Orthodox without any kind of guidance

silkybunny

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I'm sorry for posting here, but I can't speak to anyone in person and I need some help.

I am interested in joining the Orthodox church and believe it is correct. Both of my parents have forbidden me from attending a church and speaking to a priest or orthodox counsellor. I have so many questions about Orthodoxy, and don't know where to begin. I try to move forward in faith but don't know what to do due to lack of guidance (I would read the lives of the saints but feel their level of asceticism would only discourage me). Doing the basics (reading scripture, praying, fasting) isn't enough, I feel guilty for not doing more. I'm at a point where I can't do anything (go to events, do things I enjoy, wear clothes I like, go to work or school etc.) without being worried about hurting my spiritual walk or being selfish or self-indulgent. School holidays are driving me crazy because I don't know how to balance Orthodoxy and things I want to do, nor how to move forward in Orthodoxy. I'm spending all my time watching videos for advise from orthodox people, but it still doesn't seem to help me in any way. I'm obsessed and addicted to the internet because it's my only hope for orthodox advise, and its killing me.

If anyone has any advise, I would love to hear it if you don't mind sharing.
 
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HTacianas

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I'm sorry for posting here, but I can't speak to anyone in person and I need some help.

I am interested in joining the Orthodox church and believe it is correct. Both of my parents have forbidden me from attending a church and speaking to a priest or orthodox counsellor. I have so many questions about Orthodoxy, and don't know where to begin. I try to move forward in faith but don't know what to do due to lack of guidance (I would read the lives of the saints but feel their level of asceticism would only discourage me). Doing the basics (reading scripture, praying, fasting) isn't enough, I feel guilty for not doing more. I'm at a point where I can't do anything (go to events, do things I enjoy, wear clothes I like, go to work or school etc.) without being worried about hurting my spiritual walk or being selfish or self-indulgent. School holidays are driving me crazy because I don't know how to balance Orthodoxy and things I want to do, nor how to move forward in Orthodoxy. I'm spending all my time watching videos for advise from orthodox people, but it still doesn't seem to help me in any way. I'm obsessed and addicted to the internet because it's my only hope for orthodox advise, and its killing me.

If anyone has any advise, I would love to hear it if you don't mind sharing.

I don't know if you have read The Orthodox Faith by Thomas Hopko. If you haven't, it's a good place to start.


What specifically do your parents object to?
 
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Wildflower3

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Please don't feel feel guilty about living your day to day life and try to avoid religious scrupulosity. I have this too and it's very hard. Try to practice humility, forgiveness and love instead and you will do good.

I would also advise you pray daily to the Theotokos, asking for God to open a way to allow you to move forward in your Orthodox journey and eventually seeking the guidance of an Eastern Orthodox priest in this.

Hopefully those prayers to the Theotokos will soften your parents to the idea and they will allow you one day to do what you need to do.

That's just my advice. Do what feels right and safe for you.
 
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Wildflower3

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Just wanted to add a few more ideas.

Accept this one thing, that you will sin and fall numerous times a day, every single day. That's reality for us all. But you sound like you want to do good and are watchful of sin, you have the right attitude there. But constant fear and guilt is not good or healthy. Just live your life and try love Christ and your neighbor, to do good where you find yourself NOW, in the clothes you wear, activities you do, school you attend etc.

Also, pray for your parent's enlightenment and salvation.

I pray this all works out well for you and your parents and that your newfound faith in Orthodoxy will inspire them to seek it too one day.
 
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Lukaris

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Actually the most important aspects of our living faith is alms giving, prayer, & fasting as per the Lord in Matthew 6:1-15. If you are unable to give much, giving spare change to a Salvation Army bell ringer is fine ( for ex.). We can basically all pray. As far as fasting, go easy on this; this is more for the chrismated. Will try to add more later.,..
 
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silkybunny

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I don't know if you have read The Orthodox Faith by Thomas Hopko. If you haven't, it's a good place to start.


What specifically do your parents object to?
thank you! I'll take a look at it <3

My parents are worried Orthodoxy might be a cult...I don't know why. They're also worried that I've become very obsessed, with no life-religion balance...I think they're right, but I'm not sure if its ok for me to not be obsessed with these things...
 
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silkybunny

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Just wanted to add a few more ideas.

Accept this one thing, that you will sin and fall numerous times a day, every single day. That's reality for us all. But you sound like you want to do good and are watchful of sin, you have the right attitude there. But constant fear and guilt is not good or healthy. Just live your life and try love Christ and your neighbor, to do good where you find yourself NOW, in the clothes you wear, activities you do, school you attend etc.

Also, pray for your parent's enlightenment and salvation.

I pray this all works out well for you and your parents and that your newfound faith in Orthodoxy will inspire them to seek it too one day.

I didn’t consider praying to the Theotokos before…what a lovely idea! <3

what you say sounds very grounded to me. And helpful too, thank you! I'll remember it for sure.
Its so grim, that there’s really no way to stop messing up and sinning…God’s patience is incredible. I hope this becomes less of a struggle for you as well.
 
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Wildflower3

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You're welcome and thank you :)

I'm old now but you sound like me when I was younger, I took religion too hard and became legalistic and guilt ridden (still am that way but it's way better), my mom noticed and was concerned and said I was becoming a fanatic, but I was like you, doing it on my own without any guidance from a priest.

Ironically, your parents don't yet realize that your being part of a church family and having the balanced guidance of a good priest will actually likely make you less obsessed and guilt ridden.

I just thought of a video that might help you, it's geared towards those potential converts who have no access to an Orthodox church due to distance but I think the advice would also apply to those who have other obstacles (objecting relatives), he has a lot of content on his channel, I'm sure he's also got a video on that as well.

 
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ArmyMatt

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I sincerely wish I did, but aside from church I don’t know where I would meet any.
is there a ministry where folks your age meet outside of Church? because if you check their schedule you might be able to meet them outside of Church and they might be able to help you in your situation.
 
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Wildflower3

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A few more thoughts.

Yes, being Orthodox mean we have to repent and live holy lives, but that doesn't mean you reject all music, clothes, social activities. We aren't monastics. But we do need to make sure what we watch, wear, do is honoring Him and not offending.

So, we exchange our tv/movie/music to content that is wholesome and encourages the virtues versus sexual/violent/snarky hate-filled content. We stop wearing revealing/sexually enticing clothes. We stop attending social activities or parties that lead to sin ie: drinking/sex/drugs/stealing/gossip and instead find groups/clubs that focus on wholesome pastimes like shared hobbies/volunteering/sports etc. You don't have to give up things, just replace those with things their virtuous counterpart.

It would be a good idea, (if you haven't already) to cease mentioning Orthodoxy, church and all things religious to your parents. Try to "hide" from them, if able, even your struggles with balancing faith and "the world". It is leaving a bad taste in their mouth and will only contribute to their resistance to all things God/church.

A relationship with Christ should have us exude His love to others, not religious guilt, obsession or neuroticism (I struggle with this myself a lot!). At the beginning of the spiritual life many of us focus on the mechanics/rules/do's and dont's but that's where a priest and church parish play a part in helping us from going off the rails and becoming unhealthy.

I have OCD, you mention being obsessed, maybe you have OCD too. I recently found a great a resource for those of us who struggle with "religious scrupulosity/OCD". She isn't Orthodox but seems to have great video content that I totally relate to. I would reject her theology about salvation, etc. (since she is heterodox) but maybe take a look if you're interested, it may help you see unhealthy patterns in your self and help you let go of them or at least understand yourself more.


I hope I didn't overwhelm you with all this, but hope it helps you. ☺
 
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Lukaris

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Just a quick note here. I would suggest inquirers into Orthodoxy read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, it can be very helpful in understanding our relationship with fellow Christians.
 
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Wildflower3

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Edit: I didn't mean you should lie to your parents or be deceitful. It sounds like along with their false fear that Orthodoxy is a cult, they also are legitimately concerned with your unbalance of faith and life, like you say. Even an Orthodox priest may side with them on that. Take all my advice with a grain of salt and prayer.
 
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Lukaris

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There is an Antiochian Orthodox Church in the Brisbane, Australia area. Perhaps you could show your parents their website and hopefully all of you could meet with them.


 
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Just a quick note here. I would suggest inquirers into Orthodoxy read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, it can be very helpful in understanding our relationship with fellow Christians.
Dickens is good too
 
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