To have faith, don't you need something to have faith in?

Sharing and capturing on Clean Hands, Pure Heart

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ScottPart2
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To have faith, don't you need something to have faith in?

Post by ScottPart2 » Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:47 am

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 (day 1)

Grateful for a day 1.


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Enos

8 ...Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen...wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

15 Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.
16 And I had faith, and I did cry unto God...
I have always believed this, or at least hoped it was true. Since things did not work out, I assumed I did not have enough faith in Christ. I want to believe it now, but decades of experience work against it.

How do I ask—believing that I will receive—one more time, when I did not seem to receive any of the other times. That colors and damages my faith and hope.

Lord, what is the truth? How do I get more faith? Will you give me faith? Will you help me believe that you will answer my need and plea, and if yes, why now and not before?


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CHPH, page 125

Since we are beings of truth and light (D&C 93:29), if we choose to participate in addictive behaviors we first have to deliberately deny the truth.
Do we really have to rationalize and deny the truth? Don’t we just say, “Right now, I don’t care what the truth is; this is what I want to do and I am going to do it, right or wrong”? I think that is what I do—or I forget there is a reason not to do it.
Getting honest with ourselves and “admitting the exact nature of our wrongs” requires that we learn to recognize the “stinkin’ thinkin’” that paves the way to acting out. Here are some of the “rational lies” we tell ourselves to excuse our acting out:

- I’m too tired. I can’t keep up the effort of resisting any longer.
I have felt this; that it takes more than I have to get through a day, so how can a week, month, year, lifetime be possible? I guess the 12-Step answer is that since you don’t have enough strength, you call on the Lord’s strength. But if nothing feels any different after you call on the Lord for His strength, then what? If you don’t feel any stronger or any more able? What do you do then?


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Lord, do you have counsel for me today?

Just try and exercise faith in me again.

How shall I do that? In what way?

Pretend. Go forward like you really believe it will happen, even if you don’t think you do believe it.

Pretend? Isn’t that the story of my life so far? Going on and believing for decades even though there is no response?

I will try. It feels like deciding to believe I’m immune to gravity and can fly. I have a lifetime of earthbound days and painful bruises from leaping but falling, all telling me it isn’t even remotely possible. I will try, I will pretend—one more day in the invisible religious fantasy world of my mind and living unconnected to the world around me.

I don’t think I can do it. I jumped off the cliff for you years ago believing you’d catch me, even if it was totally illogical. I told everything, I tried everything anyone told me, I live in a state of constant prayer and reaching out, and pausing to listen for your voice. I don’t know whether I’m still in free fall or if that crushing pain I felt was me hitting bottom, but foolishly still believing something would happen, had to happen, because of faith, and because you said “draw near unto me and I will draw near to you.”

If you are real, then you will keep your promises. If you are real, then the defect is in me.

I will try, but for the first time, I feel part of my faith has withered and died and can’t believe any more in unfulfilled promises. I am sorry, this is a new thing for me and I don’t know what to think.

Oliver was told to cast his mind back to an earlier event of the Lord speaking peace to him — Lord, I need something to cast my mind back to. Every blessing I attribute to you and thank you for, every care I choose to believe you have taken for me and my family, all is by faith. All is me deciding to believe.

Will there never be a quiet whisper or moment of spiritual contact or confirmation?

I know my sponsor has said that what I write in capturing is the Lord speaking, but I feel nothing from it; I feel only that it’s me doing my best thinking, and isn’t that what got me into this mess; my best thinking? Wouldn’t I feel the Spirit or something like that if the Lord is speaking to me and giving direction?

What I write is often in opposition to what my leaders have told me, but I have followed that “inner voice” in faith nevertheless, hoping that I might receive confirmation by following in faith that way. Nothing. I feel that I am losing my mind and that this whole process is not what you would want from anyone. I think I really may be a crazy person. Elder Scott said sometimes we get no answer and that it is to let us grow and decide by ourselves—my whole life has been a “no answer” event. Why? What am I supposed to learn from separation and loneliness? What am I supposed to gain from living under a heaven shut like brass?

Of course I will try again—I have no other alternative than to curl up and die. I do not yet want to do that, but it would be a gift and release if you granted it.

I will try again. I will ask again, but for the first time, I don't think I'm asking in faith, just in desperation.
Last edited by ScottPart2 on Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

TimA.
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Post by TimA. » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:07 pm

Scott,

I know the feeling that I am talking to nothing but the trees when I pray. I also doubt that what I write when capturing is from God and really just my imagination. My heart aches for you Scott as it aches for myself. I have felt emotional about spiritual things but is that the Spirit speaking of just brain chemistry? I dont know. I honestly dont know.

My mother was devout LDS. My father attended church with her and was eventually baptised but I dont ever remember him expressing any religious doctrine to me. I dont know what he believed. I have decided he was much like me and maybe you and just didnt get very much in the way of direct communication from God. He seemed very content with that though. He was a just and kind man and a wonderful loving father. Maybe God has placed some of here with a knowlege of right and wrong and all that He asks of us is to live as righteously as possible while we feel we are alone.

Also Scott have you considered professional help? You may have said before and I missed it, if so I am sorry. I did and found it helpful. No miracle but helpful.

I have felt like I didnt want to live anymore too and I know that hurts. If those thoughts are frequent please get some help Scott.

I love you brother.
Tim

JaneO
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Post by JaneO » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:31 pm

Scott,

Thank you for sharing so much. I appreciate your honesty, and I learn so much from your posts.

I've told you before, but I do relate to a lot of your feelings. I think I have written those same words of desperation several times in the past year (you've been at this longer than I have).

Yesterday I was discouraged, and the Lord led me to this (from one of my counselling books by the way): "We are always explaining the world to ourselves, and we react emotionally to these explanations rather than to the facts."

What is it you are telling yourself about your situation now? You said, "Since things did not work out, I assumed I did not have enough faith in Christ." This of course brings an emotional reaction. Now you feel deficient. You've felt that before. You feel a lack. You can look back on experience and see that this feeling is very familiar. You said, " Do we really have to rationalize and deny the truth? Don’t we just say, “Right now, I don’t care what the truth is; this is what I want to do and I am going to do it, right or wrong”? " Scott, I think you have defined some things as truth (as it relates to yourself) that maybe aren't....When you feel that you cannot have the blessings you seek because you have not performed something perfectly or enough, that seems to me to go against the Atonement. (I come up against this ALL the time - I have some really negative ingrained beliefs that I have accepted as truth.) Anyway, I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe it's not entirely bad for you to question "truth" a little right now, and think about what you want. I think it's obvious that many of your accepted truths in your mind are not exactly compatible with one another. One expresses absolute belief in Christ, and the next one denies Him. Are they both right?

Scott, what would you do today if you were somehow able to find out that this current reality - this experience that you have - is all there was ever going to be? What if you never got more than this in this life? What do you choose to believe about that? You can't know what will happen next, but if this were all, what would you do? Would you choose to believe in Christ anyway, or would you not? I mean, I have opinions about how Christ communicates. I can bear my testimony to you about that, but it doesn't really change your reality does it? You just feel badly about yourself because you don't experience what I do. What would you do? What if you could just forget the past experience, and just decide where you want to be, and try to go there, with or without more from the universe than you feel like you're getting now? Maybe all you seek is just around the corner, and maybe it's not. I can't know... What are you telling yourself about it? That it's your lot in life to not know, or you just need to have this experience a little longer, or you're being punished, or you are getting answers that you don't know how to recognize, or what? What is "true" for you, and what do you want to be TRUTH?

[/quote]But if nothing feels any different after you call on the Lord for His strength, then what? If you don’t feel any stronger or any more able? What do you do then?

Maybe it's time to answer your own question. What kind of life do you want? Do you want to get answers directly because you feel like you are "supposed to" - and that makes you wrong or lacking or _________(whatever) because you don't? Is that consistent with your belief in who Christ is and what you believe He wants for you?

We are different, and we have different experiences and gifts. Perhaps this will not be useful for you, but when I got to the point of ultimate desperation (for me), I made a decision. At the time, I faced my fear that maybe I was really wrong and God would be angry and cut me off forever, but I decided that was okay, because I didn't want to spend eternity with such an angry, misery seeking god anyway. I chose to put my belief in a good God, even if He wasn't real, and I chose to accept Him even if He never spoke to me or manifested Himself to me. I accepted that I may never know more about Him than I did at that moment, but I knew I wanted to be happy, so I tried to figure out just what that meant for me, and then I tried to start going after that. I was in the very heart of misery and desperation, so that took some doing - to figure out what happiness was, but I quit waiting for someone to come along and tell me what I needed to be doing differently. I quit waiting for a definitive moment of truth, a sign to move forward. I quit waiting for the church or even God to define the next step for me. Since I chose to believe in Christ at that moment, I chose to align my goals with what I knew of His teachings and character. I accepted my situation exactly as it was, and then chose where I wanted to go. Then things started to change....really change. Ya know, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure things actually changed so much on the outside. I mean, when I began to really recognize the Lord's voice, it wasn't like I hadn't heard it before. In fact, that's what really struck me in all of this. It was the same thing I had always had before, but I saw it in a new way. I had always despaired before for not having any relationship with Christ or any certainty of His reality. Now I have conscious contact - which does change how I hear Him I guess, because now I'm actually talking to Him and He answers me directly. It is subtle, really really subtle. I think you're already talking to Him the way I do, (looking at your little conversation above), but you want it to be something different. For me, it seems to be getting a little clearer all the time. For me it's a daily, one day at a time, effort to continue in the belief that He is real and is really talking to me. I'm choosing to not heed the doubting voice anymore. I have to actually write out my new beliefs and post them on my mirror and say them over an over again to myself throughout the day (because the old ones just won't die - - and they insist on asserting that they are truth).

Whatever you choose, Scott, just be sure that it's you choosing, and that it's what you really want. Quit trying to change your outer experience. You're just getting frustrated by what you have no control over. However, you can control what you choose to believe about your situation. Find something that you can really believe in about why you are going through what you are going through. While you're "making it up", you might as well make it something happy. (By the way, I believe that since our God is a good God and the author of all joy, when you choose the course that defines happiness and true joy for you, you are seeking Him, and finding Him too.)

You're awesome Scott. I can see that you are a worthwhile person in everything you write. Thanks for your example to me.

Jane

tomk
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Post by tomk » Tue Feb 17, 2009 9:05 pm

3 Ne. 9: 20
20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.


You're not alone.

Not knowing a thing has happened to you does not necessarily mean it has not happened. Just ask those Lamanites. They knew it not.


Maybe they had lived such a hardened life of sin up to that point that when they repented and were baptized "with fire" -- perhaps they just could not comprehend what had happened.


I read your posts and I read the beautiful things you wonder about and the tender, loving replies you record coming from the Lord -- and I am baffled by the conclusions you draw from your own writing. From where I sit, I see a man who has been blessed by the Lord. I see a man who is growing in the spirit of prophecy and revelation.


Keep coming back. Don't leave us. Don't despair. The Lord is working in your life. Maybe if you can't see it right now, you can take my word for it.



Tom

ScottPart2
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Thank you

Post by ScottPart2 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:22 am

Thank you for your encouragement and your comments.

-Scott

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