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How much does God really "control"?


Spirituality & Religious Beliefs Contemplate your place and purpose in the universe.

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Old 9th February 2017, 8:17 AM   #16
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If God controls the land and disease,
Keeps a watchful eye on me,
If he's really so damn mighty,
My problem is I can't see,
Well who would want to be?
Who would want to be such a control freak?

-Modest mouse, bukowski

I personally think if there is a god and he's in full control then he must be a bit of a nutcase and not someone I would want to worship anyway.
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Old 9th February 2017, 8:38 AM   #17
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Depends of how you define God.
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Old 9th February 2017, 9:29 AM   #18
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This article might be of interest to you, it's about how siblings are often forgotten for their role in the care of the disabled.

https://www.seattlemet.com/articles/...e-other-sister

Anyway, helping to look after your sibling is a very honorable thing to do. I still don't think that requires you to be a recluse, and I still think you need to focus on your interactions with friends and family.
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Old 9th February 2017, 10:32 AM   #19
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I was always taught that it is important to try your best to follow the will of God, because God knows everything, He is everywhere, and He knows what is going to happen and how it is going to happen, and when it is going to happen.

I also feel that I had to learn over the years that sometimes... it can be difficult to determine what exactly "God's will" is, due to multiple factors. Like.... sometimes, something can seem like the right way to go, but it turns out it wasn't the right thing for you, maybe you only tried to go down that path because someone kept pushing you in that direction.

But I also feel there is a matter of balance in some areas, like... sometimes, you really do have to wait for some circumstances or events to line up. But in other areas, you don't get anywhere by sitting on your rear and waiting for some things to happen, there will always be things in life that you have to go out and do for yourself.

Plus I have sometimes found that I discovered something I wasn't even looking for while I was out pursuing something that someone else suggested, and this other thing ended up playing a pretty big role in my happiness or made my life easier in some way that it wouldn't have otherwise. So sometimes.... it is good to make the attempt even if you don't get the results you thought you wanted or you thought you were aiming for.

But I also feel that one has to be careful with... well, what a former friend of mine once referred to as "fake Jesus vibes", where... I guess it's the kind of thing where you go to a church event or go sing songs and hang out with other believers, you go away feeling really happy, but... it's the kind of thing that wears off after this break when you return to your regularly scheduled life/routine.

Plus I think maybe... it could be considered a form of egging one-another on? Just, not in a negative sense where two people encourage or fuel anger or negativity in one-another, but.... it's still the kind of thing where... you get into an atmosphere of vibes, emotion, etc... I almost want to equate it distantly to getting slightly "high", even if it's not the same thing, but the point is.... again, once you return to your regular life, that's it, it ebbs away.

But yeah I guess I'm getting a little off-track here. ^^;

Either way.....

At the start of this year, I made a new years' resolution that was combined with a promise to God that I would spend one entire year indoors. This is partly because I was suffering a lot of emotional aftermath after... some things that have been going on over the last few months. My other posts heavily indicate what. But there is more to it.

I have felt for quite some time now that there has been a bit of a war going on inside myself. In a way, I suppose you could even say I did kinda give up on God in some areas, especially as I turned more and more to non-Christian people for guideance and help.

Now, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with turning to people of different faiths or those who don't believe in God at all for anything. I can safely say that I learned a lot of things from my former atheist friend I never would have otherwise, and one thing I valued about some of my non-religious friends is that there are some areas where they seemed to have a better grip on reality/realism than some religious folks did (though I am not trying to pick on religious folks either, because there are also plenty of insightful religious peeps.)

I think... I don't know. I think I went through something for a while where I didn't really want anything to do with Christians, at least not much. I... don't know if you could say I sorta became a bigot in my own way, it's just.... I felt like I was raised to think that atheists were automatically of the devil, and they promoted evil, etc etc etc. Then I found myself going to almost the opposite extreme, because I found that there are plenty of decent atheists or non-religious people, and I think I became temporarily biased because I had been deeply hurt by some Christians who thought they knew it all.

In the end though... I felt like I had to make a symbolic gesture of penance. I had hated my family for so long, I kept focusing on the negative side of things, I kept screaming about how I wanted to move out if I could only get the chance, and my friends.... who kept seeing first-hand how much a lot of the crap had effected me personally, emotionally and mentally, what else could they do except keep pushing me to get out?

Especially since.... since I had spent so much time playing up, exaggerating, and overdramatizing the negative side of my family and all the crap that happened, I never said much of anything positive, so... my friends were shocked when I began to shift over to saying my family really isn't that bad, and that we were working things out.

In the end, I felt like I had to make a choice. I had to choose my family and God, (and for various reasons, my family needs me and I need them right now) or choose to stay in the negative nest I had made that consisted of people I had "taught" to think my parents were ogres, people who would continue to try and push me to move out or at least do this or that. (Again, partially my fault)

The end result, I ditched and hurt a few people, even if... I felt like my time with them was ending anyway, because there were toxic/unhealthy elements and I simply felt like the friendships were on their way out anyway.

And so... I guess part of this goes back to the entire notion of "Honor thy mother and father", I felt like by vowing to become a recluse, I was making a significant gesture toward God, showing my family that I was forgiving them and I was going to stay to help them in the ways they needed even despite everything, and it was also a blatant acknowledgement that I'm gonna knock off the childish attitude myself and that I am finally noticing and acknowledging just how much they have been bending over backwards trying to keep me happy even despite everything else.

Plus, I'm the type who just doesn't really like going out much anyway. I technically have a few friends in town, but I'm an introvert and I prefer being a recluse. Plus sometimes, when I'm dealing with my own emotions, I need long periods of time alone, or sometimes just talking to one friend on the phone once a week is good enough for me.

And there just isn't much out there, plus there is the fact that it is just far easier for my parents to do the grocery shopping since they can always do it right after they get off work, and if I want something I just ask for it and I get it, within reason, (and I try not to ask for too much), and this way is really a lot less of a hassle than having everybody pile into the car and go someplace, especially since we have only one driver in the family (and it's not me) and we have to be careful with the car due to it being on the firtz.

So in the end, I have largely happy with being a recluse, and I also felt like the vow to stay indoors was a very powerful symbolic gesture due to how much I had screeched, screamed, raved and complained about how secluded I felt all my life thanks to my family, and now that I have a number of personal freedoms and flexibilties I never had before (plus they never treat me like I am six anymore, and they no longer care if I go outside and never ask where I am going just as long as I am available to perform the obligations I have agreed to), well... I just feel like everything is working now, I can even find it in my heart to forgive them as much as I am ever going to, especially since, as I said, I can recognize they have been trying their best nowadays to make me happy and make up for past mistakes.

Overall, I am extremely grateful and blessed, especially since not every family gets this opportunity, and not everyone has the chance to have all/most mistakes acknowledged, aired out, and to get second chances at getting their ***** together. We all pretty much agreed that most families probably would have said "eff it" by this point and left each other a long time ago..... I'm still not sure why we stuck it out or why we're still together or how it happened. I honestly think God may have had a large part in it.

But anyway............

I broke my vow yesterday. I went outside.

But there was a clause in the promise, I will admit. I told God when I made the promise that I would stay indoors unless He somehow made it clear that it was okay for me to go outside again. And for a time.... it seemed like it was perfectly clear I should stay inside, especially since staying indoors was giving me a good chance to heal from some things, to get my thoughts and emotions more organized, and it did seem like I was being gently prevented from going out, because whenever something happened where I COULD have been asked to go out and do something, something else happened instead where I ended up not needing to.

But... two days ago, I got into a slight snit with a friend where she told me that I NEEDED fresh air, and if I was doing this for religious purposes, even monks went outside to tend their gardens or deal with traders, and that I couldn't just stay pent up dealing with my family day by day.

And.... I started to feel like... maybe it was time? Maybe staying indoors for a little over a month was all the penance required, all the symbolism that was needed. (plus I had to acknowledge more that perhaps another part of the reason why I was doing this in the first place was just the symbolic equivalent of sticking up the middle finger to that one pesky person who kept telling me I NEEDED to spend as much time outside as possible and do this or that out there, which... that side of things wasn't necessarily right, but I think the other aspects I mentioned held some merit.)

So I went outside yesterday. And it was a beautiful day, the weather was great, I had a very nice walk, and I also know that my parents apprecaited the fact that I stopped by the post office and picked up the mail because it was their day off, (and they were dealing with some issues) so it meant they didn't need to go out that day.

I also just spent some time at the library, interacted with a couple of people, read just a bit of a book, used one of the computers there for just a little while. And....

Yeah, God didn't strike me dead obviously for going outside.

And I am making tentative plans to go out tomorrow, especially since we are having one of those semi-rare times where we actually have a small windfall of money, and I'm gonna have a bit to just go out on the town and have fun.... maybe figure out what "fun" should be for me out there or what I should do with it.

So.... I don't know. I'm not sure if this post actually ended up being about enough spiritual-related or God-related, but I think I got my point across about what has been going on?

Sooooo.... I guess I was wondering if any Christians and/or spiritual-minded individuals had any insights or thoughts on anything I put in this post, although anyone with any belief system or whatnot is welcome to chime in.
Oh my goodness, Tanya, I read through your whole post and bolded the things that are THE EXACT things going though my heart right now with my own life.

I especially can relate to the 'Fake Jesus Vibes.' I am a Christian woman who has spent the last 4 years struggling with depression, especially during the winter season with SAD, as well as dissatisfaction with my marriage. In Christian circles, you feel like if you are depressed, then you just plain "aren't in touch with the Holy Spirit." I have so much trouble understanding this.

I went to a women's meeting called 'The IF Gathering' this weekend and it made me actually feel WORSE! It just seemed like the women hosts of the broadcast were on fire for God, had overcome their issues. They all seemed so upbeat and confident and perky and superficially 'perfect.'

I just wish I had enough 'Holy Spirit Power' to just snap myself out of it, like these women were able to do. I have prayed over and over again and sometimes I feel the happiness and contentment coming back, the motivation to get out of my house and exercise, or socialize, but then something triggers me and I'm feeling like a recluse again.

Like RecentChange said, I also feel like going outdoors is a natural, spiritual and emotional benefit. Where I live, this time of year there are a lot of below-zero days and even though winter has a lovely natural beauty of its own, it is hard to motivate myself to go running/walking in the cold weather, but it is what I need.

I just want to say that I can SO relate to both you, Tanya, and todreaminblue.
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Old 9th February 2017, 5:41 PM   #20
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Yes - Great movie one of my favs also. Al Pacino is really exceptional in it. Plays a very convincing devil. Vanity - definitely my favourite sin.
Indeed! He is also fantastic in Scent of a Woman.
“HOOh Ah” lol

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The interesting thing to consider when you watch the movie is: Is Al Pacino actually the bad guy or the good guy ? Did the "devil" force the main character into evil or did he actually in the end turn him away from it ?
I think, Al Pacino’s character (John Milton), ‘advocated’ immorality.

I view Milton’s hand in it as:

-Turning Keanu Reeves’ character (Kevin) into an egotistical ##bleep##VANITY (i.e seeking Kevin out, retaining Kevin and helping him win every case, giving Kevin cases only he could win).

-Causing Mary Ann (Kevin's wife) to feel insecure about herself; her inability to conceive a child; and then raping her - driving her to insanity.

-Implanting demons to kill Eddie Barzoon.

-Milton’s end goal - to have Kevin and his half-sister conceive the AntiChrist to overthrow God and destroy heaven.

He is the ‘serpent’ in this regard. He is diabolically cunning.

In the end, did Milton succeed in transforming Kevin to a good man?
Well, according to the bible, suicide is as equal to murder.
Kevin is then given a second chance to morally redeem himself, ultimately choosing the apple.

Did he MAKE Keanu Reeves’ character (Kevin) stray?
I think not. Enter Free Will. Or, so one would think...

Paradise Lost.

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When we are behaving improperly it is only through this negative correction mechanism - sometimes horrible to endure - that we are lead back to the correct path.
Hmm. I disagree to a degree. A person such as Henry Lee Lucas (or any habitual offender for that matter) - never returned to the “correct path”.

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Just as with children's development we understand they need both discipline as well as love - the same applies to us in a spiritual sense. A balance of both is often needed.
From a cognitive development standpoint, our brains are fully developed by age 22. And we now know some are born with a genetic variant of a particular chromosome that is defective linked to violent and psychopathic behaviors. Which, cannot be cured through discipline and/or love, or via introspection.

Now, if God controls everything - that would include Satan, right? In that regard it is said:

God wants us to learn to properly exercise a level of responsibility:

"Man must first learn how to discern right from wrong, good from bad, and the wise from the foolish.

God allowed Satan, the epitome of evil, to enter the Garden of Eden and tempt Adam and Eve to depart from God’s instructions.

They then had to make a choice. They chose to follow Satan rather than God".


So it would appear, that there is such a thing as Free Will. But at the same time, in the Bible it says "God controls everything".

Ah what a paradox.

Maybe John Milton was right after all, lol.
Vanity.
"Heaaaha"
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Old 10th February 2017, 2:23 AM   #21
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"God is in control". <snip> while God is all-knowing and omnipresent, He chooses not to control everything, because that defeats the purpose of free will.
That is true; it would definitely defeat the purpose of God's Law of Free Will, because, through that, we human Beings of Earth have been endowed with the power and authority of being in charge over what happens on Earth.

God will not over-ride His Own Laws, because doing so would mean that we would no longer be able to make our own decisions and choices about what we want to believe and how we want to behave and perceive/treat each other on Earth. That is, God cannot come storming into Earth to 'save us' from ourselves, because that would necessarily mean violating His Own Law.

The Purpose of Earth is for us to learn to make, of our own free will, high-quality or spiritual decisions and choices (based in and arising from genuinely-felt love, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, a desire for true/spiritual justice and for equality, a sense of inner peace, etc.) - even if we have to learn through having to suffer and endure the consequences of our own detrimental and harmful decisions and choices (our spiritual mistakes, errors or 'sins') -- which is what humanity and the planet - individually, collectively and on the whole - have been suffering and enduring throughout our recorded history, until now.

Yes, we can also explain current conditions, circumstances and events through the actions of humanity and various phenomena observed and measured by material science, but the root causes exist beyond the physical-manifest plane - at the levels where we actually exercise our free will.
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Last edited by Ronni_W; 10th February 2017 at 2:51 AM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 10th February 2017, 11:07 AM   #22
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I think, Al Pacino’s character (John Milton), ‘advocated’ immorality. I view Milton’s hand in it as:
-Turning Keanu Reeves’ character (Kevin) into an egotistical ##bleep##VANITY (i.e seeking Kevin out, retaining Kevin and helping him win every case, giving Kevin cases only he could win).
-Causing Mary Ann (Kevin's wife) to feel insecure about herself; her inability to conceive a child; and then raping her - driving her to insanity.
-Implanting demons to kill Eddie Barzoon.
-Milton’s end goal - to have Kevin and his half-sister conceive the AntiChrist to overthrow God and destroy heaven.
He is the ‘serpent’ in this regard. He is diabolically cunning.
So let me play the "devils advocate" here The way that term is used I think shows what I meant - The saying means a person who advocates for an opposing cause for the sake of argument so that the original thing - perhaps an idea, concept, a policy or lets say in a legal setting (like the movie) a person - can be exposed to a thorough examination and then improved. In this context that thing being examined was the central character played by Keanu Reeves - Kevin Lomax. Al Pacino playing the devils advocate is the one who was doing the examination.

So let me be clear I'm not saying that the role the devilish Pacino played was honorable or fair - far from it. Calling him the good guy was definitely a bit of a stretch - but I'm saying he served a purpose - the one that the term "playing the devils advocate" infers. It is there to test the validity of something. To see whether it stands up under pressure. Because pressure - it changes everything pressure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1Oy00cEnpY

Now obviously in a perfect world Keanu would already have learnt the lesson that he should not do the things he did .... He craved fortune and professional success and was willing to turn a blind eye to hurting people and releasing men he knew were pedophiles and murders free in order to achieve that selfish goal. We would ideally have liked for him to already be at that stage of development where he knew that it was wrong and he didn't do it .... but he wasn't and applying pressure in the right places revealed that.

In this instance he was only able to reach the stage of making the correct choice - by actually making the mistake continuing down that path - undergoing suffering as a result of his bad choices - then being released from that suffering and given the chance to make a mends. What we would call old fashioned discipline the same as we would give to a child who misbehaves.

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Hmm. I disagree to a degree. A person such as Henry Lee Lucas (or any habitual offender for that matter) - never returned to the “correct path”.
Even discipline has its limits - if we refuse to learn from our mistakes - generally punishment continues to get worse until eventually they throw away the key.

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Now, if God controls everything - that would include Satan, right? In that regard it is said:
God wants us to learn to properly exercise a level of responsibility.
God wants us to learn to properly exercise a level of responsibility: "Man must first learn how to discern right from wrong, good from bad, and the wise from the foolish. God allowed Satan, the epitome of evil, to enter the Garden of Eden and tempt Adam and Eve to depart from God’s instructions. They then had to make a choice. They chose to follow Satan rather than God".
Exactly and kind of the point I was making - that Satan\Devil\Suffering all serves a specific purpose. We have free will - but that responsibility comes with built in consequences. For me this is life the "devil" will come to us all at different times in our life to test our validity. Its methods are naturally always specific to our weaknesses. Areas we are strong - don't feel the pressure. Unfortunately we all still have some lessons left to be learnt the hard way. I've made a few recently - but having found weaknesses - I try to use the negative experience for a higher purpose. To see it as an improvement process - rather then simply in a negative context as pointless suffering.

Oh and I also love this particular scene from the movie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZTF-VLdZkY

Last edited by Justanaverageguy; 10th February 2017 at 11:58 AM..
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Old 10th February 2017, 5:37 PM   #23
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The Purpose of Earth is for us to learn to make, of our own free will, high-quality or spiritual decisions and choices (based in and arising from genuinely-felt love, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, a desire for true/spiritual justice and for equality, a sense of inner peace, etc.) - even if we have to learn through having to suffer and endure the consequences of our own detrimental and harmful decisions and choices (our spiritual mistakes, errors or 'sins') -- which is what humanity and the planet - individually, collectively and on the whole - have been suffering and enduring throughout our recorded history, until now.

Yes, we can also explain current conditions, circumstances and events through the actions of humanity and various phenomena observed and measured by material science, but the root causes exist beyond the physical-manifest plane - at the levels where we actually exercise our free will.
Well said! We seem to see things quite similarly Ronni - I've noted a number of your posts that seem to mirror my own views on life \ spirituality
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Old 11th February 2017, 4:23 AM   #24
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Well said! We seem to see things quite similarly Ronni - I've noted a number of your posts that seem to mirror my own views on life \ spirituality
Thanks, Justanaverageguy. . I had also noticed that we are 'in sync' on a number of our views - perhaps there will be a thread in which we can share some of
our 'sources of Wisdom and Spirituality' without going off topic.

In Love and Light,
Ronni
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Old 12th February 2017, 12:54 AM   #25
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Great question. Without chasing everything down from the Bible. I am going to give a shoot from the hip answer from my general perpective and how I understand things.
I think it is more of a case that everything is under control. I think of it more like a case of controlling the flow of water. The course of water follows the path that us created for it. I suspect that the Lord can direct things to the final desired outcome through a variety routes no matter which way you turn. Sorta like a mobile phone map app. To help guide getting you to your destination on time, he might open up routes, put up road blocks, adjust the timing of stop lights...
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Old 12th February 2017, 6:33 AM   #26
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I suspect that the Lord can direct things to the final desired outcome
Yes, of course He can - but it has to be done in accordance with the Will of God and the Law of God, most especially the Law of Free Will -- so, we have to
ASK before we can or will receive the Lord's Direction, Protection, Forgiveness, Instruction, Guidance. Because of the Law of Free Will (and also the
Law of Cause and Effect/ Karma), these things are NOT automatic...even though they are freely, unconditionally and infinitely available to all who ask.
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Old 12th February 2017, 3:18 PM   #27
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc
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Old 22nd February 2017, 8:16 AM   #28
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Unhappy

The correct (and biblical) answer to this question is not popular. Even most Christians will shrug at this idea--all the while claiming to believe the Bible.

God controls everything. Literally everything. The Bible even says that a leaf cannot fall to the ground without his awareness.

However, there is a distinction between God's ACTIVE will and PERMISSIVE will. God, for reasons unknown, allows some pretty awful things in the current, temporary stats. The best example would be Satan, himself, and all his evil schemes. God even granted the nations of the earth to him! Why!? I'm waiting on an answer just like you. But the Bible is CLEAR on this. The world is currently Satan's, and will remain so until the second coming.

God's active will refers to those things he directly causes to happen. Did you know your eternal destination (heaven or hell) is HIS choice and not yours? God chooses YOU, not the other way around. See Romans 9:22 for an explanation of this. Again, it's a highly unpopular belief even amongst Christians but it's the only completely biblical view. It completely defies human understanding and even our palate but we must seek the truth and not what sounds good and makes us feel good.

God is loving. He is merciful. But he is also "terrible" (Psalm 47:2) and a God to be feared. He is the center of all things, not you. His word goes, not yours. All false theology originates from a failure to recognize that God, not us, is the measure of all things. Our feelings on issues are irrelevant.

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Old 22nd February 2017, 2:15 PM   #29
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God controls everything. Literally everything. The Bible even says that a leaf cannot fall to the ground without his awareness.
Yup, this is one very logical answer. The other logical answer being that God doesn't exist. Free will is an illusion either way.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 3:24 PM   #30
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Free will is an illusion either way.
Then...who - or what external force or agent - is in charge of and controlling you and your mind, choices, decisions and actions?

Or, are you saying that we are all completely and utterly at the mercy and whim of an unpredictable Higher Power? .
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