Spiritual Recovery

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Absent Minded Artist

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Spiritual Recovery
« on: September 23, 2018, 06:15:57 PM »
A huge part of the dysfunction in my childhood centered around the church and Catholic school. It took years of therapy for me to understand that, in my family, religion was a tool for emotional abuse.

Early in my childhood we didn't go to church or have any particular religious beliefs. My parents divorced when I was very young and I have no memories of them living together. My HPD/BPD mom began dating my NPD stepfather when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. There was a sudden transition to Catholic school, and along with it the teachings of the Old Testament. As an adult I'm horrified at some of the concepts I was indoctrinated with.

I don't want to go into details, but long ago I abandoned the concept of "God." The thought of going to church puts my stomach in knots. That being said, I really do want to find something to believe in. It scares me to think that life has no meaning beyond what we make of it.

As an artist I've been studying books about creative recovery and much of what I read is spiritual in nature. I still have a deep cynicism that I cannot shake.

Has anyone had similar experiences? How did you come to terms? Thanks for listening.
"A manipulator makes you fear everyone around you so you don't see the monster right in front of you. They may have tied your blindfold, but you can take it off"
Erin Van Vuren

"Owning our story & loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we'll ever do"
BrenŤ Brown

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Thru the Rain

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2018, 01:22:14 PM »
My story is a little different, but similar enough. My Dad loved the oddball churches when I was a kid (he still does - I stopped long ago). And when I say oddball, I mean borderline cult. And yes, religion was a form of abuse in my childhood.

Once I was on my own, away from my FOO, I stopped attending any church for about 25 years.

Then at a difficult point in my life, I FELT a need for a spiritual side to my life. And at that point, I found a church that felt like home to ME. It took a lot of looking and visiting, but I was armed with a mental list of deal killers that allowed me to quickly cross various places off my list.

For me, after taking charge of my own spiritual life, those early experiences have faded into the background a little; it hurts a little less.

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coyote

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2018, 02:15:13 PM »
Absent Minded Artist,
My quest for spirituality is similar to your. I broke with the Catholic church years ago and even became agnostic for a while. I have always been fascinated with religions though and have studied many. I started with the Eastern religions; Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Shamanism. Then tried the Western religions, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc. I have now developed my own form of religion; kind of a hybrid of Buddhism and Christianity.

One thing I found out is a common theme of love of and duty to others. I have never been a fan of the Old Testament. I did find a book called "Sermon on The Mount" by a guy named Fox. It really explains Jesus' message. Anyway that is my story. I hope you find your way through this.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

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Adria

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2018, 01:06:42 PM »
I am so sorry for the experiences in your life that have led you to abandon the concept of God.

I too have deep cynicism because of life's experiences. I think that's what keeps me alive.  I also find it difficult to find a good church as well, but have kept my belief and relationship with God as I don't know how I would get through this life without Him.  I attend church once in awhile, but mainly read my Bible, pray and listen to Family Christian Radio.  I feel that this keeps me growing spiritually and on the right path.

I hope someday that you can reconnect and find faith in God again despite the bad teaching you lived through, because I would feel bad if you missed out on God because of someone else's irresponsibility or lack of judgement.  Each time I read my Bible, I ask for divine wisdom so I can understand. Maybe reading for yourself would be a good place to start and eventually lead to finding a church with sound doctrine.
Hugs, Adria

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coyote

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2018, 02:23:31 PM »
Just an added note. I don't attend a church or identify with any organized religion. I don't believe Jesus meant for us to be tied to the rituals, dogma, and criminations associated with organized religions. I walk my own spiritual path, create my own traditions with my FOC, and don't feel I need an intermediary to talk to God.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

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RavenLady

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2018, 03:59:29 AM »
Hi Absent Minded Artist. After experiencing too many negative aspects of religion to be able to maintain faith in a benevolent AND omnipotent divinity, I lost mine and found peace as a freethinker and eventually atheist. This has served me very well in life.

Now I'm increasingly drawn to the solace of nature. It is indisputably real, and it moves me, and it has so much to teach. And fills my life with beauty and awe. I respect people who choose other paths, but having lived through many confusing seasons of life, nothing brings me comfort better than an embrace of reality, as opposed to an invisible, supernatural super-reality. The reality of the natural world is our true home. We are astonishing creatures on an astonishing speck of rock. This fact is humbling and profound to me. Some people call this way of thinking "poetic naturalism," which I rather like.

Since this is an older post, I hope you are well on your way to wherever your heart calls you to go.
sometimes in the open you look up
to see a whorl of clouds, dragging and furling
your whole invented history. You look up
from where you're standing, say
among the stolid mountains,
and in that moment your life
becomes the margin
of what matters
-- Terry Ehret

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Mary

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2018, 01:50:50 AM »
I'm currently reading, Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. It's very thorough, and It may help you sort through the religion vs. God conundrum.
Mary
For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. (Isaiah 54:5)

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Absent Minded Artist

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2018, 03:12:27 AM »
Thanks for the replies. I have found a deep connection to nature as well, and walking outside really helps me.

My sister went in the opposite direction of spiritual beliefs, and she is now a devout church goer. I'm glad she has found it helpful, but she continues to "invite" me to church events even after I asked her not to. The idea of sitting in church gives me the heebie jeebies. She is worried about "saving my soul"  :roll:

Hope everyone has a great holiday season!!
"A manipulator makes you fear everyone around you so you don't see the monster right in front of you. They may have tied your blindfold, but you can take it off"
Erin Van Vuren

"Owning our story & loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we'll ever do"
BrenŤ Brown

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SonofThunder

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2018, 11:31:39 AM »
.... I have never been a fan of the Old Testament....

I was not either, until i discovered that it clearly is the bridge to the New Testament: a path and plan by God to introduce himself to us in the person of Christ.  Without the old, the new is incomplete.  I realized the whole thing (OT/NT) is one continuing unfolding story of love (wanting what is best for) of Gods creation, that is still ongoing.  Love can be tender, tough, disciplined, wrathful, but its still love. 

God the father is portrayed in the OT as a being that seems entirely different than God the son, but we are taught by Jesus that they are one and the same; as part of the trinity.  So i had to ask myself whether the OT folks misunderstood God the father and my answer is yes.  In the NT, Jesus is walking around with us and we get a first hand experience, face to face with God, but in the OT, they dont have that experience. 

After experiencing Christ in the NT, i had to go back and study the OT and ask myself if i also am misunderstanding God in the OT, and i was.  God is the same in the OT and the NT, but i was not allowing myself to see the love of God, the protective fathering of God, the protective wrath of God prevailing in the OT.  Now i see it: now it is complete.

I dont attend a brick and mortar religious congregation either, but i love Christ and am firmly confident in my salvation.  After Jesusí resurrection, i dont recall him setting foot back in the brick and mortar (synagogue) either... ::).  But i do see man trying to once again control and judge one another and that has yet again found itself inside the brick and mortar walls of religion, just like in Jesusí days on this earth. Pharisee-ism will always live on in the hearts and minds of mankind. 

SoT


« Last Edit: December 23, 2018, 11:38:48 AM by SonofThunder »
Proverbs 17:1
A meal of bread and water in contented peace is better than a banquet spiced with quarrels.

2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

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need2bme

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2019, 09:44:01 PM »
I have found this discussion fascinating!!  I'm not sure why I had not browsed to this topic sooner. 

My story is similar to some.  I was raised in a cult-like church that did much damage.  I ran from religion as hard as I could for 20 years.  I finally found my walk with Jesus when I was 37 years old.  Religion has and still is used as a weapon against me.  One of my realizations in my personal walk has been that I looked at man for my answers for too many years...and each time that left me with bigger wounds in my soul.  The depths of me knew that this was not what God was about.  At 37, I gave my life to Jesus...and have followed HIM since.  It's been full of much healing and victory for me.  Although, the abuse from uNPDm has again begun taking it's toll on me and my mind.  I thought 5 years ago that I was healed and set free of all my broken past.  But, I did not realize that my present was also broken...as I did not recognize the abuse I suffered at the hands of my uNPDm.  I'm fairly certain that I was not at a place to accept or walk through it.  I believe God has opened my eyes to it now and pray that He will lead me through this.  I think the thing that has been most difficult is believing that I was no longer broken...only to realize that brokeness is still there. 

It has been encouraging to see how so many have turned from religion to find their way back.  I do know that the way God is portrayed in this culture is not who God really is. 

I wanted to post some verses and what I recently realized.  SonofThunder, this is in response to your post about man trying to control and judge each other (just like the Pharisees!!)

Matthew 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

As many times as I've read that, I've never noticed the wording of this.  It clearly states you can break the commandments and teach other to...and still be in the kingdom of heaven (because of the price paid on Calvary).  Personally, I'd rather not go that route myself!!!  I prefer to walk as close as possible to Jesus!  It clearly states that if your righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees, you won't even enter the kingdom of heaven.  And sadly, that is what takes place so often behind the walls of the church buildings.  Lots of people looking good on the outside but being full of dead men's bones on the inside.  They follow all the 'rules' but they don't have the needed ingredient to enter heaven (the blood of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ).  It also comes to me that when Jesus stated....Matthew 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, ĎLord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?í 23 And then I will declare to them, ĎI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!í  --Those that He said that to...will not be those who are broken people depending on His Grace and Mercy...but those who 'think' they are all that...who have prophesied, cast out demons, and done many wonders in His name. 

I'm glad I've found this thread because my healing will involve my relationship with Jesus and it's nice to see views from that standpoint also.

In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. - Deepak Chopra

Scared is what you're feeling. Brave is what you're doing. - Emma Donoghue

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well. - Robert Louis Stevenson

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coyote

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2019, 12:31:49 PM »
The "righteousness" spoken about here IMO refers to the "right thought". IMO Jesus was the first CBT proponent. Right thought refers to positive thinking; letting go of any negative thoughts that lead to negative emotions.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
 Wayne Dyer

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?
Capt. Jack Sparrow

Choose not to be harmed and you wonít feel harmed. Donít feel harmed and you havenít been. -Marcus Aurelius

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dericklewis

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2019, 02:55:25 PM »
My story a little bit diffrent, but connected with the religion too.
As a child, I was raised by a very religious mother. We attended church every Sunday. My mother consulted for any question with our priest.  She was an emotional and strict person who wanted to understand neither my sister or me. She always severely punished us for disobedience. So we lived in an atmosphere of violence. She died early from cancer. I can't say that I grieved for a long time. But she was my mother, and I loved her in spite of everything. Furthermore, I was only 16 years old.  After her death, I walked on the wild side. We moved to Chicago to live with our aunt and her family. Since she had 4 children, she didn't watch us seriously. Bad company, poor school performance, and drugs did the trick. I was suffering from addiction for 6 years. The only person who didn't give a damn about me was my sister. She, like our mother, has become very religious. She sent me to a Christian rehab center in Texas. If you don't know what is  Christian rehab center you can read on Addiction Resource. It was here that I renewed faith in God. I realized that I needed him. He helped me to overcome my addiction and find the meaning of life. I didn't become a religious fanatic and clearly understand the difference between faith and worship. Now I work as a volunteer in a similar center and help people who lost themselves.

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Sojourner17

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2019, 06:39:04 PM »
Reading through this thread is so interesting. I too have found that Iíve been in need of spiritual recovery and am still recovering... in the process of sanctification. I went to church all my life but never felt like I fit or was accepted. I felt held back or held down because I was a girl, because I wanted to worship with an instrument, because I had ideas that didnít ďfitĒ with what our church taught. After leaving home I bounced around from church to church trying to find a place I belonged. Never found it in a brick and mortar church building. I found it in Jesus himself. He has a lot of places to heal and clean up in me but I fully know that I can trust him to finish his work in my life and the life of my FOC and FOO. In the meantime I just try to put one foot in front of the other and try to hear, listen and obey what he says.
There are times where I very much care what others think of me but Iím getting to the place where the only one I want to please is YHWH himself by learning his ways and worshipping him in spirit and truth based on his WHOLE word, genesis through revelation. Itís been rough as this change in me has been part of the catalyst in waking up to unpdm and (now I think also) my dads abuse but I will NOT go back in this area... my relationship with Jesus is just too important and foundational. 
"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it..." - Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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SomethingElse

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Re: Spiritual Recovery
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2019, 03:43:03 AM »
Yes. I started a thread about meditation and mindfulness that has to do with your topic. I too also grew up in a religious household. It was very traumatic for me. I used music and art as a way to cope for a long while. After a while I turned to self care and mindfulness techniques. Eventually, I was able to leave very toxic situations because i was able to sit for at least 10 seconds a day and do nothing but be silent.  I hope this helps...