Ok so I’ve been Catholic for two years now but only recently came to terms with forgiving myself for my former life. I volunteer at my parishes life teen program and just recently told the programs director that I have a history of blasphemy. I was raised in Christina churches periodically till I was in fifth grade. I left the church after my parents divorced and my brother announced he was atheist. I never really stopped believing in god completely but there was a time I attempted to sell my soul, as well as smoked dozens of joints out of bible papers. That was before my secular humanist phase, I’m pretty sure I just didn’t want to face up to what I did. Anyway it’s a small world and I’m not sure if the negative effects of admitting I’ve done every drug know to man and done everything short of defiling the precious body will out way the possible benefits to the kids. Obviously if there in life teen there not likely being raised by a junkie, and probably not going to do more than smoke a joint or have a couple beers. She also thinks there may be a link between my moms foster mom who had her go to black masses and my family’s problems with hedonism. I have no problem accepting this in a spiritual way but that’s all portrayed in the media as conspiracy theory stuff. I’m afraid if I share with the group that I did all these drugs and think the devil had a part in it I’ll be labeled as crazy. Obviously I have some problems but I’m not delusional. Anyway I’m putting Jesus first in my life, but I want to be able to have a life. Do any of you have any advice on if I should share or not? I love the kids and want to make working with teens my living eventually but that would be hard if I’m labeled a burnt out whack job. Anyway prayers and advice are much appreciated.
First of all, maybe next time you can create paragraph so that it will be easier to read.
One of my favorite blogger is Steve Gershom. He’s a Catholic who has same-sex attraction. He doesn’t tell everyone that he is one, but he also doesn’t hide it. Whenever he talk to people and he feels necessary, he will reveal it to the person he’s talking to.
My point is, I think you should only talk about it if necessary because not everyone is ready to know it. Besides that, if the person doesn’t know you well, there’s high chance that they will judge you by your past and most likely, they won’t respect/listen to you after that.
And I also don’t think you need to explain in detail to everyone (e.g. about smoking joints out of bible paper).
That’s my 2 cent.
To volunteer with LifeTeen, your parish should require you to be Virtus trained. Also, parishes are supposed to have a background check done on all individuals who will be working with youth. In the three parishes and two separate dioceses where I have been employed, this has been required. You won’t need to go into your whole life tale, but you would need to be forthcoming with any criminal record if you have one, and as the Director of Religious Education I would personally hope you were able to confide your story in me so that I may have a background understanding of you, who you are, and where you come from. (I of course am not your personal Director of Religious Education in your parish–I am not asking for your details. :))
There is a real, potential benefit to having a Core member with your experiences. Not to glorify them, not to revel in them, but to share pieces of them as they see fit. There are several Life Nights I can recall off the top of my head from the curriculum that your witness–filtered of course with discretion–would have been appreciated.
your past is just that, the past. you are a new creature in Christ and you need to focus on that. Your paragraph is a little rambling with a bunch of different ideas that don’t fit. If you feel like you have a calling or desire to work with teens, you should contact your parish RCIA or priest and express your desire. As another poster accurately pointed out, you will have to attend some kind of protecting God’s children and have a background check to volutnteer. You do not need to go into everything you have done in the past and all its gory details. You can share with them that God has redeemed you from the past and you should focus on that.
For a time, I worked with homeless and runaway teens. We were encouraged not to get much into our own personal lives, to focus on theirs, instead. That’s what’s most helpful.
Even in teaching, teens will sometimes have an almost uncanny ability to feel a person out. We had one teacher who had been imprisoned, border crossing incident, but was then a teacher, had gone on with his life, had a family. This was teaching in a private school. They’d ask him, “Have you ever been in prison?” He would lie and say, “No”.
You can set boundaries as to what you want to discuss of your past. This is not a confessional. You are not obligated to talk about this.
If you wish to say you had experience with this, you can also be vague.
You can avoid the topic, saying you had a past…don’t feel comfortable talking about it now, would prefer to hear about their present lives.
I tend to think it’d probably be best not to talk about this, because someone could take it the wrong way, get the wrong idea. What you said is correct. Some people will believe you, and some probably won’t and may think you are even crazy.
So, in my opinion, I’d focus on their lives and problems rather than my own. Try to redirect any questions towards you back towards them, instead.
I don’t care how strange or embarrassing the things are that people thought they did, they are always welcome back so long as they accept God’s mercy and do not despair.
Thank you for sharing your story, and God Bless!
No I have no record at all. I’ve never been arrested for anything. I really should’ve been dead or incarcerated but somehow I always fell threw the cracks.
I don’t want to glorify that life at all I seriously thought I was going to hell and wouldn’t see 25. I never got addicted to any one drug, but recreational use of so many has given me obvious problems fitting into mainstream socioty. I think I’d be best to talk about people I know who did get addicted or arrested. I’m more or less a statistical anomaly.
I’m happy doing unskilled labor but I would like to try and educate myself enough to teach or work in addiction therapy. I’m really trying hard to adjust. I’m a nice enough guy I just need to learn basic grammar and how to use a scientific calculator and I’m set. The directors more or less been my mentor but I don’t feel comfortable sharing anything about blasphemy with anyone els. Thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate it.
Sorry for the formatting problems. I’m on a phone and usually have MS word do all of my grammar and formatting.
I have to agree with those who say that it is not necessary to air your laundry to any major extent on the forums here, using great detail. Since you are converting and in classes, your Priest / Pastor might let you do an early confession of something that is bothering you. I did this.
Many of us were scoundrels when we were young. It sounds like you are heading in the right direction!
I think your sharing the details of your past will be more a distraction than beneficial for the teens. The ministry is about them, not about you.
From what you have explained so far, I would say that it would be good if you took some time for yourself to develope an inner life with Jesus. It sounds as tho you still have a few uncertainties in your own mind.
There is no hurry. St. Paul took 3 years after his conversion to prepare himself before he began his work. I think it would be good if you were able to go to daily Mass and communion for awhile to get closer to Jesus.
Teaching is a position where one not only informs others but forms them as well. And we can only give to them what we have ourselves which translates into their formation. So taking some time out to form and develope yourself and grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus would not only help others, but would help yourself to help others.
You may want to take some time for yourself to draw closer to Jesus so you can be the teacher you want to be. I think you have a lot of potential ahead for helping others because you have the heart.
May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.
A good spiritual director might be handy for you, for lots of things.
It is not appropriate to share these things in life teen group with the teens.
I would keep these things to myself. There may be occasion from time to time to use your history to help connect with someone seeking but for the most part, I would keep silent. There is no need to overshare here.
However, you might still need a good spiritual adviser to help you process and reconcile. Forgiving ourselves is rarely a one and done thing I have discovered. You will find that as well, I am guessing, as you grow and age.
May God bless you in your good works and send someone to be a good spiritual guide for you as well.