• A blessed Nativity / Theophany season to all! For users new and old: the forum rules were streamlined when we transitioned to the new software. Please ensure that you are familiar with them. Continued use of the forum means that you (a) know the rules, and (b) pledge that you'll abide by them. For more information, check out the OrthodoxChristianity.Net Rules section. (There are only 2 threads there - Rules, and Administrative Structure.)

Pondering trying elsewhere

Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Messages
98
Reaction score
36
Points
18
Location
Elsewhere
This week has not been a good week, again.

I am actually mulling over trying a different parish of a different tradition in the area, not because I think it will get me converted sooner (I’ve pretty much given up on any hope of that happening anytime soon), but because I feel like I am far too much of a nuisance and a burden to my priest and deacon, who are probably not used to a 40-something who is so immature and carries so much baggage.

At the same time, I don’t want my priest to feel unappreciated or insulted, as he is a very kind, good, and patient man, and I like the parish and services, and have been going there for months.

So, I’m not sure. I hate to start over elsewhere, but it is very hard to ‘stick it out’ when I feel like I am falling apart all the time. I know we are to rely on God first, and I would feel utterly terrible about leaving, but I just feel like too much of a dead weight.

But then again, if I’m a dead weight, then being a burden on a different priest, would not be fair to them, either, and switching ‘doctors’ mid-‘treatment’, to use the common hospital metaphor, is probably not wise.

Unfortunately, the old adages of ‘standing by myself’ and ‘pulling myself up by my bootstraps’ and ‘being a man’ don’t apply here—I am far too immature and broken for those to be applicable—and it seems like independence, in Orthodoxy, is not a virtue, but a vice.

I don’t know. 🤷‍♂️
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Messages
98
Reaction score
36
Points
18
Location
Elsewhere
If you can pray for me, that would be appreciated, as I’ve gone back to emotional eating, I guess to try to stuff my feelings, and that is not something one can keep up for long. God is forgiving, but my waistline is not. :(

I am also trying to find an Orthodox doctor of counselor, and those are, alas, very difficult to find. Many from other states offer distance counseling, but going over state lines is nearly impossible because of stupid regulations. And I don’t want to go with a secular counselor or Protestant or ‘other’ one, because secular science doesn’t believe in the spiritual realm, and those of other faith traditions, have different ideas on that. If I’m investing money to get my head and heart fixed, I want it fixed right. 🤷‍♂️
 

Nathanael

High Elder
Joined
Sep 16, 2012
Messages
577
Reaction score
24
Points
18
I am actually mulling over trying a different parish of a different tradition in the area, not because I think it will get me converted sooner (I’ve pretty much given up on any hope of that happening anytime soon), but because I feel like I am far too much of a nuisance and a burden to my priest and deacon, who are probably not used to a 40-something who is so immature and carries so much baggage.
I was in the same situation with such feelings and thoughts. Especially because of my 10 year regular struggle with pornography; and my difficulties in studying and in work life. My parish priest gave me the blessing to confess my sins in other parishes when there is a service during the week, because when I fall into pornography I want to confess it as soon as possible and waiting till sunday is often too long. The book: "Unseen warfare", orthodox counsels about patience and the patience of my parish priest helped me very much. And of course the blessing of the mystery of confession is incredible, without it I wouldn't make it.
"When you fall, get up, repent, confess and go on again." Falling, getting up, falling, getting up...always the same "movement" & "exercise", it's like strength training. But for most of us, that's the only way how we strengthen our weak spiritual muscles. You are surely not the only one who are "immature". But only those people are immature, who stop struggling with their immaturity and weakness.

When you are in war and you see a soldier who gets easily wounded again and again, every time as soon as he leaves the hospital after a succesfull treatment he goes back to the battlefield, where he gets in a short time wounded again, then back to the hospital, back to the battlefield, always the same loop. The other soldiers and the captain will maybe at the beginning think how stupid this soldier is to get wounded so easily, but after some time they will marvel at his courage and his will not to give up; by no means will they feel unappreciated or insulted.
You write that your priest is "a very kind, good, and patient man". Wonderful! Glory to God! Don't think that he may feel unappreciated or insulted. Such thoughts are coming from the enemy, who wants you with all kinds of tricks to discourage you so that you leave the battlefield. You can also tell your priest about these thoughts and your shame not to burden him with your weakness.

A nun told me once something very important: we don't see a difference in our (spiritual) life just after 1 or 2 years of struggling but often after 10, 15 or 20 years, then you look back and you will see how you changed. It takes so long, because that's the way how we learn humility & compassion. But we wish to have a quick spiritual success, but such an "instant" attitude comes from the spirit of this world...
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 18, 2016
Messages
98
Reaction score
36
Points
18
Location
Elsewhere
I was in the same situation with such feelings and thoughts. Especially because of my 10 year regular struggle with pornography; and my difficulties in studying and in work life.
I've got 32 years on you. Found my dad's Playboys at age 10 or so, only just getting free this year. I've been porn-free for about 5 months now, praise God, but that stuff is really difficult to get out of your head. Being porn-free has improved my married life dramatically, though.

My parish priest gave me the blessing to confess my sins in other parishes when there is a service during the week, because when I fall into pornography I want to confess it as soon as possible and waiting till sunday is often too long.
I so wish I could go to confession, but I found a doctor/counselor this morning who is Orthodox, so that is the next best thing. And I also found out, from my parish priest, who responded later, that this is the exact doctor he would have recommended, so that's good news!

The book: "Unseen warfare", orthodox counsels about patience and the patience of my parish priest helped me very much.
I think I have that book, I just haven't gotten to it yet. I think I will drop the book I am reading and hop on that one.

"When you fall, get up, repent, confess and go on again." Falling, getting up, falling, getting up...always the same "movement" & "exercise", it's like strength training. But for most of us, that's the only way how we strengthen our weak spiritual muscles. You are surely not the only one who are "immature". But only those people are immature, who stop struggling with their immaturity and weakness.

When you are in war and you see a soldier who gets easily wounded again and again, every time as soon as he leaves the hospital after a succesfull treatment he goes back to the battlefield, where he gets in a short time wounded again, then back to the hospital, back to the battlefield, always the same loop.
Very good analogy, and very encouraging. I wasn't anticipating that my 'basic training', the real struggle, would be starting this late in life--40-something years old, and 30 years after praying the 'sinner's prayer' and joining Protestantism--but it's better to get started now!

The other soldiers and the captain will maybe at the beginning think how stupid this soldier is to get wounded so easily, but after some time they will marvel at his courage and his will not to give up; by no means will they feel unappreciated or insulted.
I think I may have shocked my priest at first with all the issues I have been having, but he is a very good man, and has been very patient, like I said. While I wish we could meet in person--email is very easily misunderstand--it's better than nothing, and between him and the deacon, I have been holding steady, for the most part. I think getting in touch with this doctor will be very helpful, as long as I can afford him--but we will cross that bridge later, and God has provided every step of the way.

You write that your priest is "a very kind, good, and patient man". Wonderful! Glory to God! Don't think that he may feel unappreciated or insulted. Such thoughts are coming from the enemy, who wants you with all kinds of tricks to discourage you so that you leave the battlefield. You can also tell your priest about these thoughts and your shame not to burden him with your weakness.
I'll let him know tomorrow, I have gone over my self-imposed quota of daily emails to him anyway (I try to keep it two or less, lol).

A nun told me once something very important: we don't see a difference in our (spiritual) life just after 1 or 2 years of struggling but often after 10, 15 or 20 years, then you look back and you will see how you changed. It takes so long, because that's the way how we learn humility & compassion. But we wish to have a quick spiritual success, but such an "instant" attitude comes from the spirit of this world...
Indeed. I just hope it's not 20 years, I would like to be useful before my sixties. But that's not up to me. :)
 

Arachne

Matriarch
Staff member
Moderator
Site Supporter
Joined
Dec 22, 2012
Messages
12,262
Reaction score
154
Points
63
Age
48
Location
Camulodunum
I think I may have shocked my priest at first with all the issues I have been having, but he is a very good man, and has been very patient, like I said. While I wish we could meet in person--email is very easily misunderstand--it's better than nothing, and between him and the deacon, I have been holding steady, for the most part. I think getting in touch with this doctor will be very helpful, as long as I can afford him--but we will cross that bridge later, and God has provided every step of the way.
The one thing I remember from my first confession guide (as a tween, back in the day) is that, whatever you have to admit to, your priest is guaranteed to have heard worse. It was not a guide geared towards children, so I've always considered that to be the baseline for an adult confession, not puny kiddie sins. Experienced confessors are nigh unshockable. Same goes for experienced doctors, since you're in that boat. Spill freely.
 
Top