? I'm scared.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 01:05:03 AM »

James,

Thank you for sharing however for this deep of spiritual issue, you need to discuss it with pastor or spiritual director. As a catechumen thta would be the specific priest or deacon who is guiding your catechumenate. I know that  this will be more helpful than pursuing this via a public forum and your spiritual director of your catechumenate will be able to incorparate readings, prauers, and intercessory suggestion that can help you to successfully win your battle.

Thomas

I don't know how I could tell my Priest this. What if I get kicked out of the Parish? I'm scared.
Relax, James, no need to be scared of being kicked out of the parish. It's not the first time any priest has had to advise a fifteen-year-old with raging hormones dealing with this consequence of adolescence.  Smiley
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 01:05:26 AM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2011, 01:21:18 AM »



Give it a rest the best you can. Don't worry about it too much. Your Priest was 15 once too. He will understand and help you.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 01:22:54 AM by Marc1152 » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2011, 01:37:49 AM »

I would think that most of what you are struggling with should be most understandable as typical adolescence manageable within basic confession. Once this is addressed within basic confession, your efforts continue as best as you can even though all of us will need to confess our sins all our lives. Personally I lost my faith (raised "mainline" Protestant) when in adolescence & did not regain it until turning 40 so I salute your perseverence. One note of caution: take care not to hurt either of those girls feelings since you are trying to set an example of being a Christian. Hope this can be of some help & taken with utmost caution  however vague or severely limited any wisdom I may even possibly offer.
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2011, 02:17:55 AM »

Pray and don't give up.  angel Many people have gone through this; you're not alone.

Most Holy Theotokos, pray for us.
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2011, 02:20:36 AM »

As others have suggested, please talk to your priest about this. You mention being afraid of being kicked out. I assure you that will not happen. It can be embarrassing to talk about this or other sins but I think you will find a discussion with the priest most helpful. They have heard and dealt with everything (pretty much) and can give amazing council.
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2011, 02:34:43 AM »

Thank you everyone for the counseling  Smiley I will talk to my Priest about everything this Sunday after Liturgy and hopefully get some guidance. Pray for me, I am a bit nervous.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2011, 03:04:38 AM »

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I don't know how I could tell my Priest this. What if I get kicked out of the Parish? I'm scared.

I can't speak for others here, but I have confessed sexual sins to my priest which are, in my mind, at least as egregious as the ones you outlined in your original post. You won't be kicked out of the parish—Orthodoxy is about healing and forgiveness. I'd echo those who have said that you should talk to the clergy overseeing your catechumenate.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us.
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2011, 03:19:50 AM »

 dear James, priests  love love love a heart felt repentance! seriously they do!go to your priest, the more open you are about everything that burdens your soul the greatest the joy of the priest will be over your repentance and he can give you the proper spiritual guidance as it applies to your life. what you have said here is beautiful! I am very humbled and instructed by it.  God bless you!
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2011, 03:30:05 AM »

I will talk to my Priest about everything this Sunday after Liturgy and hopefully get some guidance.

If you haven't scheduled this beforehand, I would recommend just trying to set up a time, as he may be quite busy after liturgy.  But if he can talk with you the same day, great!

Good on you for heeding the advice on here, even if it's a tad uncomfortable to do.
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2011, 10:59:56 AM »

Anyway, I've been trying as hard as I can to observe all the practices and I find great joy in it;

You're going to fail. We live in a sinful world and have a fallen nature. That's what confession is for once you are received into the Church. Don't despair, just keep trying. Falling down isn't what kills us, it's when we refuse to get back up.

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so I give up on praying, and I also feel guilty whenever I walk into the Parish because I know God wants me to stop, but I honestly cannot.


The worst thing you can do is give up. Incorporate a prayer of repentence into what you normally pray. Keep going to the liturgy, it can have a transformational effect, even on those who aren't receiving communion.

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I've been able to overcome nearly every other issue in my life but I cannot overcome this.


Everyone has issues that they deal with. Just try to do better.

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I'm afraid I am deteriorating and not worthy anymore.

In the liturgy we sing "Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise O Lord, that we may sing of Thy glory, for Thou hast made us worthy...". I was struggling with dealing with certain issues (I am still dealing with) before being received into the Church, then realized I was waiting to be perfect before coming to the place where I am supposed to be made perfect.

The best thing you can do is keep praying, keep going to liturgy, and talk to your priest. You go to church to be made perfect, not show off your perfection. Please don't let this drive you away from God. And try to recognize the girls as human beings created in the image and likeness of God.
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2011, 07:43:37 PM »

James,

You are repenting. By starting this thread, you're recognizing your brokenness, mourning over it, and striving to take up your cross. Salvation is a lifelong struggle, and many people will go to confession and confess the same sins over and over, some for years at a time before overcoming them. Others will confess some of the same sins until their dying breath. That is simply the truth of the fallen world. We struggle with our sins. Period. That struggle does not end.

You will not be "kicked out" of your parish for these things. Such thinking is nothing short of a lie from Satan himself. Our Lord is the Good Shepard that leaves the ninety-nine sheep and goes looking for the one which is lost. The Fathers teach us that the tears of repentance we shed in over our sins are our second baptism. There is nothing you can ever do, NOTHING, to get "kicked out" of the Church...the only way to leave Her is to separate yourself from Her with an unrepentant heart. You, obviously, are repenting. Speak with your priest about this, let him know your struggles. It is vital that you confront this sin with him. He will help you. As a matter of fact, he will most likely rejoice over your sincere repentance and contrition of heart. What you are struggling with is not unheard of...it is actually VERY common, especially among boys your age. It is sinful, yes, but to not despair! For such despondency will lead you only into deeper sin. Instead, stand firm in Christ, together with your priest, go boldly in confessing your sins (and be diligent about taking these things to confession once you're receiving into the Church as a communicant). The only way to keep moving after you fall down is to get back up. As one story goes, a man once asked one of a monk, "what do you do at the monastery?" The monk replied, "We fall down, then we get back up, then we fall down, then we get back up..." Remain steadfast in your faith, that is of utmost importance. To paraphrase the words of the priest to the penitent at the beginning of confession, "go boldly before our Lord and Savior, withholding nothing, that he may forgive you all of your transgressions..."

In short, we must strive to live a Christian life each day, starting over and doing our best. When we fall down, we repent and move on, not despairing over our sins but trusting in the mercy of God towards those with contrite hearts (as the Psalmist writes, "...a broken and contrite heart, thou wilt not despise").
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2011, 09:54:53 PM »

If this is the worst you can come up with, you need not worry. Your priest has heard worse, I promise.

...This isn't to say that confession (of some sort since you're in the catecumenate) isn't hard or even embarrassing, but if these issues are causing you this much guilt and trouble, you should seek pastoral advice.
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2011, 10:05:21 PM »

Thank you everyone for the counseling  Smiley I will talk to my Priest about everything this Sunday after Liturgy and hopefully get some guidance. Pray for me, I am a bit nervous.

Will do.  angel

Most Holy Theotokos, pray for us.
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« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2011, 10:47:07 PM »

JamesR,

It is good that you are going to speak with your priest. I can assure you that you are not the first one with that list of sins to confess. Many other people before you have had those same sins, or others very similar, that they brought to confession, and they were not kicked out.

I understand how it's hard to pray after committing certain sins. There were times when I would commit certain sins and not be able (or at least think that I wasn't able) to pray for days on end. It was all I could do just to make the sign of the cross with my hands and teeth clenched tightly, very slowly and forcefully. I get that completely.

Sexual sins have very deep roots in our lives, especially when it's been an issue for a lot of years. And those roots aren't dug up overnight. It can take many years of finding the true depths of those roots until we're able to really make good progress. I understand the guilt that you feel, but you must not despair. Unless God works a tremendous miracle in your life, you will likely fall again, and more than a few times. But we have to get back on our feet. God is not surprised by our sin. He knows what's in our hearts and he wants to help us overcome these things. That's one of the reasons why we have the sacrament of confession.

Your priest has heard it all. It will not surprise or shock him. I'll pray for you.
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« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2011, 11:17:10 PM »

James,

I feel your pain, I was in the same situation. How I overcame my addiction to pornography and masturbation is simply a mystery. The more I found myself closer to Christ, how shameful it was becoming just simply watching it. One night during my usual "routine" something "clicked" to where I felt nothing towards watching porn. I can't explain the feeling, the chain that grasped me had finally been broken.

The more you mature in your spiritual life, the easier it becomes to fight the passions from my experience. That's not to say I don't fall down on a daily basis, that I do, but taming the passions has become easier. It's more than a struggle, it's a fight even till our last breath. I hope the Lord gives you mercy in conquering your sins, and I will have you in my prayers.

I can't even attempt to go further than that since Benjamin the Red's post is quite marvelous, thank you Ben for your post.
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« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2011, 05:02:34 PM »

Confess to your priest. Pray when you don't feel like it. Stay on the path you are on.

On the practical side of this, identify what triggers the urges. If it's TV and you have a TV in your bedroom, remove it. If you find yourself mindlessly surfing the internet then get off the computer. Teens tend to hide in their bedrooms and the typical American Teen has access to TV and internet in their rooms. If those are your stimuli, you need to limit and\or change your access.
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« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2011, 05:53:21 PM »

Confess to your priest. Pray when you don't feel like it. Stay on the path you are on.

On the practical side of this, identify what triggers the urges. If it's TV and you have a TV in your bedroom, remove it. If you find yourself mindlessly surfing the internet then get off the computer. Teens tend to hide in their bedrooms and the typical American Teen has access to TV and internet in their rooms. If those are your stimuli, you need to limit and\or change your access.

This is good psychologicals.

Shape your environment. Shape your behavior.

One powerful and simple tool to be used in conjunct with others.

And another fine post by Benjamin.
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