Okay so I have been really struggling lately
- Locked due to inactivity on Aug 8, '18 3:54am
Thread Topic: Okay so I have been really struggling lately
So I grew up in a Christian family like a lot of people. But my parents are more than just the we-just-go-to-church-on-Sunday-and-then-live-like-hell-the-rest-of-the-week Christians; they are basically all out for God and stuff. I was (still am) homeschooled my entire life and have very restricted access to Internet, hence the reason why I have not been on much lately. For up until I was 12 I really had no doubts I was a Christian. I had prayed a stupid little prayer to Jesus when I was five and I was baptized when I was nine and I loved God so I thought I was good.
Then life happened. First of all, I found GTQ in May 2015. At first I stood up for God but then I felt like I looked stupid, so I started cussing and stuff to fit in better with everyone else.
Then my older brother started becoming really abusive to me, and my parents did nothing about it, even though I begged and pleaded with them so many times. THEY DID NOTHING. It made me so angry at them, and at my brother, and ultimately at God. He moved out November 2015 and I feel like that time in my life was my first step away from God. I just could not wrap my head around the fact that God could expect me to love such a filthy beast as my brother.
Enter 2016. I started watching movies. Lots of movies. At first I thought it did not really matter, but I was watching them specifically because they were forbidden by my parents. I started to think a lot less about the Bible and more about myself. I started hiding from my family more and loathed spending any time with them.
Then in September 2016 I gained access to GTQ again. I was in the midst of Bible Bee Nationals at the time (now that is a really long story, but it is basically something you should not do if you are on the fence about God like I was). Those few months back on GTQ were amazing. I got back in contact with my old friends and made new friends and everything was all right. During that time, I actually admitted on another thread that I did not really believe in God. Not that anyone else cared, but it was a pretty big deal for me.
Then I lost access again in November, and right after that I won Bible Bee (yeah I just so happen to be Olivia Davis and I am sorta-semi-famous for all the crap I have done in Bible Bee, you can check it out if you want) and so I wanted to be a bit of a good girl after that so I kind of calmed down for a few months.
Fast forward to July 2017. I got some spotty Internet back and was able to watch the new seasons of Race to the Edge, my absolute favorite TV show. That was immense for me.
Then in October, right after my fifteenth birthday, I got caught again and that was when I started writing notes to myself about hating my parents and I actually at one point did write I hate God. I started loving How to Train Your Dragon waaaaaay more than is even close to rational, to the point that I cannot survive without it.
The last straw was February this year. I had been on Khan Academy, which is a perfectly respectable website, and I had met a girl on there that was super friendly and we had a lot in common, but then my parents found out about that too and instantly restricted me from that website, because I had a friend that I was hiding from them. Like, WHAT THE HECK!!! So now I have only two half-friends that my parents closely monitor my relationship with them and I am just so alone. And every time I tell them how lonely I am, they just tell me I need to work on my relationship with God and then I will be less lonely. Talk about no compassion!
Wow this got to be super long without me realizing!
So it is really hard now because I am still involved in a lot of Bible studies and activities at church, when I really am pretty sure I am not even a Christian. I am not sure if my parents know that, because they have often accused me of not being a believer but it was always right after I got caught on Internet and I could always sweet talk them out of thinking that. I wish I could tell my parents I am not a Christian, but then I also do not want to be ostracized by all their friends. I am sure I can fake it for three more years, and then I will be a legal adult and can figure out my life from there.
Wow, that felt so good to get that off my chest! Sorry if none of it makes sense, but it was good for me to be completely honest and open for once.
Do you believe God is real
Sort of, I guess? I mean, I am not exactly what you would call an atheist. My parents have taught me my whole life about evolution is false and how the Bible is true and you need to obey it, and that upbringing is really hard to just instantly throw away. Basically I know God is real, but I do not really want to have to follow him I guess? I know that sounds dumb but that is the best I can explain it. Growing up in an ultra-conservative family is quite the interesting experience. It is especially hard when my parents are constantly bashing gays and transgenders, and then I have friends on GTQ who are those type of people, and I am somehow supposed to reject them just because my parents think they are immoral. I just have no idea what to think anymore.
zeronightshade SeniorI'm gay. Well, bi really. I've grown up in a situation kinda similar to yours. My "father" isn't religious but he despises homosexuality and would probably disown me if he ever knew I was gay. My mom is Mormon. She's a sweet lady, definitely less biased than my father but she'll feel like she's lost her son and that god or whatever has denied me. So I can never publicly date another boy. Or even marry one. I can't dress the way I really want to.
Living in a family with those beliefs is very hard, especially when you can see all the change in society. But at the end of the day, they're still your family. :/
You have to live for yourself and live for others.
What do you believe? What do you think?
@Hiccstrid I can see how you feel. I've grown up into a Christian family as well, one that really loves God. At some point in your life, God has to become something you either believe in yourself or don't. It's no longer something you believe just because your parents believe. And I remember my early life being pretty similar to yours. Accepting God when I was about 5. And actually getting baptized at 9. But I've never had my brother become abusive... I don't know what exactly your parents believe, or how they act, but my parents have always tried to show God's love my being loving to me and anyone they know. I've learned how God is real for myself by watching their example. They follow what the Bible says not to follow a religion, where religion is dictated by rules...but they follow it because they love God. And since they love God, they can love people. I realize how hard it must have been for you to love your brother.... But that's almost the root of Christianity. Loving others. Because God still loves your brother. He doesn't love him for what he's done to you, but because he's still a person who's never too far gone. And God loves you, even if you hate him. Because even if your parents turn a blind eye to you, God still cares about you. It says in the Bible that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. So, even while we hated him, he loved us. I know sometimes seeing that love can be hard, but it's still there. That's where faith does come in... But personally, I know God's love is real. I see it in my own family. I see it in my friends. And for me, that's how I know God is real. And if he's real, then what he says is true.
And idk what your parents say about homosexuality and whatnot. But a lot of Christians do get some things mixed up. Christians aren't supposed to hate anyone or be unkind to anyone... Discrimination towards gay people is wrong. But. Homosexual conduct is wrong too. Don't hate me, guys, I'm just stating the facts of Christianity. Same sex feelings are not wrong. Homosexual conduct is. But like it's okay to be friends with people who don't agree with you. So...idk that's what I've been taught in my Christian home. I'm not sure what it is your parents say. But of course disrespecting anyone is wrong.
@zeronightshade: Yeah, I agree with you. Family for me has never been very important, because both of my older siblings were adopted and were not the greatest to live with. They are both at college now though so I see them a whole lot less. I definitely have learned that you have to figure out for yourself what you believe, and not just accept a cookie cutter kind of framework from your parents.
@Stardust1: Wow, your post was really beautiful! It is refreshing to talk to people who actually know what they are talking about. I totally agree that a relationship with God has to become your own. So much of God has just been what my parents taught me or what I know from the Bible, and I definitely feel really distant from him.
About my brother: He got into drugs for a while and was homeless/unemployed for most of last year. But at the beginning of this year, he kind of got his life cleaned up and now is at a Christian college with my sister. I never quite learned to love him, but the bitterness and resentment are definitely gone. I have no idea if God changed my heart or not, but it was almost miraculous how I suddenly stopped hating him.
So thank you so much. Intellectually I completely agree with everything you are saying about faith and the love of God, but...I just do not feel it, if that makes sense. I just need to figure it all out and decide once and for all if I want to follow God or not. It is difficult being only 15 with my entire life ahead of me and being unsure of the future, and trying to figure all that stuff out.
But thank you again. You have no idea how much that helped me.
@Hiccstrid Aw thanks that's nice of you to say :) And yeah you shouldn't accept God just because your parents have brought you up that way. As a Christian myself, I don't want people to accept God because of me or something someone did to make them...I want them to do it on their own. It's totally your choice. And I'm so glad you don't hate your brother, even if you aren't close. That's good of you to forgive him.
Yeah it's a lot to think about at 15. Life altering decisions. Everyone trying to find their identity in the world. I hope you can find yours soon :) If you ever want to just chat, you can always come talk to me!
Thanks ^~^ It is really nice to be able to talk openly about my true feelings and not have to worry about people judging me.
I haven't been on here for a long time, but I actually got curious to visit after listening to an old song that reminded me of this place lol.
I just wanted to make a comment when I saw your thread, because I know exactly what you are going through. I'm old now (23 haha) and I first found GTQ back in 2009.
Your story is very similar to mine. I came from a Christian family, but when I was in 6th grade I decided to start finding out who I was and what I believed. I mainly turned to music, and made friends that were interested in the same quirky things I liked. Over time religion didn't seem important to me. Most of the culture I identified with was occultic and rebellious against Christianity.
But this was when I started to have depression, and I had a lot of questions that I didn't have real answers to. I considered myself agnostic, and looked at what other beliefs and religions said, yet none of them truly answered my questions.
I kept trying to avoid anything to do with God, but in the 9th grade I made a Christian friend who invited me to her church. I knew my parents would jump at the idea, and I just wanted to hang out with her, so we started going. One day she told me she had already been to the earlier service and if I wanted to we could sit outside at the picnic tables instead of going to youth group. I was happy, figuring I didn't have to be around church people and that I was able to get out of church.
She started playing music from her ipod and eventually played I'm So Sick from Flyleaf. I remember that clearly because I loved that type of music and she (Lacey Sturm) sang about what I was going through. I was in disbelief when I found out she was a Christian.
Her testimony was the first time I actually heard anyone describe a first hand powerful encounter with God. She knew the pain of depression, feeling suicidal, and even had been on drugs. This was the first thing that made me start considering Christianity, but I still struggled with the fact that I knew I couldn't be good enough. I had a distorted view of God, and didn't yet understand the Gospel or the power of the Holy Spirit.
It wasn't until the year after, when we had moved to Maine, that things changed. My depression got worse, and after a month in school I dropped out, lying to myself that I would just take up homeschooling instead. I did everything to try to escape, coming on here and occupying myself with music and writing. My parents and I started going to a church nearby, and it was on Easter that I finally understood the Gospel. I never realized what grace was before, and it was at that time I no longer had doubts of God's existence. I believed in Jesus, so I decided to get baptised at 17.
But I didn't feel much different afterwards, and still had depression which was like a burning fire in my spirit that never went away. The next three years I spent hanging onto anything but God. There is a lie that I think so many at least in American churches have believed, that salvation is like "fire insurance". We don't want to go to hell, so we put our faith in Christ, and poof we can go on living like normal.
I was hanging onto idols, but God wanted my heart, my whole heart. I didn't really read my Bible, and I was a coward in so many ways. An old friend I had on here would often talk about evolution and religion, but I'd shy away because though I believed in God, I couldn't explain why, and I knew I wasn't a "good Christian" anyway.
But 2014 was a breaking point. I was so suicidal and broken that I knew something had to change. I withdrew from here, and I had to face myself. I never felt comfortable in my own skin, and for a time I thought being a boy would make me feel better, but I knew I wouldn't do anything drastic to myself physically because that felt like a lie. I had deceived myself into believing that my sexual inclinations were built on true love instead of lust. If you told me otherwise, I hated you, but eventually the world of escapism I was building fell through.
Finally I realized something very hard but very true. I had to choose between God and my idols. During this time I knew God was real and deep down I loved Him, but I had a divided heart. I was trying to keep a worldly life along with a relationship with God. I never understood that God loved me enough to tell me where I was wrong and that I needed to let go of what was killing me.
Real Christianity is fully trusting God and not relying on ourselves to produce good works. I knew that if my salvation was based on my ability to be holy, I was destined for destruction. But God wasn't asking for me to make myself good. He wanted me to surrender my life to Him and follow wherever He'd lead me. He would be the One that would give me strength by His Holy Spirit. But I had to trust Him, I had to truly love Him, and I had to repent.
So I cried out to Him, and let go of my chains. When I finally put my faith truly in Christ to follow Him, that is when my depression was healed. Completely. Nothing else I ever did or chased after healed me. I had believed that it was something I would have to live with for the rest of my life, but that is a lie from the pit of hell. God is so able to heal our hearts, we just have to give them to Him.
I once thought that this world had the answers I was looking for, and that Christianity was too narrow-minded and restraining. But through everything I learned that my assessments were based on ignorance.
You will have to choose how you will respond to God apart from what your parents, church, and friends think. There are a few things that I've personally learned and would encourage anyone to consider.
Ask questions and genuinely seek answers.
We're all spiritually dead before truly trusting in Jesus Christ. Only He could take our place and set us free from sin and hell.
He loves you, and wants a real relationship with you. Not empty religion.
We can do nothing of ourselves, and the Holy Spirit is still at work in the world.
The Bible is interwoven and every part purposeful. Don't read it just to memorize it without understanding it. Humbly ask God to show you the truth and He will. It's amazing to see how the Old Testament prophesies years before of the Messiah Jesus Christ and the New Covenant that would come.
Test anything anyone tells you with the Bible.
True Christianity is awesome and some of the greatest examples of this are found in the persecuted Church. Check out Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that serves Christians in countries where following Jesus can cost everything. These people shine like lights in true love and forgiveness, all by the power of God. I also grew a lot learning about the lives of Richard Wurmbrand, George Mueller, Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, Martin Luther, Hudson Taylor, and Amy Carmichael.
I know how hard it is not to understand God and want to explore what the world has to offer. Being a radical Christian isn't a popular choice, but I have found it's the only worthwhile one.
Wow Anastasia your testimony is amazing.
God is so amazing and mighty to save. The world is getting so dark and we so badly need the light of truth. I liked your comments and just wanted to stand in agreement.
Also, feel free to call me Ana. Anastasia can be a lot to type often. xD
Okay...wow...that was really powerful.
It's so good to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have just been going through such a dark time and every time I feel like I might have a breakthrough, I shut down again and fall back into that same numbness, like a downward spiral. I've "repented" at least three times, but every time I feel like there's something missing, like I'm doing something wrong. And then I relapse. Again. And again. And then I just wonder why I even bother trying, and so I just give up on God. The most difficult part is not being able to talk to anyone about it.
But seriously thank you so much Ana. I really, really appreciate people with testimonies that are actually real and not the crap about "oh yeah just turn to Jesus and He will just push a magic button that will solve all your problems." Because it doesn't work that way. Lust is real. Sin is real. Temptation is real. And it is powerful. And I am following in its path willingly. Sometimes it scares me. But other times I just don't even care. I feel like I am completely throwing away everything I was taught, and for what? I feel like I can't let my parents down since both my older siblings went off the deep end and so many other kids my age have, but what can I do? I can't exactly turn off the feelings I have.
What confuses me is that I don't struggle at all with depression. Not one bit. Sure, I get lonely and sad a lot, but I have never seriously considered suicide. In a way I feel like God has protected me from the world, and that He is preparing me for something. That may be why I have done so much with my life already. Or it may just be that I will end up being one of the "Lord Lord" people at the end of Matthew 7. Time will tell. I really want to follow God but I still have my heart in the world, and it is hard to realize it is truly worth it to give all that up.
@Ana Yes amen. Your story is just amazing
@Hicc I mean, accepting God doesn't mean you won't have any more problems. It just means God is there to with you to help you walk through life. He's a comfort and a shield and someone you can rely on. And everyday is a struggle to trust God... Pray without ceasing, like Ana's pro pic. It's not a pray and you're problems are gone. It's praying continually and letting God be your daily bread and water. It's definitely a struggle, but you don't have to go through that alone. If you're scared about whatever feelings you have, God can do the impossible. But faith is a struggle and I hope you can find yours in your own time ^-^
Thank you so much for your patience and understanding, Star.
You are definitely right about needing to pray more. I was just cleaning my room the other day and came across an old prayer journal that I had attempted to start two years ago in one of my attempts to "get closer to God." It was actually really hard for me to read it and see what my heart was like back then. That journal had so much of me crying out to God for deliverance from myself, and just copying out Scriptures, especially Psalms, about how God is better than idols. I had almost completely forgotten about that journal.
So I have no idea if I ever had a real relationship with God, or if I was just faking it the entire time. 1 John 2 talks about those who "went out from us but they were never really of us." I've always wondered if that describes me. What confuses me is that I really thought I did have a relationship with God. For example, deciding to get baptized was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I really did do it for God.
I know the Bible teaches in John 10 and lots of other places that you can't lose your salvation, so I either never really was saved, or I somehow miraculously am a believer, and am just going through a severe three-year stagnation period.
I definitely understand that salvation is a miracle, though. My heart is so wicked and evil and perverted that I could never turn to God on my own. Only He can change my heart, but...I'm almost afraid to ask Him.
I know it sounds so dumb, but I almost view God as the "fun police"--that once I start following Him, I can't watch movies anymore, or come on GTQ, or do anything I enjoy.
And part of that is correct--following God is all about denying yourself and taking up your cross and dying to self. But there are so many passages that also command people to rejoice and to truly desire God for who He is--not just as a legalistic to-do list.
I guess I am pretty hard to reach because I know the Bible way better than most Christians do, so there's no new information for me to learn. I guess what I need most is a change of heart--removing the heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh, like in Ezekiel 36. Sort of the difference between just knowing about God and actually knowing Him. I know just about everything there is to know about the Bible. I've got the theology down pat, but there's no life to what I know. I can only talk in theory, because I don't live out the Scriptures in my daily life.
And...I am rambling again. I don't know if it's too much to ask, but I really need prayer. I'm just so scared to follow God, and I don't want to "miss out" on anything out in the world. Everyone tells me that following God is totally worth it, that the world is just empty and meaningless, but then why do I love it so much? Why do I feel so fulfilled and satisfied with the world, but so empty and lifeless
I just feel so confused. Part of me just wants to shut down and go my merry way and worry about God later, but at the same time, I know God is real. And I could die at any moment, and chances are high that if I died right now, I would go to hell. That is pretty scary to think about, so that's why I am trying to be totally honest and open about how I feel.
Thank you so much again for reading all my ramblings and taking time to answer. It's a huge encouragement to me.
Aw I will always take the time to read whatever you gave to say. And if you want, I'll definitely pray for you. If you want, I'll pray that you can know God in your heart and not just in your head. I understand how odd it can be to know everything there is to know about the Bible, but not experience it for yourself. But that's where time will tell. Sure the world can be a lot of fun... But the fun never lasts. Happiness is so temporary... But for me, I know that God can satisfy and give a person so much joy by doing the impossible. If you get want to see how, I could recommend a book for you. I read it myself and it totally changed the way I pray. It gave me a new perspective. So if you want, the book is called The Prayer Circle by Mark Batterson. It's an eye-opener that can really challenge your faith. Up to you if course :3
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