Struggling to remain in faith...

Discussion in 'New Members Welcome' started by alexmarie15, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. I don't know if this will do any good, or if I can even explain in great enough detail how difficult it is to remain a believing Christian. Between being institutionalized at multiple points in my late teens-early 20s, praying for guidance and never receiving it, long bouts of atheism, short spurts of intense belief, and even longer periods of absolute confusion, staying open to the Christian teachings seems almost impossible. Praying feels like a chore and it elevates my anxiety. Not praying triggers guilt. I have given up trying to read the bible everyday, and I have, sadly for my faith, come to the conclusion that even if all the tenets in Christianity are true, I'm better off distancing myself from the religion. I don't want to do it, and something still draws me to Christianity, but my mental health and happiness deteriorate when I devote myself to God and Christianity. If it wasn't a big deal, I wouldn't be posting here, but it is. I want to not be defensive towards God, but for many reasons, there is a wall I have built between us. I will never truly be an atheist, or even agnostic, but I am becoming a believer who truly doesn't care about praying or reading the bible, or even trying to not deliberately sin. I am starting down a path that is selfish, because I feel God is uncaring and unable to have any say in my life. It sounds silly, but that's how it feels when I pray; absolutely empty. I even think that being punished for feeling this way is a sign I just shouldn't even try with Christianity. On top of all of this, I'm philosophical in nature and a natural thinker, so most answers don't suffice my needs. If anyone has any book suggestions that will aid with biblical texts and dealing with immense doubt, I'd be grateful. I have read Lewis and other Christian thinkers and am grateful for their works, but it seems to only be a bandaid to my deep seeded issues.

    Sorry if this doesn't flow well, I am on my lunch break trying to make sense of everything I've been thinking and feeling lately.

    I appreciate all answers.
  2. Christianity, when viewed as a religion is powerless and a waste of time. However, faith in Jesus Christ involves developing an intimate relationship with the living Jesus. Start there, and let Him impress upon you how you should live your life. He doesn't pressure you to conform to a bible-reading regimen, or anything like that! Religion does! Religiosity erects walls.

    We can break free by getting alone with God and just laying it all out before Him---He knows your thoughts and He knows exactly what you need. Let Him show us how to walk by faith in Jesus. Ask Him to come into your life, and to live His life in and through you. He will do it, and empower you! Accept His forgiveness for your sins, and accept His new life He desires to give you. You will find your thinking to be much more insightful and clear.

    Never mind Christian thinkers. Get into the bible and know God's mind about things. He will direct your thoughts.

    Complete and alexmarie15 say Amen and like this.
  3. It is always unwise to have a belief in something with out having some kind of "proof" as to why we believe. Faith is that which gives us the proof that God exists, and that he truly does care for us, and our well being. I am wondering have you ever been diagnosed with having "bipolar" disorder, or being manic depressive? If you have that would explain a lot of things about what you have said. As a Christian we are already being attacked from the outside by wicked spirits in the heavenly realm, but we also have a "carnal" physical mind that is the enemy of God inside us. My wife has been diagnosed as being "bipolar" and what you have said is exactly what she has experienced in the past (and me too) . She is taking certain medications that greatly help her in being able to think more normally, as we are waiting for the manifestation of her healing.
    Even if you are not in a condition like my wife, the devil certainly tries to cause us to think in ways that create a "image" of uselessness, so that we have no hope of being happy in the things of God. The "flesh" is always lusting against the spirit in trying to keep you from doing what you want, which is to have faith and to have peace in yourself.
    There are a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum, and I am sure more will comment about your situation. One thing for sure is that the Lord God will not leave you where you are, and he can and will use other members of the body of Christ to help you. I will pray for you and ask the Lord to guide you, and to have others come to minster to you one on one.
    DanielGarneau and Euphemia say Amen and like this.
  4. Welcome :)

    If you have not done so as of yet please read CFS forum rules and getting started threads here
    And here

    Again, Welcome to CFS

    Read "More than a Carpenter" by Josh McDowell that may help. What you're going through happens to us all. No one is perfect save Jesus, Who died for you. That's the first thing you need to settle. Would you think badly upon someone dying for you? No. So you have to resolve this issue. Hold onto this verse:

    Romans 8:32 (KJV)
    He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? ​

    We are in the midst of a spiritual battle but we can only see a fraction of it. Like smelling smoke but you're not certain where it's coming from. You have to search it out. We have the word of God (another matter you have to settle your mind about.) Once you do you begin to see that God is in the word and in our hearts and very much interested in our daily lives. I hope this helps and if you need anything, just ask.
    Cturtle likes this.
  5. I am manic depressive and schizophrenic, so schizoaffective is my true diagnosis. I am not the perfect picture of mental health, but I have been mentally stable for over 4 years, and I do accredit most, if not all of my recovery, to God. I know my first post is rambling, but I just needed to do a stream of consciousness type writing in the moment. I still struggle daily with my faith because it was such a big part of my mental breakdown. I am almost positive I suffer from religious trauma, but I still am drawn to Jesus. Even at the scariest moments during my episodes, Jesus was my only comfort, so that is why I, even through atheism and severe doubts, I cannot not mentally let go of Christ, not to mention spiritually. I have never liked church, and I often forget to pray or read the bible, and I can feel paranoid doing so at times, which is probably why I don't do it often. I also feel that my prayers are both irrelevant and useless to what happens in my life. I struggle with understanding its importance and often feel guilty when my faith seems completely miniscule compared to many professing believers. I have been blessed beyond measure in this life and even my worst moments are beneficial because I learn from them, but I'm starting to feel it is my resilience that has helped, not God. I know this is silly thinking, but I just feel he has no want to be a part of my life, especially the major things I have prayed about in the past. I can no longer muster the energy to pray about the things I desire (marriage, an understanding of my purpose in this life), so I have settled for creating my own happiness. It isn't a fake happiness; I am genuinely at peace the majority of the time and I laugh with ease. But I still feel this is a major, unresolved part of my life.

    Sorry for more rambling, truly.
  6. I have no choice but to approach it without religiosity. I minored in religious studies, so I am more open-minded than many when it comes to understanding religious rituals and the like. But even a personal relationship feels forced at this point. I have to have other thinkers who have been through this, because it gives me hope I can get through it too.
  7. Hello Alexmarie,

    I read several books by Dr Neil Anderson. This author works from the Bible first, but he also takes into account the findings and observations that come from psychology. One aspect of his ministry that comes through loud and clear from several of his books is that one needs to deal differently with problems that have a chemical basis within the body and those that don't. The former sort of problem must be dealt with through proper dosage of adequate medication, says Dr. Anderson.

    For problems other than physical illness, the following two interviews might be of use to you :
    Over a year ago or so I was interacting with a believer online who was experimenting deep discouragement about herself and about her faith in Christ. On that occasion. I gathered-up a short bibliography of some of Dr Anderson's works that I felt could be the most helpful for that person. You will find it toward the bottom of the web page titled Doing but How, on my web site.
    Euphemia likes this.
  8. #8 CCW95A, Jan 26, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
    You my friend have been born with a problem that was not of your doing. You never asked for it, nor did it come upon you because of something you have done. I know the Lord can heal you by his power, but in the mean while you need some kind of medication that can bring you closer to thinking normal. If my wife does not take her medications her actions are very similar to yours. Even taking her meds does not cure her problem, but it is a huge help in her walk with the Lord.
    Your heart is what is keeping you in your faith as that is Christ in you who is keeping you in his love, while the other parts of the physical man runs wild with all kinds of thoughts that seem to contradict what your heart really wants. I really know what you are going through as I have seen it in my wife for decades, and have had to deal with it spiritually, and physically.
    I highly recommend that you see a psychiatrist, and see what meds he can prescribe to help you. My wife takes "Geodon" which really helps her a lot. I am assuming you probably have a hard time going to sleep at night too.
    Euphemia and DanielGarneau say Amen and like this.
  9. I am on medications and have been taking them more religiously than I have anything else in my life. I am rambling because I am never provided the opportunity to discuss these things because the reactions are always lacking, which seems to be the case here as well. I just saw my psychiatrist on Friday, in which she told me how well I am doing and how proud she is of me for remaining in good mental health, graduating with my bachelor's in literature (though my writings here tell a different story), and for landing a great job only a month after graduation. If anything, my writing is chaotic for fear of being caught writing on here and not working. So please don't assume you know my mental journey. I'm doing extremely well compared to 5-6 years ago. (I'm 24, so I truly have a full life ahead of me.) Not to continue in the vein of explaining my perfectly fine mental health to random strangers on a board, but this may be why people turn or never come to Christianity: a complete lack of understanding due to the inability to see past one's own preconceived judgements. My mental health is fine, my walk with God isn't. This isn't insanity, it's the complete opposite.
  10. Welcome to CFS!!!! We are glad you joined us and look forward to fellowship with you.
    Cturtle likes this.
  11. In that case what you are experiencing is that your "flesh is lusting against spirit, and the spirit against the flesh so you can not do what you want".(Gal 5:17) All believers experience this in their life until they begin to have their "mind" renewed with the Word of God. Once that begins to happen there will less of the flesh lusting against the spirit, and there will be more peace within your self. There is no short cut to having this happen. The Word of God is essential to your success. The devil speaks to the Christian physical mind in an attempt to discourage ,and cause a sense of hopelessness. Only the Word of God can come against such accusations to where you will have perfect peace as you keep your heart and mind on God.
  12. U have a decision to make,
    do you WANT to be right with God? or not?
    do you want a relationship with Him or not?
    I don't mean religion, doing stuff, fighting against this sin or that sin, though you should understand the context of religion,
    there is right religion and wrong religion.
    Because if you are going to pursue God it will take u to all different places and on a supernatural journey for life,
    God hasn't intended us to be pew warming guilt ridden hypocrites replacing judasim with a Christian version.
    U must go to Church and find a good pastor because as an island you are alone and subject to any crazy idea you have.
    U must have a relationship with God
    as it says : draw near to God and He will draw near to you. It does not say wait for him to turn up, it says ask, seek, knock,
    You will never find him without praying or have a valid understanding of Him without His word: ie reading the Bible.
    You will not find God in Islam, Buddhism, confusionism, humanism, or philosophy, these are all side tracks designed by Satan to keep you from the truth.
  13. Well, those who have been schooled in post-high school institutions may have developed open minds, but that generally leads to a liberal mindset, accepting whatever comes down the pike. God wants us to be open minded to Him and closed-minded to the world and its deadly notions.

    If we want to believe what is true, then we need to get real before God, and reckon with our sinfulness, and give our sins and weaknesses over to Him...and trust in His goodness toward us. He is our true Father, and it is in relationship with Him that we find in our lives love, hope, joy and peace, even in the midst of our storms. Jesus is the only thinker we need in our lives. Yes, we need people to help us and to teach us the truth, but we have to allow Jesus to bring them. He is our hope. God is our provider, and He provides for us what we need. He knows we need fellowship with like-minded people, and that is why Jesus has established the Church. Ask God to lead you in this area, to a body of believers that will nurture you and care for you, and offer you safety while you navigate these things.

  14. I just find that troubling to believe. I'm not making an excuse for other belief systems, but to call them works of Satan not only gives him tons of intellectual power, but also seems more like a sign of fear than true understanding. The all or nothing attitude seems detrimental to a well-rounded life. Surely one can be a Christian and have understanding and compassion for other beliefs, especially the great benefit of philosophy. I don't need a pastor to guide me through life. I full on believe in personal responsibility.
  15. I will not deny my open-mind towards life and its experiences. I have been through more than most at a very young age, so even with me having conservative political beliefs, I am enabled to empathize and grow from all walks of life. Jesus is my savior, he doesn't have to be the only thinker I read and learn from. That can become a shallow well of learning in my life.
  16. I understand what all of you are saying, it's just been said over and again in my life. I have tried these ways of thinking, but it is not my nature to only draw from one well of thought. Jesus should be the ultimate in my life, I understand, but this does not change the fact that many facets of modern Christianity have damaged the possibility of having a good relationship with God. That's how it feels anyway.
  17. In the case of those who have yet to have a relationship with Jesus, He is the only pursuit worth keeping. He will fill up your life so full that you won't have need for much else, although reading good books is not a sin! However, for you, you just might have had your fill of this world system's influence in its literature, and the bible, which is a living, powerful document that can effect strong change in your life would be the very best for you right now...dontcha think?

    2 Timothy 1:7
    For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

    or, in the NLT:
    For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

    I pray God's direction in your life, and that you would experience Jesus in a mighty way, and that you would experience the Father's great love for you, personally. He is looking for sons and daughters who He can strengthen and make into mighty overcomers.


  18. You can step right out of those false religious influences and start over with Jesus. Just run to God, tell Him all about it, and then wait on His answers to you. He is faithful. He will respond.

    Jeremiah 29:13
    If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

  19. I thank you for your prayers and receive them with an open heart. Though books are my passion and what my degree is in, so they are indispensable to me.
  20. They aren't religious influences, though I have studied every major world religion. They are from just living and enjoying life. I sometimes think I am far too curious and adventurous for the Christian walk.

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