Am I beyond hope?

We get stuck in habitual thinking, and when we are finished with something that requires our immediate attention to something in detail and our minds relax, so to speak, they can go to someplace by habit that is not a good place to be. I wish I were better at being thankful for small things and concentrate on that more, and practicing that can help get us out of a habitual rut. But one place I always come to is remembering that my Father is in control and being thankful for and resting in that.
 

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…
 
1 John 4:18

It’s not our perfect love! It is our Father’s, and he only does what is good for both him and us. The most frequent mandate in the Bible is “Don’t be afraid” or one of its several variations: “Fear not!", Be anxious for nothing”, “Fret not”, etc. So whenever I catch myself being anxious about ANYTHING, I can go crawl up on Father’s lap even when court is in session in the throne room, so to speak, and his strong arms will comfort me and shield me.

Great names there Robby. You sound extreme normal to me! Real. Honest. When I’m in Christian company - like here and now with you, last night at the ‘soup kitchen’ and at a neighbourhood soup night later - I feel more inside the tent, including with God, unless the piety, religiosity, prayers get too suffocating. Too unreal. Discouraging. I can’t do the ‘God slot’ any more, but many do and obviously get something out of it. Is there any rhyme or reason to the hopefulness and discouragement for you? Or is it just a rhythm regardless of context?

I think that when we are troubled with doubt, deep within us we hope to better understand ourselves and others - yet there are many aspects of our lives that are difficult to fully understand. A good starting point is to find those aspects of our life that bring us joy and well being. These may be simple things, such as a beautiful sunset, a good friend, an enjoyable hobby, good books, and so on. Within such a context, we are encouraged to understand that God would feel happy that you would find such moments. God seeks our happiness - He has everything else, so there is nothing that He would want from us, but our happiness and freedom from things that could hurt us.

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The Christian walk is not easy. We all fall short. However, we pick ourselves up and keep trying because we have a perfector of our faith.

If your depressions are difficult to bear, as Klax pointed out, you might do well to seek help. Such drugs can function sort of like a “shock absorber”, they make the highs not so high, but they also prevent the lows from getting too low.

Anyway, there is nothing wrong with doing what needs to be done, if it can help you. … As a defender of Galileo wrote, “The bible is there to help you get to heaven, not to tell you how the heavens go.” So using modern medicine does not diminish the word of God, and if it helps you not to get too depressed, then you have a better chance to do the things that help you to get to heaven.

by Grace we proceed

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Hi Robert, thank you for your genuineness, openness, and vulnerability. This kind of honesty I find refreshing. If it offers any encouragement, it seems to me that your heart is not as hard as you might think. If you still desire saving faith in God that you continually approach Him in prayer searching for it, that shows me a heart that is still open to His work – and isn’t what I would call “hard.”

In my periods of doubt, it is a great comfort to me that I am not saved by the strength of my faith, as if I could earn God’s approval by never doubting His truth. It is by God’s righteousness that I am saved, not by my righteousness, as Jesus imputes His righteousness to me. It is THROUGH faith, yes, but BY God’s grace (Eph. 2:8). Praise God that He is the One who is worthy, and it isn’t dependent on my holiness! My “holiness” wouldn’t get me anywhere at all. Your struggle, even if decades long, doesn’t put you out of His reach.

I wonder if you have one or more people to pray with you about this. Supportive, Biblically-centered community could inject new perspectives into this struggle of yours. I have often felt somewhat like what you’re describing (slightly different emphases for me personally, but similar), and Christian community and prayer support helped me immensely, so maybe you’ll consider seeking that out if you haven’t already. I am praying for you. But it might be especially encouraging for you to have someone physically with you to pray. Just a thought.

@ROBBY, you need to find an accepting church fellowship.

I usually suggest a historically Black church, not that they are perfect, but I have generally found them to be accepting and often they are available if you make an effort to find them.

For some reason white folk seem to think Black churches are for Black people. No, they are for Christians.

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Same here. The few times I went to a historically black and predominantly black church I felt far more accepted. At least at church. Unfortunately no real outside connections happened. Though I also generally presume people don’t like me and fade away in groups to corners and then out doors. Even being aware of it I just tend to do it.

I am beyond hope and that is why I cling to the cross for Jesus saved me and washes me. That is what the church is - a bunch of people beyond hope crying out to God for help and restoration! It is a life long process of getting cleaned up and slowly, little by little, he helps us along as we read our Bibles, pray and go to church with fellow believers. Hang in there and keep going! When you fall, confess your sin, and get back up and keep moving on. Blessings to you!

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Three things . . . there’s a story of a person asking an Eastern Orthodox monk what he and the other monastics at his monastery did all day. His answer was “We fall and get up. We fall and get up,” meaning each does something that’s wrong and then repents. We are called to be perfect and through the process of theosis we are to get there with God’s help but sin is common - true? So if you sin, repent and get up.
The second thing - we should remember what the Son gave up in order to become fully man. He gave up far more than we ever will to do what He was supposed to do. When we become indignant or resentful and get mad when we think that someone has slighted us - how does our perceived loss compare with what our Lord gave up?
The third thing - we cannot know how bad sin is until we repent - then we start to see how bad it is. We Orthodox have Lent to reflect and repent and prepare for Pascha (Easter). That’s what we do - but we ought to live a life of repentance; fall, get up, fall, get up; persist, persist, persist!
Find an Orthodox priest and talk to him. Ask for advice. Don’t rely on yourself.

Robby, you are so not beyond hope! God never gives up on any of us, His ways are so much higher than ours. His love for us is unconditional. Having said that, I fully recognize the doubts you are having as I too, suffer from OCD and the themes I battle center around my faith. Know that you are not alone and there is help out there, through medication and therapy. God bless you and don’t ever give up hope!

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Hi, again. Take a look at this:

Robby, I had the same background as you so please let me help. Write to me at roy.a.clouser@gmail.com

Robby…/…thanks for sharing and thanks for your honesty. I did not grow up in a fundamentalist environment though, as a follower of Jesus I have been in that environment for a fair amount of my adult life. No expereince here with the South. I am not sure how much – or what – of your background, plus your OCD, might affect your feelings about God’s love and forgiveness. But know that you are not alone. God may have a great memory for all our misgivings, but He also has great mercy. We humans are not merciful too much — towards others or (at times) towards ourselves. But that is not where God is “at.” I have always liked (when I remember to think of it) that old illustration of the train cars. The engine is Fact, the middle car is Faith, the caboose is Feeling. The train (like our believe in God and Jesus) is pulled by the Fact of His existence and of who He is and what He has sadi…the middle car is where we sit (by Faith)…and the caboose is mostly unnecessary, as feelings can often be misleading. God says in His Word that He will not turn out someone who comes to Him through faith in Jesus and what Jesus did for us on the cross. Keep remembering what God says in His Word, and not on how you feel (at any given moment) about anything.

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Hey, I’m hard-hearted all the time and God loves me, so He must REALLY love you if it’s just for a few weeks here and there. Luke 6:45 “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

If you’re ungrateful and wicked you’re one of God’s favorites, so you don’t have to be afraid of being honest with Him.

You’re really brave for being so honest with God and with everyone. Thanks for the courage.

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