OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 02, 2014, 07:29:55 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Vanity, despair, struggle, backfire, hypocrisy, piety, service and God's will  (Read 1041 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
GTAsoldier
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: God knows what lives in me in place of me....
Posts: 443


GTAsoldier
« on: January 23, 2012, 09:48:14 PM »

I really don't know where to go with all of this. It's like I'm making very decent progress in my internal spiritual life and trying to make that manifest in my exterior. I pray whenever I get the chance when thoughts assault me. Temptations come across my way and while I try to not give in, other bad things happen to me and those around me that I end up in despair. I don't try to look for feelings anymore. I try to be self-denying and not self-seeking, but there are moments where the back of my mind is saying that I should "get something" out of what I'm doing. It's like what I'm doing with myself and others may be pious but end up vain when sh*t hits the fan and everything backfires on me.

I keep trying to repel these moments with prayer, but I get uncertain of how I'm handling myself socially, emotionally and spiritually. I've gotten used to people praising me because I've done things just for praise and to "move forward" and not disappoint anybody at the risk of being chastised. So I've became defensive, holding my guard up as a way of staying sane not trying to conform to no man's image. But even then I suffer.

At times like these, I often wonder what God has in store for me. Like, what is His will? Does He want me to be happy, or to suffer? Does he want me to make friends or to be a loner? Does He want me to struggle with my passions or does he want me to overcome them?

What say ye?

- GTA
Logged

God be merciful to us sinners.

Quote from: IoanC
the best way of conveying God's love to people is through your own presence and deeds.
No longer posting on this forum. Thanks to all the helpful people who inspired me. God bless.
dzheremi
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 4,326


« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2012, 11:04:51 PM »


At times like these, I often wonder what God has in store for me. Like, what is His will? Does He want me to be happy, or to suffer? Does he want me to make friends or to be a loner? Does He want me to struggle with my passions or does he want me to overcome them?

What say ye?

- GTA

My heart is with you in prayer and struggle, my friend. I can't think of anything to say but to the last part, which reminded me immediately of the holy female ascetic of the Egyptian desert, Amma Syncletica, who is recorded in the sayings of the Desert Fathers to have said the following:

'In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God, and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek (as it is said: "Our God is a consuming fire"). So we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.'

I wish if only for the sake of giving an easy answer that there were some other way, but truthfully there isn't. Through your struggle in prayer and fasting, you can overcome the passions. Centuries upon centuries of people in similar positions have proven this. St. John Kolobos (St. John the Dwarf) is probably my model in this, though there are certainly many more: St. Antony the Great, St. Moses the Black, St. Mary of Egypt, etc. All faced great trials of various kinds, and all overcame them and achieved true happiness with the Lord. You can do so too.
Logged

biro
Excelsior
Site Supporter
Warned
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 13,645


Και κλήρονομον δείξον με, ζωής της αιωνίου

fleem
WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 12:48:02 AM »

Lord have mercy.
Logged

Charlie Rose: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Fran Lebowitz: Everything. There is not one thing with which I am satisfied.

http://spcasuncoast.org/
JamesRottnek
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Anglican
Jurisdiction: Episcopal Diocese of Arizona
Posts: 5,121


I am Bibleman; putting 'the' back in the Ukraine


« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 01:12:01 AM »

GTA, I really don't know how to answer you, except to say that you aren't alone.  There are a multitude of people struggling with the same things as you.
Logged

I know a secret about a former Supreme Court Justice.  Can you guess what it is?

The greatest tragedy in the world is when a cigarette ends.

American Spirits - the eco-friendly cigarette.

Preston Robert Kinney (September 8th, 1997-August 14, 2011
Riddikulus
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Posts: 4,788



« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 02:34:55 AM »

GTA, if you are able, talk to your priest.
Logged

I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)
Tgebar
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antioch
Posts: 84


This is the edge now, it's all we're living for.


« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 07:44:48 AM »

Your emotions are much like the physical states of your body in that they are often more so dependent on your environment then the state of your soul. I often have encountered peers and read of people who so strongly associate emotion with their philosophical perspective that they render themselves completely unable to adhere to any sort of consistent principle due to the fact that as soon as their emotions change, their values change with them.

My advice is to avoid consideration of such things as God's plan for you, or the state of your salvation, or soul. What is better is to focus on the immediate, as the present is the point at which time touches eternity. If you are focusing on the immediate, it's only logical that the object of your thoughts when praying, i.e. what you should be asking forgiveness for and the strength to be able to overcome, should be daily struggles, thoughts, and feelings. For example, pray for help in not snapping at your friends or family even if they really deserve a piece of your mind, and when you do pray for such things do not judge the success of your relationship with God in prayer by how strongly you feel the feeling you hope to invoke; in fact, don't hope to invoke a feeling at all! Prayer, and the Faith in general, even Christianity in general is outwardly focused, that is focused outwardly unto our Heavenly Father. Try your best when you pray to actually mean to ask the Lord for help, instead of actually meaning that you want to feel a certain feeling of inspiration or contentment or forgiveness. We don't seek to feel forgiven, we seek to ask the Lord for forgiveness. I know that sounds confusing, but trust me, I think it will help.

It's important to remember that as everything we encounter is a gift from God, so do we seek to offer every aspect of our life unto God. Every activity you engage in, every thought you have, every breath and every step you take is a sacrifice offered. Do not despair if you are constantly assailed by temptation or vanity, rejoice! You have been given a great opportunity to offer bountiful acts of piety unto God. Dash every demon from your mind with rigor, immediately and without consideration as to why you should or how you did so, and when you do remember that you are offering a gift unto your Lord and Savior.

The Catholic Faith offers almost innumerable tools to assist you in this great endeavor of making everything into an offering unto our Heavenly Father, make use of them! Religiously (Wink) say blessings before and after meals, before and after traveling, before and after any work, and before and after any lessons. Pray often! If you can't think of any prayers, the prayer of the heart and the Lord's prayer will do. As has been said in this thread, a priest can greatly assist you in best utilizing these tools.

But even outside of the Church militant in its material manifestations we have such tools, things that prepare our minds for the outward focus upon the ultimately outward Lord. Loving others is perhaps the greatest of such tools, as is doing good works, and the two often go hand in hand. I want to clarify that when you love others, you should keep in mind that doing this means loving them in the best sense possible, the outward and immediate sense. Care for their infirmities, help them with their struggles, console them in their sorrows. Don't get caught up in the trap of 'doing what is best for them' by condemning them or trying to shape their values in order to save their soul. You know the drill, don't judge!

You will do fine friend, because our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has infinite mercy and forgiveness.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 07:59:16 AM by Tgebar » Logged

Smiley
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,321



« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 11:47:25 AM »

Something that has sustained me in my struggles is a conversation that I had with a priest, who told me that we don't necessarily have to know or understand the Plan, we just have to do the next right thing. And the next. And the next...
For me, figuring out the next right thing is hard enough!
You'll be in my prayers.
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
GTAsoldier
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: God knows what lives in me in place of me....
Posts: 443


GTAsoldier
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2012, 11:49:08 AM »

Thank you, Tgebar and everyone else.

Also, I e-mailed the Orthodox Priest regarding this matter last night. I've been getting in contact with him since last year. I hope to hear from him soon.
Logged

God be merciful to us sinners.

Quote from: IoanC
the best way of conveying God's love to people is through your own presence and deeds.
No longer posting on this forum. Thanks to all the helpful people who inspired me. God bless.
quietmorning
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,239


St. Photini


WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2012, 08:32:58 PM »

I really don't know where to go with all of this. It's like I'm making very decent progress in my internal spiritual life and trying to make that manifest in my exterior. I pray whenever I get the chance when thoughts assault me. Temptations come across my way and while I try to not give in, other bad things happen to me and those around me that I end up in despair. I don't try to look for feelings anymore. I try to be self-denying and not self-seeking, but there are moments where the back of my mind is saying that I should "get something" out of what I'm doing. It's like what I'm doing with myself and others may be pious but end up vain when sh*t hits the fan and everything backfires on me.

I keep trying to repel these moments with prayer, but I get uncertain of how I'm handling myself socially, emotionally and spiritually. I've gotten used to people praising me because I've done things just for praise and to "move forward" and not disappoint anybody at the risk of being chastised. So I've became defensive, holding my guard up as a way of staying sane not trying to conform to no man's image. But even then I suffer.

At times like these, I often wonder what God has in store for me. Like, what is His will? Does He want me to be happy, or to suffer? Does he want me to make friends or to be a loner? Does He want me to struggle with my passions or does he want me to overcome them?

What say ye?

- GTA

GTA, I've read this several times - and have been praying for several days - because there are a lot of things I could say. . . but after thinking about it, I don't know that they would be helpful. . .there are only three things out of all the other things that I am going to say - and I hope they are helpful.  If they are not, please forgive me . . .I am and will continue to pray for you.

The first is a reminder that Our Lord came to give us life and give us life FULLY.  Full life is heartache, it's joy, its every experience that you could possibly experience - WITH Him by your side, filling you giving you the richness of every single one.   Sometimes He is very very quiet, sometimes He is so gloriously THERE. . . Your heart will break if you want life in fullness.  I hope you do, as He came to give it to you. . .but you will also know love in a way you never knew before - as He is the only one that can show this to you.  So. . .the first one is that life is full. . .another word would be complete. . ".another word would be 'perfect' . . .because He is full. . . He is . . complete. . .He is 'perfect'.

The second is a question - do you pray when you are not being attacked?  I really want to suggest to you that you go on the offensive and get out of the defensive.  If you can manage getting to the point where you are praying all day with your heart - you will be on the offensive and they will come and you will be able to ignore them.  

The third is your life is just beginning.  And I know that sound quaint. . .but it's so true.  You have extraordinary experiences yet to live through - things to see and witness that you haven't witnessed yet.  This struggle?  I hope, I SINCERELY hope that you STRUGGLE every day for the rest of your life. . .because it's when you no longer struggle that you fail to go from strength to strength. . .from glory to glory.  You will get tired. . .you will want to quit. . .keep pushing . . .keep fighting like Jacob with the Angel all night and do not give up. . .you will be greatly rewarded.  

I am praying. . .and looking forward to finding out one day what His intent is for you. . . I know it's extraordinary. . .as His intent is for all of us.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2012, 08:34:46 PM by quietmorning » Logged

In His Mercy,
BethAnna
GTAsoldier
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: God knows what lives in me in place of me....
Posts: 443


GTAsoldier
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2012, 11:50:38 PM »

The first is a reminder that Our Lord came to give us life and give us life FULLY.  Full life is heartache, it's joy, its every experience that you could possibly experience - WITH Him by your side, filling you giving you the richness of every single one.   Sometimes He is very very quiet, sometimes He is so gloriously THERE. . . Your heart will break if you want life in fullness.  I hope you do, as He came to give it to you. . .but you will also know love in a way you never knew before - as He is the only one that can show this to you.  So. . .the first one is that life is full. . .another word would be complete...another word would be 'perfect' . . .because He is full. . . He is . . complete. . .He is 'perfect'.

I guess I need to digest this notion more often.

Do you pray when you are not being attacked?  I really want to suggest to you that you go on the offensive and get out of the defensive.  If you can manage getting to the point where you are praying all day with your heart - you will be on the offensive and they will come and you will be able to ignore them.  

Yes I do pray when I'm not attacked. Oftentimes, I say the Jesus Prayer out loud, in my head, or in my heart as soon as the thought of praying passes me by. It helps me to remember God in general.

The third is your life is just beginning.  And I know that sound quaint. . .but it's so true.  You have extraordinary experiences yet to live through - things to see and witness that you haven't witnessed yet.  This struggle?  I hope, I SINCERELY hope that you STRUGGLE every day for the rest of your life. . .because it's when you no longer struggle that you fail to go from strength to strength. . .from glory to glory.  You will get tired. . .you will want to quit. . .keep pushing . . .keep fighting like Jacob with the Angel all night and do not give up. . .you will be greatly rewarded.

I'll try to do my best. I just want some God in my life. I don't want to struggle just for heaven's sake or to avoid hell (as I've lived most of my life until now). I realize that if I had gone further in doing it just to "gain a reward", I won't be getting it. I'm reminded of this poem made by Rumi:

O lord!

If I worship You from fear of Hell, Cast me into Hell.

If I worship You from desire for Paradise, deny me Paradise.

but if i worship You for your own sake

then withhold not from me your Eternal Beauty


I am praying. . .and looking forward to finding out one day what His intent is for you. . . I know it's extraordinary. . .as His intent is for all of us.

Thank you, quietmoring.

- GTA
Logged

God be merciful to us sinners.

Quote from: IoanC
the best way of conveying God's love to people is through your own presence and deeds.
No longer posting on this forum. Thanks to all the helpful people who inspired me. God bless.
peteprint
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Posts: 704



« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 02:26:48 AM »

My prayers are with you.  Lord have mercy.
Logged
Benjamin the Red
Recovering Calvinist
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Catholic
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America, Diocese of Dallas and the South ||| American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese
Posts: 1,601


Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me.


« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 01:39:24 PM »

This is true Christianity and spiritual growth. I have no words of advice. I'm not a priest and I'm certainly not above your situation, I'm in the thick of it with you! May God continue to overshadow you and guide you. Narrow is the road and small is the gate that leads to life...Kyrie, eleison.
Logged

"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy
JamesR
Virginal Chicano Blood
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox (but doubtful)
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church *of* America
Posts: 5,689


St. Augustine of Hippo pray for me!


« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2012, 06:47:29 AM »

What God wants is what is best for you; whether it be suffering, happiness or something else. I would recommend reading my conversion story, it may be able to help you. Moving on, you should know that whatever God has planned for you, there is no point trying to fight it or being worried about it; it is for the better. Sometimes you have to take things one at a time. I would recommend most of all praying about the desire to gain things out of your good actions. Vainglory is a very dangerous thing, in fact, I was just reading one of St. John Chrysostom's homilies about it, and basically, you should not be vainglorious or else you will not gain anything at all, in fact, you will ruin what you have through pride and desire. Doing a good thing for the wrong reason means nothing, and it is also very disrespectful. Abusing a great virtue so that it can be used to aid our personal ambitions is like forcing a young virgin to be a prostitute. Virtue deserves respect. My biggest advice is prayer and to talk to your Priest; I not know everything going on in your life and I am just a catechumen, but I am sure that praying will help, along with whatever your Priest tells you.
Logged

Quote
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.
Quote
James, you have problemz.
GTAsoldier
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: God knows what lives in me in place of me....
Posts: 443


GTAsoldier
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2012, 02:22:54 PM »

Thank you James.
Logged

God be merciful to us sinners.

Quote from: IoanC
the best way of conveying God's love to people is through your own presence and deeds.
No longer posting on this forum. Thanks to all the helpful people who inspired me. God bless.
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,321



« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2012, 04:51:24 PM »

I agree that we should struggle against vainglory and that it is dangerous, but we should not avoid or neglect to do good, even if our motives are base or even mixed. Do the next right thing, and to God be the glory!
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
Tags: struggle  despair vanity  backfire  hypocrisy  piety  Service  will of God 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.077 seconds with 41 queries.