God Complex and Spiritual Perplexities


#1

At 8 years old I asked to become Catholic. I was Baptized and soon after received my first Holy Communion. I received the Sacrament of Confirmation around the age of 12. I have been a devout Catholic my entire life. I was known as the Catholic girl. When I was a young girl, I believed God was calling me to religious life. During most of my young life I researched religious life and talked to religious sisters and priests and befriended my religion teachers and professors. Looking back now, I feel I was a little obsessive. I actively discerned my call to religious life for two years while I was in graduate school. I discerned that religious life wasn’t for me.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Theology and a master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry. In the past I had been an Assistant Coordinator of Religious Education, a Coordinator of Religious Education, a Director of Religious Education, and a religion teacher. I’m currently not working ministerially.

Despite all of my theological and ministerial background I feel empty. It’s not new to me to struggle with prayer, but my issues are rooted deeper. When I go to Church I feel displaced. I don’t feel a sense of belonging. [I used to love to go to Church. I would go weekdays and Sundays.]

Additional Information about myself:

• Lost childhood parish to a fire, we’ve since rebuilt
• Used to be extremely active in the parish including: Lector, Eucharistic Minister, DRE, office assistant, personal assistant to the priest etc.
• Unable to find a job in ministry (worked part-time earning a stipend in the parish and taught religion in middle/junior/high school)
• Beloved priest was forced to retire and now we share two priests from the next city over
• Possibly sexually abused by biological father
• In a serious unchaste relationship—marriage in the future
• History of anxiety and depression
• Lost my dad (grandfather) to cancer November 2017

— I’m not feeling secure as it is with God and the Church in generally. Please don’t make statements like I need to go to confession, speak to a priest, or spiritual director. Ultimately, I’m trying to dive in deeper to find the underlining cause.


#2

Since your main query is about your relationship with God why rule out the people most likely to help?

A spiritual director / confessor is the best resource, and can refer you to other resources, as needed.

Remember the Psalmist teaches us that “God is close to the broken-hearted.”

I will pray for you to reach out for help,
Deacon Christopher


#3

Good point. However, I’m not in any position to speak to either of the priests at my parish. And since leaving religious life the priests that I knew really aren’t in my inner circle, if you will, anymore.

I’ve tried to reach out numerous times to my mentor sister, who is a spiritual director, of whom I’ve had many of intimate conversations with, she has replied a few times, but I haven’t deemed it helpful. For example, her last e-mail had posed a question about me getting married, but she didn’t prefix it in anyway, or say what she was getting at to why she was asking.


#4

There is your problem. Your sins have inhibited your relationship with God. Tell your lover that you have to knock it off because you are being hurt. If you love him tell him because the sins are hurting him also. You two will have to wait until you are married to enjoy the joys of the marriage because you will be open to having children and can provide for them. If he bails out, then he was just using you. Sorry to be so frank. Private message me, if you want to discuss further.


#5

Perhaps a call to a monastery that is close-ish to you.

Monks are great spiritual guides, and sometimes a nice perspective can be had with someone that you don’t know well.

Monks are typically filled with holy wisdom (both men and women monastics) and accustomed to providing spiritual guidance.

For what it is worth: I keep my spiritual director separate from the clergy I work with in my job, and the ones that I minister with at my parish. And I have a different confessor than my director.

I am off to Mass, but I will pray for you by name, Katie.

God bless,
Deacon Christopher


#6

Years ago I studied psychology a little and I remember reading something. A psychologist was in a bar and got talking to a man and the conversation became quite in depth, the psychologist explaining why people behave in certain ways and what motivates them etc. Eventually the psychologist had to leave and the barman leant over and asked the man still there “wow, that must have been interesting?” He man replied “yeah, he knows a lot about psychology but not too much about people.”

I sometimes think the biggest barrier between us and God is ourselves. Our eyes point outwards so insight isn’t so easy. I wonder if ants believe in man? Possibly not.

I’m suggesting we should simplify. The message was simple, understandable by any and all. The treasure maybe hidden in plain sight. Remember a time when things for you were simple, was it easier to commune with God then? Did you see Him everywhere you looked? Perhaps revisit those times, recall how it was then, how it felt. God requires our love and when we love Him we also love our neighbour since we see the oneness of all creation, united in God. Remember He is omnipresent.
Ask and you shall receive.


#7

You stated the additional information about yourself:

Look at each one as if you never saw them before. Look at them as if you weren’t looking at your life and see if you can put your finger on what might be the problem. NOT judging. I see pretty much why you are struggling. I’m no expert but I see “issues” and I think they may be behind your situation.


#8

It hasn’t even been a year since your dad died.
You are still likely in grief (which from all i have heard and read, usually lasts at least a year when it’s someone close) and even if you think you’re okay, it’s likely still affecting you on some level. Add a bunch of stressful other stuff on top of that, and in addition make it so the church is intertwined with your chosen profession so it brings job stress too, and I can see why you are not feeling so good with it right now.

In addition to getting professional help, which I figure you are already getting, I would suggest if you can take a step or two back from church work/ involvement and just let yourself breathe and talk to God for a while, it might help. I’m not saying to stop practicing your faith, but just give yourself a little space while still meeting your obligations, till you feel better.


#9

True. And I know I haven’t “grieved.” The one downfall of my education I guess–I’ve taken a lot of counseling and grief coursework. Hence my degree in pastoral ministry.

I am. I’ve continued with therapy. I just don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. At one point I thought we made progress. Determined that my beef isn’t with God, but with the Church herself. Doctrine, teachings, etc.

I no more feel like I will go to mass and then anxiety kicks in and I don’t go. Last week I thought about going, but I was scared I would go and I’d cry and the priest may not take the time or be compassionate to take the time to listen to what is troubling me, so I ended up not going. So much of the time I can’t pinpoint actual things that are bothering me, or what the actual problem is, so I’m just overwhelmed by it all.


#10

What I see when I look at these attributes of myself is probably very different from what you see.


#11

I think you are grieving, but it’s just not coming out in the textbook “stages of grief” way. From my past experiences with deaths of parent and spouse, anxiety or even an unexplained physical ailment can rear up when one is dealing with a death. This to me is grieving. I had one priest tell me I wasn’t “grieving well” and I have no idea to this day what he meant because it’s not a logical process. One day I’m okay and the next day I have an anxiety flare up for no reason, or over something I logically should be able to let go, or over something that wasn’t bothering me at all last week. I feel like a pinball being shoved around by flippers and I do not have a way (other than prayer) of setting myself on a straight path to the exit hole. You may just need to ride out the flippers for a while till things settle down. I will keep you in my prayers.


#12

You’re right. There is no textbook way to grieve. I’m probably not acknowledging me own grief because I’m too close to the situation.


#13

You seem to go through a lot but this one sounds big to me. I pray you find the help in the therapist or priest who can tackle this one. The fact that it seems like “possibly” would be consuming me if I were you. There is no if about my dad. Did he or didn’t he? This fact shouldn’t be a thing hovering over me as a possible hint in some botched psychanalysis.
Even if you don’t know the priests at your parish now maybe they may be good for you and you might be possibly surprised.
But point no 1 seems the biggest to me. I pray you find the real help to find out the truth.


#14

A solid starting point. Prayer even when doubting can help look into the soul, and that means disconnecting from the outside world and all you have learned. The heart is a powerful spiritual guide and we all are on a journey… I have been where you are and the only person I’m going to listen to is “me” so embrace “you” and seek God… He will find you.


#15

This is likely a large cause of your problems. It sounds like you are committing sins that are grave matter, and such are mortal sins if you have full knowledge and consent to it. Since someone in mortal sin has cut themselves away from God, this could be what is causing your problems. Regardless, you must end these sins, confess and get married soon if this what is causing the unchastity. This will likely help very much. I will be praying for you to get closer to God.


#16

Believe it or not, most priests won’t even address this with me. They tell you to seek “professional help” then therapists can’t really help much since I don’t have memories of any actual abuse. I just have memories of my biological father doing things that would be deemed inappropriate but not being physical or sexual in anyway, its not considered abuse. So I’m left with a big unknown. The unknown is not easy to live with.


#17

I tend to be blunt. You already know what you need to do. You just have to decide to do it.


#18

this ,

I would also say, are you living with your future husband or dating?


#19

We are dating. We each have our own house.


#20

Say no to being alone and find different activities to do with this guy. Practice living Gods Law , see if the struggle to do that , gives you grace and faith .

You are in my prayers


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