Sunday, July 6, 2008

How Do I Get Out Of The Rut Of Religion?

I tend to get in the rut of religion sometimes. I think sometimes I get so head strong about my beliefs and what I think about Father and tend to get angry when other’s who are on opposite sides of me. I think partly it’s because I give into my humanness and forget about Father in those times. Opposition seems to be on the forefront of my mind at times and I forget what really matters. Opposition will pass someday I am actually looking forward to that day, but what do I do about it right now? It’s a struggle I have to let go of and move on and learn how to keep Father on the forefront of my mind! It bothers me so much that I allow it to get in the way of ‘possible’ relationships. Not that they would go anywhere anyway, I just get really exhausted of what seems to be a huge bridge of opposition between me and some other people! A lot of it is having conversations with others; they just don’t get me, or don't want to even understand where I am coming from. When I am in a conversation with others, I try to give them a chance to share what is on their hearts and I don’t want to seem that I am opposed to their view, but, I hate to argue or find controversy in the midst of relating to others. It’s dull and sad and frankly, I hate it! So, usually if I know there is an angst of opposition I tend to shy away from that and talk shallow or never get too close to discomforting discussions. I want to overcome this, but there are so many people who have this mission to prove something to me and I just can’t go there! I never try to go that far with people, but I have thought about how sometimes my thoughts about certain people go there, and I just don’t like it! I feel like I can’t relate on a level of deepness, which I would like to be able to. I wonder sometimes if my thoughts like this don’t allow me to be who I want to be with people who are on different pages than I. It’s quite frustrating.

Any Thoughts?


Walking Church said...

I think Jesus loved people - all people (good the bad the ugly) - He wasn't a people pleaser.

As humans we loved to be approved by all we meet - the truth is this will not happen if you are truly centered in Him. You will share in His sufferings as He lives out His life in you and you in Him.

Keep your eyes on Him and His lead - don't be too concerned about looking at the body of Christ nor others. You cannot control the behaviour of others - but you can choose your behaviour to walk with Him in His love as He walks with you among others.

Probably nothing new under the sun for you Nic - you are being transformed more and more daily in His likeness.

Bino Manjasseril said...

Wow Nicole! This is a huge problem for me as well (I wonder if it is growing also), particularly among my relatives who do not believe what I believe. I wear that ugly coat of 'grace pharisee'. It's kind of ironic but it happens. In fact your post is a timely one because I am currently going through one of such issues. My brother and sis-in-law had a baby few weeks ago and now they are planning to have a ritual (according to their custom), which I don't believe in or entertain. But they have invited us for it and I am in a dilemma. I didn't really want to say no but at the same time I expressed (not directly) my displeasure in having or attending such practices. I have shared Gospel with them for quite a long time, in fact we did a bible study for almost 6 months and I have shared pretty much everything I knew about Gospel and for some reason they still practice some traditional religious customs. I could have told no to them but at the same time I didn't want to hurt them...

My struggle is this: I don't want to be a Pharisee, but at the same time I don't want to be an approver of dead religious customs in our family by attending such.

In short, I don't have a solution for your problem:) You can see that I am in the same boat. How do you handle this situation?
BTW, this is just one example. There are numerous other occasions I struggle with such as infant baptisms, Holy communion (Catholic) etc in the family.
When we had our daughter, we decided not to have an infant baptism for her (Infant Baptism is an extremely important custom in my parent's orthodox religion, where they think a person become a 'christian' only by being baptized.). My Mom almost fainted down when she heard of our decision. For them it was a huge blow to their status-quo among their parishioners. We went through an emotional turmoil during that time.

So this is not a simple thing (at least in my case).

I am looking for other's comments as well.

Like you said, I also struggle in simple matters such as conversing with an unbeliever. I tend to become so reserved (such as picking the 'right' words etc) and lose my norm.

Walking Church said...

What is Christ (His Spirit) telling you to do?

Walk in that light of the situation.

We are called to love.

I doubt we ought to use these opportunities to enforce our relgious beliefs or doctrines.

Just me thoughts

Aida said...

I agree with Walking Church. We can't and shouldn't try to force our beliefs on others and we should try to connect with them wherever we can.

Bino, I'm assuming your family is involved in a Christian group since you shared your mother's beliefs. I think family relationships are important. If you're going merely as a spectator with no really active participation, I don't think you're giving your approval of their customs. In my opinion, you're just loving them as your family. Apparently you have already made your views known to them so I'm not sure it's wise to put a wedge between you and your family by avoiding what is not a regular event.

These, of course, are just my thoughts on the subject but I'm sure you'll be guided by the life of the Holy Spirit and you'll make the right decision.

Family situations are always hard.

Nicole said...

Alvin, great words brother, thanks for the encouragement! I do tend to care too much about what humans think. I do care if someone agrees with me or not and I feel unsettled if someone doesn't. Now I am not saying that this is the right way of thinking, but I am just burdened when conversations of spiritual matters become more important than God. (The IT becomes more important than the HIM).... Now that I think about this kind of stuff, I really start to see the importance, but when push comes to shove and I have these kind of conversations, that is where the rubber meets the road, and becomes tough to handle!

Great insight brother!


Bro, I hear ya! It is really tough especially with family, I could only imagine. I have a hard time with this one. I am beginning to get what is more important in this, Father or the rituals and belief systems that try to make us 'do' and follow it. I feel for you Bino, and I certainly would have a hard time with what you are dealing with! I think what Aida said makes a lot of sense, focus on your family and your love for them, not on the to do list. Your focus may change for the better and you may find peace in that love you have for them...

Now, about my situation, how can I talk to people who are very open and abrupt about what they think and are very intimidating to be around even if the conversations aren't deep or spiritual? Is it a pride issue on my part to not want to be around certain people who act like that?!?! I am just curious.

I may be wrong here, (it wouldn't be the first) but sometimes I don't want to relate or put forth effort in relationships that seem to be one sided and I feel like I can't be myself or share what I believe without stepping on toes or offending them. I just want a better solution than what I have I guess! Maybe there isn't one!

Aida, awesome thoughts!!!!

I really liked what you had to say!

In Freedom, Nicole!

Aida said...

Nicki, lately I've given up on one sided relationships, not intentionally, but it just seemed to happen. I've always been the initiator and this year I haven't bothered. It's just been my family and my online friends.

I think it's okay to pull back from relationships that really aren't relationships. I don't like to be around intimidating people when I know the problem is not with me. Although we don't have to agree, I believe people need to respect me as a person and not try to bulldoze me. If at all possible, I avoid those types of people and don't feel guilty about it in the least.

Bino Manjasseril said...

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. I think it makes a lot of sense. It has been a great conversation and brings some clarity to my mind. I am not going to worry about such situations rather I am going to trust and leave the results to God.

Aida, what you said is correct.

If you're going merely as a spectator with no really active participation, I don't think you're giving your approval of their customs.

It's a freeing thought.

Nicole said...


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I believe that is what I needed to hear and wanted to hear! I am beginning to let it go and not let it effect me as much!

I appreciate your realness and openness, it is truly a blessing!

Bino, I am blessed that this post helped you as it did me! I completely feel relieved!

I love this kind of dialogue, keep it come'n!

Love you all!

In Freedom, Nicole!

Manuela said...

Wow, I got so much out of reading this post and the discussion-- so encouraging! It's challenging knowing how to love people who are so "armed" sometimes. Sometimes I really avoid them too, especially if I'm needing a break. I'm trying to give myself permission (that I already have from God) to take the time I need...(what Aida was saying)
I want to be who God wants me to be and not pressured by others to be something I'm not or do things I don't believe in. Does this make sense?

Nicole said...

Absolutely! I agree, it's not right to allow people to influence what or who you are, only Father has the authority to do so!

I am glad you were encouraged too!

In Freedom, Nicole!

Joel B. said...

I really enjoyed this post, and like Manuela said, I've also enjoyed reading the conversation.

I can relate to so much of what y'all have said. My family consists of such a... diverse... religious array (mostly of the "Christian" variety), from UCC to Presbyterian to Mormon to Pentecostal to Baptist to... you name it, and it seems as if everyone has different views on everything. As a group (when we get together for various reasons) we don't seem to talk about 'religion,' but one on one I've had several discussions with others and the temptation for me is to skip around the tough issues and find where we 'agree' on things to make things more comfortable. But I don't think that's always the answer. As has already been said here, what is Jesus saying and doing through us, moment by moment?

And overall, I also like what has been said - What we're about, as Christians, is loving people as God loves them. MUCH easier said than done, which is why it's not "us" but Him anyway... but the main thing is that the 'spiritual condition' of others is not our responsibility.

Jesus may just want us to sit and 'eat' with them, as He often did, just loving them and letting them know, mostly by our actions, that He loves them dearly. I put 'eat' in quotes because it goes much deeper than eating, of course. In Jesus' day, to accept an invitation to eat in someone's home meant so much more than simply sharing a meal. It meant that you accepted them, you were embracing them. The Pharisees would not 'eat' with "sinners," and they thought Jesus was stooping way too low by eating with tax collectors and sinners.

But those that the religious people rejected - God accepted - and as we grow in grace I think we can accept them more and more, not putting expectations on them but sharing the love of God with them.

I know that as for me - my religious, legalistic background has proved to continue to raise its ugly head in these situations. But I believe the Lord is helping me grow, and I can see this all over the place in our friendships that we've formed here in the blogosphere, we're all growing in reaching out to and loving the people who God loves who He has put in our paths.

Bino Manjasseril said...

Hey Joel,

Your comments reminded me the story of Jesus having dinner at Zacheus's house. It's an incredible story.

the 'spiritual condition' of others is not our responsibility.

That was a good reminder. Sometimes I tend to take things into my hands.

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