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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:06 am 
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I'm not so irrational that I think I can control everything around me, but I certainly do have it within my power to control some things. Since some things are within my power, I choose to control them rather than to let them control me. As a case-study: I'm strict with my brother, but I do it out of love and try to communicate that love to him every chance I get. I acknowledge he is his own person, and that I cannot control him - nor do I want to - but I hold on to authority strenuously. I'm moulding his behavior through reinforcement. I'm certainly not lenient. Applying those principles to the other aspects of my life, I've noticed that things go wrong when the person who should be in control somehow loses it, hence I'm afraid of losing the control that I have over my family's life. I've lost much, Pdubya, but it's my brother that I'm worried about; his scarred heart cannot take another hit.

As to the truth setting me free... the philosopher in me wants to agree, but my philosophy is scattered right now. If I had to take a philosophical position, I think it would be the most boring: Pragmatism. "Reality" doesn't seem to do much for most Christians, but practical thinking and level-headed common sense without flying into mental abstractions keeps societies (even small societies like families) intact.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:54 am 
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"Reality" doesn't seem to do much for most Christians, but practical thinking and level-headed common sense without flying into mental abstractions keeps societies (even small societies like families) intact.


If you think "reality" doesn't do much for most Christians, and they're not level headed and lack common sense, why have you come here among Christians seeking answers?


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:36 pm 
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That was particularly in response to the poster before my last post who said that my lack of orienting my mind to God is ignoring reality. I wasn't saying that Christians in general (and I'm at least a nominal one) aren't level headed.

I'm still confused. I want to do what's best.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:37 pm 
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I used to be rather controlling. Not to the point of needing to controll others but in needed to feel like I had some control over the events in my own life. It took a number of serious events to happen in my life to finally allow me to surrender to the will of God. This is not to say that the desire to have some control doesn't creep up from time to time but I know that though I have the ability to make choices in this life, in the grand scheme of things it is God who is in charge and desires the best for all of us even if we don't understand the "why" of it. The more we align our will to that of God the easier and less stressful life becomes. Not to say that there won't be events that challenge and test us, there certainly will be, but they can become stepping stones helping us to grow rather than stumbling blocks hindering us in this life.

I would recommend reading Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade. It's an exellent read and will hopefully help lead you in the right direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:10 pm 
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I'd like to know just what it is Carton controls. I've given this very subject much thought and come to the conclusion that we don't control anything except our attitudes.

I don't control my wife except as much as she wants to be controlled. I don't control my sons. I don't control my boss, the secretary, or the judges. I can't control the weather, the price of gasoline, food or anything else.

My sons are finding out that they can't control children. If they could they'd get more sleep.

Carton I don't believe you control anything and I think your attitude is controlling you instead of you controlling it.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:19 am 
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It may be, DesertSailor, that you don't believe I control anything, but I don't think you really think that the only thing you control is attitude. I do not have complete control over much - that's true. But I do have some control over things like the household finances; I would be rightly considered irresponsible if I didn't. I also have some control over my brother's freedom and behavior, as I imagine you had the same when your sons were younger; I'm sure you didn't use it maliciously, but out of love - the same as I do.

I read a Prayer of Abandonment by Charles Foucald recently; it talked about being ready for all and accepting all. I can't pray that prayer, because I am not "ready for all." I don't know how to "align my will to God.," and I'm not sure how I would even begin to about to know what His will would be. I know that I'm to care for my brother, but to do that I must be in control of my life...

I'm sorry that I'm just not understanding. How do you give up control, and prevent uncertainty or disaster?


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:30 am 
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Carton wrote:
I'm sorry that I'm just not understanding. How do you give up control, and prevent uncertainty or disaster?


First you have to understand that you don't have control. You never did. We certainly can and must make choices in our lives concerning those things which have been placed, or found their way, in our care. I care for my children and make choices that I believe are in their best interest, sometimes those choices work out for the better, sometimes not. If not, I reevaluate, adapt and continue on. If something is meant to be it'll be, if it's not nothing we can do will change it. I still plan and act according to my plans but I know that no matter how detailed and well intentioned those plans are that Gods plan may be different and I may find my plans crumbling before my eyes. I can certainly try to get them back on track but if they continue to fall apart I simply accept it and move on. Adapt so to speak. The path I took may not be the one I was meant to follow and it's up to me, with Gods grace, to find that path I was meant to follow. It's not always easy but it's never so over bearing that I can't handle without Gods grace and guidance. Through this process I've learned to surrender to Gods will, even though I may not know or understand what that may be, and it's given me freedom and peace and made my faith that much stronger.

It's when we refuse to give up that false sense of control of our lives that we end up feeling frustrated, depressed, manic and any number of other emotional feelings, especially when things don't they way we hoped they would. The need to have control is really no different than any other addiction though we don't often see it that way. A person who has to have one drink a day is not any different than the one who has to drink till they pass. They're both addicted and both addictions are just as hard to break. An alcoholic often drinks to supress some emotion and a control addict does the same. For the control addict, regardless of how minor that addiction is, it's often that sense of uncertainty and unknowing that sit just below the surface. A sense that if they aren't in control that chaos will result. And in a world without God that might be true but that's not the world we live in. God created us out of love and He desires for us to share in that same love. He's not vindictive but He does what He needs to do in order to put us on the right path and sometimes that can be painful, especially if we are fighting Him along the way, but in the end it makes us a better person.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:11 am 
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Carton wrote:
It may be, DesertSailor, that you don't believe I control anything, but I don't think you really think that the only thing you control is attitude. I do not have complete control over much - that's true. But I do have some control over things like the household finances; I would be rightly considered irresponsible if I didn't. I also have some control over my brother's freedom and behavior, as I imagine you had the same when your sons were younger; I'm sure you didn't use it maliciously, but out of love - the same as I do.

I read a Prayer of Abandonment by Charles Foucald recently; it talked about being ready for all and accepting all. I can't pray that prayer, because I am not "ready for all." I don't know how to "align my will to God.," and I'm not sure how I would even begin to about to know what His will would be. I know that I'm to care for my brother, but to do that I must be in control of my life...

I'm sorry that I'm just not understanding. How do you give up control, and prevent uncertainty or disaster?

I dare say that you don't control your family's finances.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:30 pm 
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I cannot control them completely but I certain do have some control over them, that is exactly what I said. I assume that you balance your accounts and make sure that you're not spending irresponsibly. I control what I can, and prepare to respond (in a controlled, rational manner) to emergencies. If I didn't do these things, I would be irresponsible because I neglected to control my financial accounts. It would be immoral not to keep it under control. There are other things in my life that I see in the same light.

HumbleinSpirit, I can't see living like the way you've described; that's why this is my main difficulty with Catholicism. I can imagine believing everything the Catholic Church teaches, but I can't imagine living like one. The thought that "if it is to be, it will be; if not, then it won't" is just too fatalistic for me. Of course, I acknowledge that many things are not in my control, but like you said, I do have some control over things because I can make choices. If the first thing I need to know is that I don't control anything, then I'm not on square one yet.

On the other hand, I'm very very happy that my brother loves Catholicism. He's been so much happier lately; being able to pray for our parents has helped him a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:17 pm 
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I agree with the recommendation of Abandonment to Divine Providence. That will be helpful in discerning God's will. For instance, Fr. de Caussade would point out that we can know God doesn't will us to sin -- to violate His commandments. We know God wills us to keep His commandments in the positive sense, for instance in worshiping Him, praying to Him, trusting Him in all circumstances, loving our neighbor. We know that His will is for us to do our daily duties for our particular state in life insofar as it is in our power to do so. That right there is not an insignificant start.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:04 pm 
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There is an important distinction between being in control and having meaningful choices. Being in control means that I can ensure the outcome I desire, and no one can do that without being divine. But I can make choices between possible outcomes, or at least between means that I hope and believe will lead to possible outcomes. I cannot always choose which outcomes are available to me, and I cannot always make a choice that will always achieve its desired end, but neither am I merely a passive recipient of whatever fate should send my way.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:14 pm 
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At the end of the day, the surrender requires trust in God and a leap of faith. Especially when something tragic and unfair has undermined belief and security in life or stolen our innocence, there seems to be more to lose. From my experience, it helps to exercise trust in little ways consistently and commit to practicing trust every day if necessary.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:28 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Being in control means that I can ensure the outcome I desire, and no one can do that without being divine. But I can make choices between possible outcomes, or at least between means that I hope and believe will lead to possible outcomes.


I never said being in control is absolutely ensuring that the outcome I desire occurs. If I said that I'd be delusional.

Quote:
I cannot always choose which outcomes are available to me, and I cannot always make a choice that will always achieve its desired end, but neither am I merely a passive recipient of whatever fate should send my way.


Yes, that's what I mean; I'm in control of the choice, and in some way the consequences. I can't surrender it; I just can't.

Ellitrush, I think you understand... how are you able to trust in God?


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 6:32 am 
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Carton wrote:
Ellitrush, I think you understand... how are you able to trust in God?


When I suffered a devastating blow a long time ago, I threw myself into reading to find the God who seemed so absent from me… and even read the bible from beginning to end. (It took me 4 months and a fair bit of skim reading but I did it.)... but really didn't feel enlightened. Then I said to myself, do I believe what I've heard and learnt about this God? The loving Papa who loves me more than I could understand, who wants the very best for me; an insignificant little blip on a big radar, who is near to me in everything I do, hears the smallest prayers I utter, envelopes me in my deepest sadnesses.... Or don't I believe that? It was either true or it wasn’t. After that, it was just a matter of rejecting the negative voices whenever they intruded and simply asking God for everything I need. Over time trust becomes second nature.

“seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

Your perspective reminded me of Jesus and the Centurion - Matthew 8: 5 -13

Quote:
The Faith of the Centurion

5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”


See how the centurion regards his role of authority and responsibility? He says that he himself is under authority and in turn he has authority over those under him.

He was able to relates his place in a chain of command, to his recognition of Jesus acting on Gods authority to heal the sick, and this understanding allowed him to humbly approach Jesus for help without his own civil role being undermined or diminished.

Quote:
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


Jesus was amazed that this centurion grasped what others with Jewish heritage and who were brought up on the scriptures, couldn’t get.

It’s a great passage to contemplate in being more aware of the truth about our own authority and control in life.


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 Post subject: Re: Main Difficulty
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:41 pm 
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I see. I understand.


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