My faith is breaking my mind

Hello All,

I have two questions-

  1. Can the fear of God or not earning God’s love, due to sin, failure to make the most of one’s life, or difficulty in dealing with others, ruin or harm a person? (see my bio below)

  2. If I sin, will God’s protection or help wear off? (This thought is killing me)

I joined this forum because I am really suffering from my current situation, which I have begun to believe may be deeply rooted fears/anxiety

Basically, I think that I have a very limited view/path on faith that is and has been doing more harm than good.

My basic false precepts are-

  1. When I sin or have sinned, I am more vulnerable to awful things that happen in my life.

  2. All the bad in my life is caused because I did not have God’s protection due to my sins.

  3. If I lived my life perfectly according to God, which I try and fail all the time, I would be safe and happy.

I need some help debunking or washing away these harmful signals.

NOTE- I know many of you believe this, but trust me, too much belief in this, has made my life horrible.

The Beginning
If the one message that I can remember in life is “Try to follow the rules of the church”.
The problem is that such rules have left me in a state of total depression and anxiety in life. I was always a scared kid.
I pleasured myself infrequently during adolescence. During adolescence, I hurt my back bad, and suffered a lot.
My mind says, “See this is what you get”
I need some confirmation that this is nonsense.

The middle
I never dated until after 30 because I was afraid of sinning.
When I did have intercourse before marriage, I believe god punished me by making me have an anxiety disorder or finally letting it take over.
It is more likely I finally lost it, when she left me, and I gave up my virginity.
Again, my brain said, “You sinned. Prepare for pain”

Currently
I love my girlfriend deeply, but she says she cannot marry me. We own a house, and we both suffer from such hardships, we do not think we are fit to be parents. She has some deep issues about marriage, and I have trying to help her.

Yes , we sin with each other, but we do try to limit it.

Ultimately, I feel an overwhelming sense of shame/fear because

  1. I am not married.
  2. I do and probably will not have kids.
  3. I have an anxiety disorder.

What kind words/helpful responses do you have for me?

Please, take comfort in the fact that God’s love for us is endless. He doesn’t stop loving us when we stray. One of my favorite stories from the Bible is when the shepherd, realizing that one of his lambs is missing, leaves the rest of the flock to search for the lost lamb. Like the shepherd, God seeks us when we’re lost. He doesn’t turn his back on us and forget about us. We’re all sinners. But God loves us so deeply, that he offered up his Son, to die for us, so that we may live. Stop and think about how amazing that is.

There is a lot of evil in this world. The devil tempts us in many ways to use our free will to make bad decisions. Being Christian doesn’t stop these temptations. God does, however, give us tools, such as prayer, to help us stay on the right path. That doesn’t mean we won’t fall into sin from time to time. But, when we find that we have, we have to get up, dust ourselves off, ask for the Lord’s forgiveness, and try again. It’s not easy, but the rewards are great. Keep the Faith.

I advise you to talk to a priest and discuss with him your fears. I’m sure he will be able to help you through this difficult time in your life.

God’s grace is like an endless, pouring thunderstorm- the rain will never stop pouring down on you.

Sometimes though through our serious sin, we can refuse God’s grace- like holding up an umbrella- the rain doesn’t stop but we keep ourselves dry.

The good news is in His infinite mercy, specifically the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God can blow that umbrella right out of you hands. :wink:

The Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom…but note it is only the beginning.
We do not “Earn” God’s Love. God’s Love is freely given. We need only embrace it and return that love.
Failure to make the most of one’s talents can indeed have negative consequences…but it need not ruin ones life if one can recognize and make corrections.

  1. If I sin, will God’s protection or help wear off? (This thought is killing me)

Short answer is yes. Sin harms the relationship with God. Continued sinning where one does not repent and make amends can eventually sever one from God’s grace.
The good news is that God does not desire such a separation and He remains as close now as ever. One need only turn to Him in sincere repentance to regain his protection.

I joined this forum because I am really suffering from my current situation, which I have begun to believe may be deeply rooted fears/anxiety.

Basically, I think that I have a very limited view/path on faith that is and has been doing more harm than good.

Quite possible. Many of us have suffered from such things. Hopefully we will be able to help

My basic false precepts are-

  1. When I sin or have sinned, I am more vulnerable to awful things that happen in my life.

This is not a false precept…sin DOES make us more vulnerable. Many times (though not always) such things are little more than logical consequences of our sinful decisions.

  1. All the bad in my life is caused because I did not have God’s protection due to my sins.

This may be partly true and partly false.
First of all, as already stated, sin makes us more vulnerable to bad things happening - usually in the form of more sin. However - it is dangerous to assume that something bad is a sort of direct result (punishment) for some sin.
Bad things can and do happen to good people just as good things can and do happen to sinners.
All events in our lives contain lessons and opportunities. Being attuned to this fact can help one to make right choices so as to move closer to God.

  1. If I lived my life perfectly according to God, which I try and fail all the time, I would be safe and happy.

If we did this then yes we would be spiritually safe and happy - but do not confuse this with being physically or mentally or emotionally safe and happy. These can be very different things.

I need some help debunking or washing away these harmful signals.

As I’ve shared above…these signals are not entirely false - or particularly harmful.

I think that the main problem is that you are still trying to work under a very childlike set of understandings. “Try to follow the rules of the Church” is a fine premise - for a child - but for an adult - especially one trying to deal with anxiety issues - it is important to learn the WHY of the rules and to seek to incorporate ever more fully the most basic principle upon which our whole faith is built.
That Principle is Love (Agape) - a Selfless Love that Loves God above all else and Loves neighbor as we love ourselves. (Mt 22:36-40)

This principle of Love must be integrated into our very being and it must inform all of our actions and decisions. As one more fully understands and integrates this principle…the easier it is to obey the rules since all of the rules are based on a right understanding of Love.

Lastly - if you haven’t already - you might look into getting some medical help for your anxiety issue.

Hope this helps a little

Peace
James

Thank you for your replies.
It was good to hear some kind words today.

I agree that my belief is somewhat childlike, but I do not understand this adult understanding of faith, especially in regards to sin. Also how do I know that God is not upset at me for not having kids. I mean I am 37, but I truely feel like I just turned 21.

  1. I will see a priest today, and hopefully he will have some good news for me.

  2. I am seeing someone and taking meds.

  3. I think it all stems from a certain sense of inferiority I feel about myself.
    Example- No kids, no wife, and struggling at my job.

All I ever wanted to do was please my parents and be a good Christian.
However, the world and even the church looks down on me for loving a non christian, no being married, and worst of all not having kids.

You may say this is in my head, but I can feel the dislike even in church.

ed

Glad to hear that you are going to see a priest today.

I agree that much stems from this sense of inferiority. It seems that you have placed too much emphasis on pleasing others and so you don’t know how to give approval to yourself. I have had this issue myself.
However - I can assure that “the world” does NOT look down on you for loving a non-christian etc…“the world” could care less.
As for the Church…She may well have concerns about your lifestyle and choices you’ve made…but the Church still loves you for the Church is the body of Christ and Christ loves you.

Peace
James

Wow, Yes, thank you James,

You are right that I try to please others too much.

Yet EVERYONE did not God put me here to sacrifice my life for others, and give my life up
for them? I thought that was what God wants me to do with my life.

I have always been taught this servent role…

I guess I need to be told-STOP GIVING UP YOUR LIFE TO TRY TO GET TO HEAVEN.

Bascially, I have always viewed this world as a grain a sand, while the afterlife is a desert. So, I felt I should sacrifice my life on this earth. However, I think this sacrifice is killing me slowly.

Example-I always work about 50-60 hours because I think being a teacher is the best way to serve God. Is ok for me to work less, and try to enjoy my life more?

Update- I went to see Father Ed at my Church, and he helped out a lot. Basically he forgave me, told me to stop working so much, and stop fretting so much about sin. I think that is what everyone else is saying, or do I not get it?

What does it mean than to be a good Catholic or Christian without giving up your life?

ed

What you express above stems from a lack of understanding of what agape love truly means.

Look at this passage in Scripture
[BIBLEDRB]Mt 22:36-40[/BIBLEDRB]

Note the second great commandment…Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF!!!

Now - these are the great commandments and everything else is built on these. Remember that.
This same command is expressed in the “Golden Rule” - “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

How can you adequately love your neighbor if you do not first love yourself?
How can you know how to treat others if you don’t have a good idea how you wish to be treated?

We are to be channels of God’s Love in the world…this is very true…but - and this is important - we are to give from our overflow. We need not empty ourselves to the point were we ourselves are starving…that is not what God wishes. God has plenty of Love - So first, fill up yourself with God’s gracious love and then from that abundance - give God’s Love to the world.

Love your neighbor as yourself - must start with (appropriate) self love.

Peace
James

Thank you,

I guess I never thought of it like that…

However, how does one love oneself?

That can be a toughie…
Proper love of self would be things like not doing harm to yourself… seeking the highest good for ones self (in this case heaven).
Respect yourself and your value in God’s eye as one of His children…

Proper self love needs to avoid some things though…Like excessive pride, greed etc that are harmful to the self and to others.

The above are some quick thoughts…hopefully others can chime in on this…

Peace
James

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