Author Topic: Facing Worries and Uncertainty  (Read 1337 times)

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Offline CrystalMind

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Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« on: November 30, 2013, 08:49:30 PM »
Hello, all.

I’m not really new, but it’s been a crazy semester, so I haven’t been on in several months.

As a quick recap, I first started looking into Orthodoxy in the fall of 2011. After a great deal of reading (mostly online), I attended my first Divine Liturgy in March 2012. After attending services semi-regularly, and then with increasing frequency, I became a catechumen this past June.

Since becoming a catechumen, I have found myself increasingly challenged. The first couple weeks were easy, but as time has gone on I find myself discouraged. My desire to become an Orthodox Christian has not waned in the least, but I am increasingly conscious of my failures and flaws. My priest said that my baptism would occur when he and I both felt I was ready—but I am ever more uncertain of what that means.

To make matters more difficult, even though I know I shouldn’t be in a rush, I am graduating this coming May. Upon graduation, I will no longer be in the area. Finding a parish in my eventual location will (Lord willing) not be too much of a problem, but I find myself nearly terrified by the idea that I might still be a catechumen when I leave the area. This last might be irrational, but I don’t know how concerned I should be (if at all).

This post grows long, so I end simply:  “HELP!”

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013, 09:09:36 PM »
CrystalMind, focus on finishing school and making post-graduate plans.

Continue to attend services and work on your flaws and failures.

If you're still a cathechumen when you leave, you can be a cathechumen at your new location.

Above all, don't worry and don't be so hard on yourself.   :)

Offline stavros_388

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Re: Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2013, 09:22:40 PM »
I'd suggest that you explain to your priest that you feel ready and would like to be baptized before you graduate... if indeed you feel ready.

Offline Maria

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Re: Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2013, 10:32:13 PM »

Focus on your studies and beg God to guide you to provide the correct answers so that you can graduate.

If you and your priest do not feel that you are ready for baptism, do not worry. Leave that matter in God's hands. If you graduate and must move to another area, then ask the priest for a letter of recommendation so that it can be presented to your new pastor.

If you think you know where you might be living after you graduate, then by all means go and visit that priest ahead of time.

I knew one catechumen whose priest was dying with cancer. She certainly was worried that her time spent as a catechumen would not count for anything, but after relocating, she contacted the new priest who was very understanding, and who continued giving her instructions, and then baptized her within a few months. Because her prior priest encouraged her to continue in prayers and in reading the lives of the Saints, she was ready for baptism. The school of sanctity that is found in reading the lives of the saints is awesome. In addition, she found her patron saint through those readings.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 10:40:59 PM by Maria »
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline CrystalMind

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Re: Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 10:08:52 PM »
Thank you all for the advice and encouragement. You've talked me off the edge of a minor panic attack.

Offline serb1389

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Re: Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2013, 01:32:02 AM »
Many times these "attacks" come from the devil. If your have a good spiritual father who has been directing you that you really like, stick with him.  If he says to wait, do it.  If you have to get baptized somewhere else, talk through it with him. 

Offline hecma925

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Re: Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2013, 09:10:31 AM »
I was an inquirer for so long and I felt desperate to be baptized.  When I became a cetechumen, I realized I really don't know anything.  So, with my priest's help, I am just taking my time.  Overall, it has spanned almost 7 years in three different states, so don't feel bad.  You are in the faith.
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Offline orthodox4life

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Re: Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2013, 09:29:57 AM »
Don't be discouraged my friend. The fact that God is showing areas that you can improve is a good thing. The more of the world you purge the closer to Him you become. My parish priest used this analogy. When a room is dim and you gradually turn the light up the more you see. The closer we get to our Lord the same thing happens. What you're experiencing is exactly what we all need.
The true Orthodox way of thought has always been historical, has always included the past, but has never been enslaved by it. . . for the strength of the Church is not in the past, present, or future, but in Christ.

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Offline CrystalMind

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Re: Facing Worries and Uncertainty
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 12:09:41 AM »
Thank you all again for the encouragement. (sorry for the late response; I never saw email notifications?)

It has been... very difficult, these last few weeks. The line between discouragement and despondency is slippery. I'm not sure what else to say.

On an intellectual level, I can reason that my awareness of problem areas is an opportunity for growth (much as orthodox4life mentioned). On the other hand--perhaps emotionally speaking--it's difficult to believe that growth is possible. Now, I do know that it is, but it's different from knowing in the sense of knowing deep down.

In any case, I do appreciate the encouragement. Thank you all again, so very much.