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NightOwl
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« on: March 14, 2013, 07:39:01 PM »

I've been going through another dry spell on my journey to Orthodoxy, and I feel like I won't be able to make it through Lent unless I snap out of it ASAP. Can anyone share some inspirational stories, videos, verses, fire-and-brimstone sermons, etc. that has helped them through similar slumps?
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2013, 07:55:33 PM »

I've been going through another dry spell on my journey to Orthodoxy, and I feel like I won't be able to make it through Lent unless I snap out of it ASAP. Can anyone share some inspirational stories, videos, verses, fire-and-brimstone sermons, etc. that has helped them through similar slumps?

Have you gone for a long walk?
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 08:18:25 PM »

Dry spells are natural. In my experience, they pass if I don't dwell on them. If I just keep going to church and praying as I am able, I not only get through them, but I benefit from them. Those times when you're not feeling inspired, when you feel far from God, when it feels nothing's really going on, that's usually when God is doing his secret work in us. Those times of consolation and joy--that's the fluff, not the engineering.

If reading something would help, "Everyday Saints" has all sorts of stories. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be amazed. It's on Kindle now, too. http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Saints-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B00AZM6MM8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363306845&sr=8-1&keywords=everyday+saints
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 08:43:22 PM »

I've been going through another dry spell on my journey to Orthodoxy, and I feel like I won't be able to make it through Lent unless I snap out of it ASAP. Can anyone share some inspirational stories, videos, verses, fire-and-brimstone sermons, etc. that has helped them through similar slumps?

Have you gone for a long walk?

Every day.

Dry spells are natural. In my experience, they pass if I don't dwell on them. If I just keep going to church and praying as I am able, I not only get through them, but I benefit from them. Those times when you're not feeling inspired, when you feel far from God, when it feels nothing's really going on, that's usually when God is doing his secret work in us. Those times of consolation and joy--that's the fluff, not the engineering.

If reading something would help, "Everyday Saints" has all sorts of stories. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be amazed. It's on Kindle now, too. http://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Saints-Other-Stories-ebook/dp/B00AZM6MM8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363306845&sr=8-1&keywords=everyday+saints

Thanks for the input. I actually have that book, I'll try diving back into it. I've been trying to tackle heavier theological stuff but I think it's worth returning to something lighter every so often.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 08:46:31 PM by NightOwl » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 09:17:34 PM »

Thanks for the input. I actually have that book, I'll try diving back into it. I've been trying to tackle heavier theological stuff but I think it's worth returning to something lighter every so often.

Perhaps this is a contributing factor; I know it has been for me in the past. Give the theology a break for a while and just focus on living your faith (prayer, church, etc.) for a time, and maybe come back to the theology when your dry spell's subsided.
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2013, 10:44:01 PM »

I've been going through another dry spell on my journey to Orthodoxy, and I feel like I won't be able to make it through Lent unless I snap out of it ASAP. Can anyone share some inspirational stories, videos, verses, fire-and-brimstone sermons, etc. that has helped them through similar slumps?

Have you gone for a long walk?

Every day.

Good!   Smiley

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NightOwl
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 10:58:34 PM »

Thanks for the input. I actually have that book, I'll try diving back into it. I've been trying to tackle heavier theological stuff but I think it's worth returning to something lighter every so often.

Perhaps this is a contributing factor; I know it has been for me in the past. Give the theology a break for a while and just focus on living your faith (prayer, church, etc.) for a time, and maybe come back to the theology when your dry spell's subsided.

Yes it's "living the faith" I'm struggling with-- it's mostly just laziness, unfortunately. I'm starting to understand the necessity of "accountability" in one's life, i.e. to a spouse or a monastic father, even though I don't see my status of single (nearly-)college grad changing anytime soon.
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 08:04:54 PM »

Thanks for the input. I actually have that book, I'll try diving back into it. I've been trying to tackle heavier theological stuff but I think it's worth returning to something lighter every so often.

Perhaps this is a contributing factor; I know it has been for me in the past. Give the theology a break for a while and just focus on living your faith (prayer, church, etc.) for a time, and maybe come back to the theology when your dry spell's subsided.

Yes it's "living the faith" I'm struggling with-- it's mostly just laziness, unfortunately. I'm starting to understand the necessity of "accountability" in one's life, i.e. to a spouse or a monastic father, even though I don't see my status of single (nearly-)college grad changing anytime soon.

When I am in such a state of mind, I try reading the lives of the Saints and those who have gone through what I am going...or look at some inspirational videos...
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 10:21:36 PM »

Quote
Thanks for the input. I actually have that book, I'll try diving back into it. I've been trying to tackle heavier theological stuff but I think it's worth returning to something lighter every so often.
Definitely do, Everyday Saints is amazing.

I find that heavy theological works are not the greatest for dragging me out of a rut. It's better to read them on my "high"s than in my "low"s.
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2013, 10:42:02 PM »

I've been going through another dry spell on my journey to Orthodoxy, and I feel like I won't be able to make it through Lent unless I snap out of it ASAP. Can anyone share some inspirational stories, videos, verses, fire-and-brimstone sermons, etc. that has helped them through similar slumps?

Read the lives of the Neo-Martyrs in Russia during communism.

Those stories really helped me.

Pick up a copy of Archimandrite Lazarus Moore's biography of St. Seraphim of Sarov.
That is one awesome book that will provide you with hours of inspiration.

Also read the biographies of St. Nectarios of Aegina. This saint endured persecution from his own brothers in Christ. We are sinners and sometimes our own brothers and sisters in Orthodoxy can scandalize us. However, we must pray for strength from Christ to become stronger and help them through our prayers.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 10:43:07 PM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2013, 03:25:18 AM »

Fire and brimstone sermon: Take it easy!  Smiley Honestly, I mean it in a fire and brimstone way.
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2013, 05:47:45 AM »

Thanks for the input. I actually have that book, I'll try diving back into it. I've been trying to tackle heavier theological stuff but I think it's worth returning to something lighter every so often.

Perhaps this is a contributing factor; I know it has been for me in the past. Give the theology a break for a while and just focus on living your faith (prayer, church, etc.) for a time, and maybe come back to the theology when your dry spell's subsided.

Yes it's "living the faith" I'm struggling with-- it's mostly just laziness, unfortunately. I'm starting to understand the necessity of "accountability" in one's life, i.e. to a spouse or a monastic father, even though I don't see my status of single (nearly-)college grad changing anytime soon.

i agree with nephi.
can you talk to a priest about it? i mean like going for confession before you are orthodox (you sound like a catechumen)?
you don't have to do the full sacramental confession, but maybe ask your priest if you can meet up once a month for a quick chat about the state of your spiritual life, with a prayer afterwards.
i did this for about a year before i was orthodox, it was amazingly helpful.

even now i remain the only orthodox Christian in my (small or extended) family, so i understand what it is like to not have many people to talk to about my spiritual life, this is why a chat with a priest (or with an older very peaceful member of the church, if your priest is not available) is very helpful in directing us towards growth.
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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 05:00:15 PM »

just focus on living your faith (prayer, church, etc.) for a time

This is what has been so compelling about Orthodoxy to me. My "feelings" at any given time almost don't matter. Feelings are by nature transitory and wax and wane, just like in marriage. But the plan, the direction, the focus on living the faith is always there, even when I don't "feel" particularly "spiritual," or am going through a dry spell.
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2013, 06:24:55 PM »

just focus on living your faith (prayer, church, etc.) for a time

This is what has been so compelling about Orthodoxy to me. My "feelings" at any given time almost don't matter. Feelings are by nature transitory and wax and wane, just like in marriage. But the plan, the direction, the focus on living the faith is always there, even when I don't "feel" particularly "spiritual," or am going through a dry spell.

I agree as well.  It's easier said than done, but I know it--living the faith--is out there, even when I'm not doing it.

I hope the advice to read about saints lives is beneficial for you, NightOwl.  At times though, I find these of limited use (disclaimer: I'm not familiar with the "everyday saints" book), as people living the faith under exceptionally difficult circumstances don't reflect the perceived banality that becomes one of my greatest challenges. I hope I'm not overly projecting my own issues onto this thread or cutting down other advice, but rather adding a different perspective.

My priest's homily this past Sunday was on the topic and importance of endurance mentioned in Hebrews (Chapter 10 and 12 for example).  He focused particularly on the active effort of enduring, not only through difficulty but through dry periods.  So the Letter to the Hebrews would be my recommendation for inspiration.  Similarly, the removal of the spirit of faintheartedness and request for patience made in the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem reflects the difficulties you (along with many of us) may be experiencing.

Best wishes though.
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2013, 12:33:37 PM »

"Father Arseny" is a very inspirational read, check it out http://www.manastir-lepavina.org/arhiva/novosti/index.php/engtext/detaljnije/father_arseny/
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2013, 02:03:36 PM »

Lives of the saints help me.
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2013, 04:44:25 PM »

yay!
father arseny!
randomly found a book about him in the orthodox section of the catholic bookshop near the london catholic cathedral, a really inspirational saint.
 Smiley
thanks for linking to more stuff about him.
(not sure if he's an official saint yet, but he really lived what he preached and brought many to God and suffered a lot for his faith under communism in russia, so i expect he will be soon.)
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2013, 06:23:17 PM »

quote from nikolai sergeev's link a few posts up:
"The Stalin years (1924-1953) were particularly dark ones in the history of the Soviet Union...

Since the fall of the Soviet regime, it has been revealed that six hundred bishops, forty thousands priests, and one hundred twenty thousand monks and nuns were killed during this period. Many of these died in the harsh conditions of prison or labor camp; others were shot or buried alive. By the end of Stalin’s dictatorship, only some two hundred priests remained active in the Soviet Union."

wow.
 Cry

i knew it was bad (east european husband) but i didn't realise the scale of it before.
holy martyrs, pray for us and especially for your children in the communist and ex communist lands, before the throne of glory.
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2013, 09:59:10 AM »

Do you remember when your parents used to say, "Be thankful for what you have?" My advice is to attend the local Evangelical church. That will make you appreciate being in the Church and adhering to the Apostolic Faith.
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« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2013, 12:22:03 PM »

i knew it was bad (east european husband) but i didn't realise the scale of it before.

Yep, mabsoota. During the hardest times (1937-1943) there remained only about 100 functional churches in Russia. For comparison, before the Revolution (1917) there were more than 1500 only in Moscow.
Communism is devil's invention indeed..
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 12:22:40 PM by Nikolai Sergeev » Logged
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