Even if you are new to keeping Torah, I’m sure you are already familiar with the cycle that can easily ensnare even the most faithful Torah observer. If not navigated properly, people tend to fall into one of three categories: going insane, going back to modern day belief systems, or walking away from faith (in YHVH) completely.
I remember how crazy I thought my husband was when he told me that we had it all wrong – how to walk out the Word, that is. What do you mean, you ask? Yeah, we were the faithful family… in church every time the doors were opened, we served, went to every function, participated in the plays – all of it. So what were we doing wrong? Well… pretty much everything.
Well, if you’re new to keeping Torah then I’m pretty sure you have been through all of that and are now bombarded with do it this way, do it that way, say it this way, wear it that way, and so on. Am I right? To help you navigate the traps, setbacks, and mountain circles, I’d like to share four ways to stay sane and grounded. I also recommend keeping this list handy throughout your walk.
1. Stick with Scripture
Simply put, read your Bible. Never get to a point where settling for a teaching is enough or that you’ve learned all you need and off to other books you go. While there are several books that have been removed from the Main Book, never leave the Main Book behind – never. You will never be lead astray by reading Scripture, especially when seeking Heavenly Father with everything you have. Yes, there are contextual controversies and demonic doctrines, but when you are reading Scripture with an eagerness to understand, the Father will reveal it to you. He will establish, confirm, and lead you in the way of understanding. I’m not saying that you can discredit teachers because they are vital and valuable to your halacha (walk). All the reason why my second piece of advice is…
2. Find a Teacher Who Sticks with Scripture
There are numerous teachers out there in the Torah Observant world. A lot. So how do you navigate the huge lake and find the right fish? Some key things to look for are, (they will):
- read their Bible (holding it to its proper authority over all other books)
- not deviate from true context (no matter how much they may not personally agree)
- live the lifestyle they are teaching about
- seek and give wise counsel (according to Scripture)
This list isn’t an exhausted one but it’s a pretty good start when looking for a teacher and fellowship. These things (and more) will be evident, and you won’t have to look far (or long) to see anything hidden or contrary. I must interject here and also say that if you find a teacher that aligns with the Word but you don’t like them because they step on your toes, that’s not reason enough to ditch them to the side.
Sorry, not sorry!
3. Don’t Stay on the Emotional Roller-coaster
You know what I’m talking about. It’s easy to get angry about all the lies you’ve been told. It’s even easier to stay furious at all the people who endorsed things opposite of what the Father considers acceptable and pleasing. The thoughts of all the time you’ve lost following another religion, observing Pagan holidays, sick from eating unclean – the list goes on – can indeed fuel the fire, but here’s the thing – you were called out. Simply put, get mad and get over it. There is work to be done, starting with glorifying the Father.
Majority of us have a lot of common ground – started out in a Sunday-church denomination, celebrated Christmas, Easter, Christoween (you know those Trunk-n-Treats and Octoberfests), called the Messiah by His 500 year-old name (Jesus), and mealed on pork and shellfish like it was going out of style. Only now to realize that the Father gave us the blueprint to life – when to worship, how to worship, what to celebrate, how to do it, what to eat, what to call Him and His Son, and so on.
Seems super overwhelming at first. Not to mention the family and friends who start attacking you with cultist slanders, thinking you’ve lost all your marbles. Even then, get off the emotional roller-coaster. Remember how you first started, where you came from, and where Abba has called you to.
4. Connect With Others (Virtually or Physically)
One of the most loneliest (and lowliest) times a person can ever experience is when you’ve grown in your beliefs and faith, only to realize that there are no other believers like you around. Trading in man’s traditions for the Father’s instructions is one sure way to see where everyone who claims to love, know, and follow the same God really is. You find out really quickly who is for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – and who isn’t.
If you’re like us, there isn’t a Torah Observant fellowship close enough for us to physically interact with on a normal basis. We have had the opportunity to take a few trips to visit a couple of fellowships, and the time spent was nice and over way too soon. Although we (and maybe you too) don’t have a physical fellowship, there are opportunities for virtual fellowship. It isn’t nearly as exciting as being in person, but it can be just as powerful. So my advice is to not let being dispersed get you down. Don’t let it keep you secluded more than you already are. Reach out and get connected!
I hope these four practical ways to sane and grounded are a blessing to you and your walk as a Messianic Torah Observant believer.
CHIME IN: Are you new to following Torah? If so, what are some thing you struggle with? If you’re not new to following Torah, share how you overcame some of the many obstacles you encountered! I’d love to hear from you!