A Brief Run-Through of My Spiritual Background to share where I'm coming from

  • Christian Chat is a moderated online Christian community allowing Christians around the world to fellowship with each other in real time chat via webcam, voice, and text, with the Christian Chat app. You can also start or participate in a Bible-based discussion here in the Christian Chat Forums, where members can also share with each other their own videos, pictures, or favorite Christian music.

    If you are a Christian and need encouragement and fellowship, we're here for you! If you are not a Christian but interested in knowing more about Jesus our Lord, you're also welcome! Want to know what the Bible says, and how you can apply it to your life? Join us!

    To make new Christian friends now around the world, click here to join Christian Chat.
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#1
Hello everyone. I've shared this with a few other people already who replied to my initial introductory thread, but I thought perhaps it would be good to just post then in a thread of its own. For those of who may have not yet seen my first posting in this form, my name is Daniel. I was named after the prophet Daniel of the Old Testament, Daniel in the Lion's Den. My middle name's Joseph, named after Mary's husband. :) I just joined this community and I will already say I feel very comfortable and welcome here, as though this were like a home where I can interact with a diverse group of Christians with all different perspectives and stories about their faith journey. I feel the love here, the lover radiating from the inexhaustible power of Christ. This is why Christianity has always been a 'home' and 'refuge' for me, even during the long periods of time when I was wandering in a dark wilderness and not embracing faith, there has always been this special connection for me with the family of Christ. And I though I have not done a good job in my 33 years of really grasping faith or truly surrendering my life, there has always been a positive magnetic energy that draws me back to Christ. So I am here. And I would like to share a brief overview of my background. This may look a bit lengthy, but I'm really just giving general details about my spiritual journey thus far. There is of course so much left out or so many gaps in between, as well as so much I could elaborate on. But as an introduction for you all, my friends, my brothers and sisters, here is a little bit about my story:
I was raised in a Christian home, attended a non-denominational Christian church all through my childhood up until about the age of 16, when I decided I wanted to "break away" from my family's tradition and began attending Catholic services with the intention of being confirmed and baptized as a Catholic. This had less to do with an earnest spiritual journey and more to do with a rebellious need to attach a different identity to my beliefs than that of my family's. But I don't regret a moment I spent in the Catholic Church. Indeed there are many aspects of it that I greatly admire and enjoy being around. But I didn't ultimately complete this process of initiation and about the time I turned 18 I just stopped going to church altogether. College years were devoted to adopting a "liberal" attitude and being an open-minded explorer of all different beliefs, including a lot of immersion in the Eastern Philosophies of Buddhism and Taoism along with the writings of thinkers antithetical to Christianity like Nietzsche or Schopenhauer or the Post-Modernists... I had lost any sense of solid belief in anything. I was wandering and exploring and unable to gain any sense of certainty. But I must point out that there was a very critical event that took place right after I turned 18, when I was nearly killed while traveling alone in Europe, being held at knife point in someone's car going on the freeway headed who knows where. It was by far the most terrifying moment of my life and it was then that I cried out to God and somehow miraculously escaped when the car came to an abrupt halt and then I jumped out and ran for dear life. A dear life that was spared by the power of God. It has always mystified me. I have never been able to make sense of why I should be allowed to live when so many others perish for doing less than I did by foolishly getting into that situation. But I have had to live with that and it changed my life forever. Because of that I have never been able to relinquish a belief in God. I don't think I have really been an atheist for a single day of my life. Yet years have passed, almost 16 years since that incident and because of what my life has turned into, I'm losing that sense of God... I cannot ever fully reject Him... but I still have a struggle in fully embracing Christian faith, even though I strongly identify it and seek a real relationship with Christ. I have suffered a lot because of my loneliness, severe depression, and sense of failure as well as a belief that I am unable to get what my heart wants from life, namely: love. I'm 33 years old and my life is in shambles. I spent 2.5 years teaching in Russia, followed by 4 years of teaching the public school system in California. All those years were very difficult, spent mostly in solitude, alienated from others, whether in the enormous foreign city of Moscow or the small town where I lived from 2014 till last year without a single adult friend. I was plagued by constant negativity and stress, my loneliness exacerbated all of this. My sense of God was totally destabilized. I began looking at everything in the starkest terms, adopting a sort of deistic/agnostic view of God, like He was somewhere out there, some transcendent force that for the most part was absolutely indifferent to the suffering of humans. I resented God for all my loneliness. Watching friends of mine (most of whom were non-believers) find the kind of love and companionship I wanted and then basically abandoning me. My own little world was shrinking progressively, consumed by my own mental prison, and I came to conceive of the universe as a place operating in a spirit of "anarchy," where in spite of the laws of nature and physics, all life forms essentially had no purpose and no personal deity to seek help from. A world where my life was simply an accident which never should've happened. I've had a problem throughout my adulthood with self-medicating and substance abuse. Over those three extremely lonely years teaching in that small town it all got worse. I was drinking 1-2 bottles of wine every night, smoking a pack of cigarettes every day, smoking lots of marijuana (this was in the marijuana growing capital of North America, the Emerald Triangle of Nor. California) and I was crumbling, barely hanging on in a state of endless turmoil. So alone. So isolated. On more than one occasion I came close to committing suicide. Some of this was quite frightening. The last attempt was very close. I was in the darkest state of mind I've ever sunken into. This was nearly 2 years ago. Last year I reached the point where I knew I needed to get out of that situation and that my life needed a new direction. I couldn't cope with living in such isolation any longer and moreover I simply couldn't handle the public school teaching profession. It was destroying my quality of life and driving me to the edge. So for the past year I have been stuck in the aftermath. I moved back to my parents and I have still been extremely isolated. Holed up inside this house every day, trying to figure out a new game plan. Applying for jobs in a sort of aimless fashion, with no clear objective of where my life is headed. It kills me to feel like nearly every day is wasted and that my life at age 33, close to 34, is so far removed from where I want it to be. I fear I will never be able to thrive and that any possible light at the end of the dark tunnel is too far out of reach to perceive. Life feels sterile and empty. I tell God I surrender. Take my life completely into your hands. I do not want to be the driver of this vehicle. I need God. I need Christ. I have no idea where to go from here. I keep praying and seeking... I need God more than ever. I need my life to be saved... I'm ready to do whatever it takes, ready to devote myself 100% to God... But then again there's so much inside me getting in the way. So much pain, anguish, anger, and just negativity that festers. I want faith but I guess I am struggling to have it. Anyways, that's my story. Thanks again for reaching out to me. God bless you.
 
Last edited:

blue_ladybug

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2014
65,482
3,491
113
#2
Welcome to CC. :) I couldn't and didn't, read your long wall of text. It's very hard to read without paragraphs to break it up. :( In fact, few here will even attempt to read it in that format. For future reference, PLEASE use paragraphs, they are your friend. :)

Magenta is good at reformatting walls of text for people. OH MAGENTA.. Paging Magenta. :eek:
 
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#3
I'm sorry about that. I tried fixing it and breaking it up into paragraphs but it wouldnt let me save it cuz it was more than 5 min after original post. i was disappointed cuz i had made some additional edits as well.
 

blue_ladybug

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2014
65,482
3,491
113
#4
It's okay. Since it's more of a testimony, actually you may want to have a mod move it to the Testimonies forum for you. :) Would you like me to contact a mod for you? :)
 
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#5
Hello everyone. I've shared this with a few other people already who replied to my initial introductory thread, but I thought perhaps it would be good to just post then in a thread of its own. For those of who may have not yet seen my first posting in this form, my name is Daniel. I was named after the prophet Daniel of the Old Testament, Daniel in the Lion's Den. My middle name's Joseph, named after Mary's husband. :) I just joined this community and I will already say I feel very comfortable and welcome here, as though this were like a home where I can interact with a diverse group of Christians with all different perspectives and stories about their faith journey. I feel the love here, the lover radiating from the inexhaustible power of Christ. This is why Christianity has always been a 'home' and 'refuge' for me, even during the long periods of time when I was wandering in a dark wilderness and not embracing faith, there has always been this special connection for me with the family of Christ. And I though I have not done a good job in my 33 years of really grasping faith or truly surrendering my life, there has always been a positive magnetic energy that draws me back to Christ.
So I am here. And I would like to share a brief overview of my background. This may look a bit lengthy, but I'm really just giving general details about my spiritual journey thus far. There is of course so much left out or so many gaps in between, as well as so much I could elaborate on. But as an introduction for you all, my friends, my brothers and sisters, here is a little bit about my story:

I was raised in a Christian home, attended a non-denominational Christian church all through my childhood up until about the age of 16, when I decided I wanted to "break away" from my family's tradition and began attending Catholic services with the intention of being confirmed and baptized as a Catholic. This had less to do with an earnest spiritual journey and more to do with a rebellious need to attach a different identity to my beliefs than that of my family's. But I don't regret a moment I spent in the Catholic Church. Indeed there are many aspects of it that I greatly admire and enjoy being around. But I didn't ultimately complete this process of initiation and about the time I turned 18 I just stopped going to church altogether.

College years were devoted to adopting a "liberal" attitude and being an open-minded explorer of all different beliefs, including a lot of immersion in the Eastern Philosophies of Buddhism and Taoism along with the writings of thinkers antithetical to Christianity like Nietzsche or Schopenhauer or the Post-Modernists... I had lost any sense of solid belief in anything. I was wandering and exploring and unable to gain any sense of certainty. But I must point out that there was a very critical event that took place right after I turned 18, when I was nearly killed while traveling alone in Europe, being held at knife point in someone's car going on the freeway headed who knows where. It was by far the most terrifying moment of my life and it was then that I cried out to God and somehow miraculously escaped when the car came to an abrupt halt and then I jumped out and ran for dear life. A dear life that was spared by the power of God. It has always mystified me. I have never been able to make sense of why I should be allowed to live when so many others perish for doing less than I did by foolishly getting into that situation. But I have had to live with that and it changed my life forever. Because of that I have never been able to relinquish a belief in God. I don't think I have really been an atheist for a single day of my life.

Yet years have passed, almost 16 years since that incident and because of what my life has turned into, I'm losing that sense of God... I cannot ever fully reject Him... but I still have a struggle in fully embracing Christian faith, even though I strongly identify it and seek a real relationship with Christ. I have suffered a lot because of my loneliness, severe depression, and sense of failure as well as a belief that I am unable to get what my heart wants from life, namely: love. I'm 33 years old and my life is in shambles. I spent 2.5 years teaching in Russia, followed by 4 years of teaching the public school system in California. All those years were very difficult, spent mostly in solitude, alienated from others, whether in the enormous foreign city of Moscow or the small town where I lived from 2014 till last year without a single adult friend. I was plagued by constant negativity and stress, my loneliness exacerbated all of this. My sense of God was totally destabilized. I began looking at everything in the starkest terms, adopting a sort of deistic/agnostic view of God, like He was somewhere out there, some transcendent force that for the most part was absolutely indifferent to the suffering of humans. I resented God for all my loneliness. Watching friends of mine (most of whom were non-believers) find the kind of love and companionship I wanted and then basically abandoning me.

My own little world was shrinking progressively, consumed by my own mental prison, and I came to conceive of the universe as a place operating in a spirit of "anarchy," where in spite of the laws of nature and physics, all life forms essentially had no purpose and no personal deity to seek help from. A world where my life was simply an accident which never should've happened. I've had a problem throughout my adulthood with self-medicating and substance abuse. Over those three extremely lonely years teaching in that small town it all got worse. I was drinking 1-2 bottles of wine every night, smoking a pack of cigarettes every day, smoking lots of marijuana (this was in the marijuana growing capital of North America, the Emerald Triangle of Nor. California) and I was crumbling, barely hanging on in a state of endless turmoil. So alone. So isolated. On more than one occasion I came close to committing suicide. Some of this was quite frightening. The last attempt was very close. I was in the darkest state of mind I've ever sunken into. An abyss of darkness too horrible to imagine. A bottomless darkness I wish I could forget. A darkness I hope to never fall into again.

This was nearly 2 years ago. Last year I reached the point where I knew I needed to get out of that situation and that my life needed a new direction. I couldn't cope with living in such isolation any longer and moreover I simply couldn't handle the public school teaching profession. It was destroying my quality of life and driving me to the edge. So for the past year I have been stuck in the aftermath. I moved back to my parents and I have still been extremely isolated. Holed up inside this house every day, trying to figure out a new game plan. Applying for jobs in a sort of aimless fashion, with no clear objective of where my life is headed. It kills me to feel like nearly every day is wasted and that my life at age 33, close to 34, is so far removed from where I want it to be. I fear I will never be able to thrive and that any possible light at the end of the dark tunnel is too far out of reach to perceive.

Life feels sterile and empty. I tell God I surrender. Take my life completely into your hands. I do not want to be the driver of this vehicle. I need God. I need Christ. I have no idea where to go from here. I keep praying and seeking... I need God more than ever. I need my life to be saved... I'm ready to do whatever it takes, ready to devote myself 100% to God... But then again there's so much inside me getting in the way. So much pain, anguish, anger, and just negativity that festers. I want faith but I guess I am struggling to have it. Anyways, that's my story. Thanks again for reaching out to me. God bless you.
 
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#6
I posted a tidier version broken into paragraphs below... next time i'll remember the 5 min rule and will be sure to not post one giant chunk of text. im used to writing stuff on quora where i can keep coming back to my answers and editing them whenever.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,941
843
113
#7
Hi! Daniel :) Welcome to CC :) Daniel Is my favorite book in the old Testament :)



Earnestly seek God...give all your cares to Him go to Him as you are...continue to pray and read the bible...meditate God's word it is the seed that grows the faith ..
God is a faithful God if you seek Him He will help your every need and will help you grow in your faith ❤




I'll pray for you Daniel :)



Thanks for sharing your story with us here :)




God bless you ❤
 
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#8
Sure that would be great! And if I can edit it to clean up the organization of it I'd like to do that. I didn't know if this was the best forum to post this, I just figured it was part of introducing myself in a way, but yes if there's a better forum for this, by all means. Thank you ladybug :)
 

blue_ladybug

Senior Member
Feb 21, 2014
65,482
3,491
113
#9
You're welcome. :)


Sure that would be great! And if I can edit it to clean up the organization of it I'd like to do that. I didn't know if this was the best forum to post this, I just figured it was part of introducing myself in a way, but yes if there's a better forum for this, by all means. Thank you ladybug :)
 

AustinCS

Junior Member
Apr 23, 2018
17
0
0
#10
Daniel, I won't post my whole story here but it's pretty much the same as yours. Same age same scholarly pursuit of other world religions and drugs and alcohol searching for fulfillment. I even moved home to my parents house about six months ago after a promising 10 year military career came to an end. Last night I was desperate enough to find this chat room because I believe that publicly sharing in faith and worship with others might be the missing piece of the puzzle for me. It's not being all doom and gloom I've had some highs and lows lately. At the high times I am close with God and life is good the trouble is maintaining that relationship on a daily basis
 
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#11
Thank you Austin,
I really appreciate you sharing this with me. It helps me feel less alone and I think it's interesting that we both joined this site about the same time with similar circumstances and reasons for seeking this community out. I would definitely love to hear your story some time and look forward to having future exchanges with you. Thank you for your service in the military as well. You're a braver man than me and deserve respect for that.

God Bless
 

Angelique

Senior Member
Aug 19, 2016
109
9
18
#12
Hi!

I understand your feelings. What touched me is that you say : I am almost 34 and far removed from where I want to be.
I want to tell you you are so young. You will get there. And you will find love too.

God bless !
 

AuntieAnt

Senior Member
Feb 23, 2016
3,909
347
83
#13
Hello, Daniel ~ I sure like that name better than dpecheur (which means the sinner in Creole French, right?). I love the story of Daniel in the lion's den. Especially the part where King Darius was so sad and worried about Daniel, that he runs to the lion's pit very early in the morning and cries out, "Daniel, has your God saved you?" I'm crying my eyes out right now just thinking about it. I always do. It's just so touching to me how God showed such loving mercy to Daniel and to King Darius, who prayed for him.

Things that stick out about your testimony are that you feel aimless, isolated, weary, far removed from where you wanna be, no plan, struggling with faith, unsure about what you believe.

But those things have no bearing on Who Jesus is, and on what that means for you, and me, and anyone else who is seeking Him. Nobody comes to God unless He calls them. Unless He puts the desire in our heart, we don't seek Him. So praise God, you can rejoice that God is calling you, young Daniel. And if He's calling you, His plan for you is already in action. He is making a way for you and conforming you into the image of Jesus Christ.

We rely on the faith of Jesus Christ that God has given to us, not our own weak and wobbly faith. It is a gift of God. As a mother and grandmother, I lovingly instruct you to get to know Father God. Talk with Him, spend quiet times just meditating and listening to His gentle Voice in your heart. Practice handing your worries over to Him and just concentrate on the Lord, look into His face (in your spirit). Practice resting in His kingly, fatherly embrace. Listen with your heart, not your head. The Lord will renew your mind day by day, and give you rest, showing you the way each step.

I pray for you, son that your testimony will be, "Christ Jesus is faithful!" I pray you begin to see not a light at the end of a tunnel, but the Light of Life who loves you and yearns for closeness with you as your Father, Comforter, Savior, and Friend. Thanks for sharing your testimony, dear Daniel. :eek:

460x465.jpg
 
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#14
Thank you very much for your kind words. It's very uplifting to receive this kind of encouragement and a positive message filled with the pure love of Christ. Means a lot.
 
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#15
Oh and yes by the way "pécheur" (with accent aigu over the first e) is the standard French word for "sinner," and is pronounced like "pay-shur." However, "pêcheur" (with the accent circonflexe over the e) is the word for "fisherman," and is pronounced in the way that rhymes with "pressure," and that is actually the correct pronunciation of my family name. I'm pretty fluent in French though it's been a while since I've gotten to practice it regularly... But anyways it's reasonable to believe one of my ancestors was a fisherman by trade and you can think of this as the Christ-like opposite of the "sinner" meaning if you think of a "fisher of men". :)If you look up the Pecheur Lozenge Company that used to be in Brooklyn New York, that was founded by my great-great grandfather. In fact there was also a Supreme Court Case involving the company in 1942 over some copyright infringement. I'm sharing links if you are so curious:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Pecheur_Lozenge_Company_v._National_Candy_Company
http://willbradley.com/work/film/bitter-fruit-aka-the-black-lagoon/ruth-pecheur/

My grandfather (dad's father) adopted his mother's last name "Pecheur" after his father, whose last name was "Steiner," passed away when he was only 3 years old. Steiner is a Jewish name and because of anti-Semitism my grandfather thought Pecheur the safer name to keep.
Anyways, a little family history for you. :)
 
Apr 22, 2018
99
49
18
#16
Hi Angelique--

thank you very kindly for reading my story and being compassionate. I certainly hope to 'get there' and find love... I've done a poor job of driving the car of my life and I am more than ready to let God take the steering wheel. :)
Thanks for the words of encouragement. It means a lot. God bless you.
 

AuntieAnt

Senior Member
Feb 23, 2016
3,909
347
83
#17
Oh and yes by the way "pécheur" (with accent aigu over the first e) is the standard French word for "sinner," and is pronounced like "pay-shur." However, "pêcheur" (with the accent circonflexe over the e) is the word for "fisherman," and is pronounced in the way that rhymes with "pressure," and that is actually the correct pronunciation of my family name. I'm pretty fluent in French though it's been a while since I've gotten to practice it regularly... But anyways it's reasonable to believe one of my ancestors was a fisherman by trade and you can think of this as the Christ-like opposite of the "sinner" meaning if you think of a "fisher of men". :)If you look up the Pecheur Lozenge Company that used to be in Brooklyn New York, that was founded by my great-great grandfather. In fact there was also a Supreme Court Case involving the company in 1942 over some copyright infringement. I'm sharing links if you are so curious:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Pecheur_Lozenge_Company_v._National_Candy_Company
http://willbradley.com/work/film/bitter-fruit-aka-the-black-lagoon/ruth-pecheur/

My grandfather (dad's father) adopted his mother's last name "Pecheur" after his father, whose last name was "Steiner," passed away when he was only 3 years old. Steiner is a Jewish name and because of anti-Semitism my grandfather thought Pecheur the safer name to keep.
Anyways, a little family history for you. :)
That's fascinating history! I checked out the links, too. I do remember those Peco candy coins and the candy cigarettes mentioned in that article. Wow, really cool info. :D

By the way, I sent you a friend request.

Blessings to you, Daniel!
 
Jan 12, 2017
7
0
0
#18
Hi,
You have done a lot of exploring in your spiritual life - trying to find out what is true and if there something better than Christianity out there. I did a similar experiment in high school/early college. Although I had gone to a denominational church growing up - my science teacher in High School convinced me that we were not created by God. Sadly, that led me to wander off into many worldly pursuits (which I now regret). When I was in college, a campus minister asked me "Where would my soul go if I died today?". That question troubled me deeply. I had no answer to that question - even though I had grown up in a church - I really did not know much about what it taught. Going to church in my early years was just a routine that we did as a family - nothing more. Then things changed in my mid college years. I started attending a Bible study and studying the scriptures like never before. I came across scriptures like John 14 v. 6 where Jesus says "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Then there was Jeremiah 29 v 13 - You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Then there was Romans 10 v 17 - So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Wow! Powerful stuff I thought. I wanted to experience all of these things and experience faith like never before. I was fortunate enough to be around strong Christians who showed me how to live the Christian life. I attended Bible studies, I found out how I could transform my life through Jesus, I had prayer partners, I learned how to share my faith and serve others, among other things.
My advice to you would be to find a good Bible centered, Loving church in your area. Get connected with a good small group Bible study. Memorize scripture - it will grow your faith immensely. Watch out for doubts - they will creep in as you grow in your Faith. The enemy does not like us growing in Christ! Allow other Christians, the Bible and much Prayer to get you through your doubts and troubles (including loneliness). Another good thing to do - watch the DVD series by Lee Strobel called The Case for Faith and the Case for Christ. You can learn from Lee's struggle with Christian beliefs and how he overcame these doubts. Prayers for a Great Christian Journey for the rest of your life! It is the most rewarding life there is! It comes with both good and bad days - don't let the bad days trip you up. Good luck my friend!