I’ve Freed Myself From Repression

May 22, 2024

By Xinyi, China

In January of last year, the leader arranged for Li Xin and me to be jointly in charge of the church’s text-based work. Since I had just started training, Li Xin didn’t arrange a heavy workload for me, and when I ran into difficulties and problems, she would fellowship with me based on the principles. I didn’t have to worry too much, and the work wasn’t that stressful. In March, I was chosen to be a church leader, and I felt a greater burden on my shoulders. Doing leadership duties, I had to be in charge of the church’s overall work, and had to resolve and deal with all sorts of problems, and I always felt pressure inside. At first, I often received letters from the upper-level leader about implementing work, such as watering and gospel work, as well as the work of clearing out and expelling people, text-based work, grooming people, and so on. I had to respond in detail regarding how each task was planned and arranged, what deviations or problems had arisen in the work, how they were to be resolved going forward, etc. Because I was in charge of a lot of work, sometimes, as soon as I had implemented a task, I’d have to go to the church to implement other work. Every day, there was so much work waiting to be handled. After busying myself like this for a period of time, I wanted to stop and take a break, to watch some experiential testimony videos and listen to hymns as a way to relax. But considering that there was a whole lot of work that urgently needed implementing, I felt aggrieved, thinking that I had no freedom at all when doing this duty. One time, the upper-level leader saw that the progress with the church’s cleansing work was slow, and that several documents for clearing people out had not been submitted, so she pruned me, saying I had no sense of burden in my duty. At the time, I wanted to reason with her, but I knew she was right in pruning me, and that I should accept and submit to it. After that, I went to the church to collect those evaluations, and after busying myself for several weeks, I finally had the materials in order. Right after that, I had to hurry to check up on and implement several other tasks. During that time, I was often rushing around busily from dawn to dusk. I was always tightly wound, and I was quite tired out. I thought, “When will I be able to get a proper rest? Being busy like this every day is really repressing.” When I did text-based duties before, my workload wasn’t so heavy. I had Li Xin by my side to share the burden with me and didn’t feel any stress. I missed those times so much. Ever since I took up leadership duties, I was busy as a bee every day, so I grew repressed and didn’t want to do this duty anymore. However, I felt that thinking like this showed a lack of reason. The brothers and sisters would definitely think that I was unable to deal with stress or endure suffering. There was nothing I could do; I had to stay cooperative.

Later on, the church faced arrests by the Communist Party, and we had to deal with some problems in the aftermath. The sister I was partnered with and I were swamped with work, so I didn’t pay any mind to the watering work I was in charge of. I thought to myself, “I have to find some time to ask the watering workers about their situation.” But then, I thought of how busy I was handling these problems in the aftermath of the arrests. It wasn’t like the results of the watering work would just see major improvement right away, and plus, I still had other work on my hands. I was better off finishing that first and then checking up on the watering work. The upper-level leader sent me a letter to remind me that I couldn’t let other work slide just because I was dealing with the aftermath of the arrests, and she formulated a specific plan for the watering work. I couldn’t help but feel resistance, thinking, “I’m already in charge of a lot of work, and now she’s laying down even more demands. There’s no way I’ll have time to get this all done! Why doesn’t anyone show any consideration for my difficulties? I’ve only got two arms and two legs; how can I do this much work simultaneously?” I felt a bit irritated and repressed, and I didn’t even want to look at the leader’s letters. But all this work still had to be done. If the newcomers backed out because they weren’t watered in time, that would be a transgression. I wouldn’t just be pruned; I might even be dismissed. Then, I went to get an understanding of the watering work’s progress and the newcomers’ problems, but because I had no desire to be proactive, I was perfunctory when checking up on the work and just went through the motions so that I could report back to the leader. During that time, I appeared to be busy with things nonstop on the surface, but I was really just begrudgingly going from one task to the next. When implementing the work, something was always missing or lacking, and the work would have to be redone. I went through every day dejected and exhausted, and the work results were on the decline. The sister I was partnered with said I had no sense of burden, and I felt I’d been wronged, thinking, “I’m in charge of all this work, and I’m working all day every day. How could you say that I have no sense of burden, that I’m not diligent? You’re demanding too much of me!” The more I thought, the more aggrieved I felt, and I thought I really couldn’t do this duty anymore. Rather than being in all this pain, I was better off resigning to go do a laid-back duty; then I wouldn’t be so repressed. I was overburdened with negativity. One night, I went before God and prayed to Him, “God, I’m in great pain, and I don’t think I can take much more. I don’t know which lesson I should learn. Please enlighten me and guide me to be able to understand my problem.”

After praying, I read a passage of God’s words: “What does it mean to be unable to do as one pleases? It means not being able to act upon every desire that passes through one’s mind. Being able to do what they want, when they want, and how they want is a requirement that these people have in both their work and lives. However, due to various reasons, including laws, living environments, or the rules, systems, stipulations, and disciplinary measures of a group, and so on, people are unable to act according to their own wishes and imaginings. Consequently, they feel repressed in the depths of their hearts. To put it bluntly, this repression happens because people feel aggrieved—some people even feel wronged. Being unable to do as one pleases, to put it in frank terms, means not being able to act upon one’s own will—it means that one cannot be willful or freely indulgent due to various reasons and the restrictions of various objective environments and conditions. For example, some people are always perfunctory and find ways to slack off while performing their duties. Sometimes, the work of the church requires haste, but they just want to do as they please. If they don’t feel very well physically, or are in a bad mood and in low spirits for a couple of days, they will be unwilling to endure hardship and pay a price to do the church work. They are particularly lazy and covetous of comfort. When they lack motivation, their bodies will become sluggish, and they will be unwilling to move, but they fear being pruned by leaders and being called lazy by their brothers and sisters, so there’s nothing they can do except reluctantly perform the work along with everyone else. They will, however, feel very unwilling, unhappy, and reluctant about this. They will feel wronged, aggrieved, annoyed, and exhausted. They want to act based on their own will, but they dare not break away from or go against the requirements and stipulations of God’s house. As a result, an emotion begins to emerge within them over time—repression. Once this repressive emotion takes root in them, they will begin to gradually appear listless and weak. Like a machine, they will no longer have a clear understanding of what they are doing, but they will still do whatever they’re told to do every day, in the way that they’re told to do it. Although they will continue to carry out their tasks on the surface without stopping, without pausing, without stepping away from the environment of performing their duties, yet in their hearts they will feel repressed, and think that their lives are exhausting and full of grievances(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (5)). Seeing what God’s words exposed, I understood that my always feeling repressed and in pain when doing my duty was actually primarily because I didn’t want to be kept in check and just wanted to do as I pleased. Whenever I was faced with circumstances that weren’t to my liking, when I couldn’t do whatever I wanted and faced restrictions in everything, this gave rise to my repressive emotions. When I had just started doing text-based duties, the leader didn’t demand much of me, and I had Li Xin there to guide me while I studied the craft. When difficulties arose, Li Xin would promptly fellowship with me and help me. In addition to that, it was a relatively cushy job, and I wasn’t stressed at all, so I liked doing my duty in that way. But ever since I started with leadership duties, I’d been in charge of much work, and I’d had to concern myself with and keep tabs on all sorts of tasks in the church. I’d had to participate in and resolve every matter practically. Later, when the church was faced with arrests, I needed to deal with the aftermath and became even busier. To alleviate some of my stress, I wanted to put off attending to the watering work, but the upper-level leader didn’t relax her supervision on this work in the slightest. This ruined my plan, and my flesh had to suffer more, so I was unable to submit. But I was afraid others would say I couldn’t endure suffering if I didn’t do the work, and even more afraid that the newcomers wouldn’t be watered well and I’d have to take responsibility, and so I reluctantly submitted. However, I still felt repressed, and I did everything absent-mindedly. I was perfunctory in my duty, just going through the motions and doing what was asked of me. As a result, I disrupted and disturbed the work. The sister I was partnered with called me out, and I grew even more resentful and willful. I even wanted to accept the blame and resign from my duty. I was so unreasonable! Afterward, I realized that my problem was quite serious, and I didn’t dare to go on being so intransigent.

After that, I read these words of God: “In society, who are the people who do not attend to their proper work? They are idlers, fools, slackers, hooligans, ruffians, and loafers—people like that. They do not wish to learn any new skills or abilities, and they do not want to pursue serious careers or to find a job so that they can get by. They are the idlers and loafers of society. They infiltrate the church, and then they want to get something for nothing, and to obtain their share of blessings. They are opportunists. These opportunists are never willing to do their duties. If things do not go their way, even slightly, they feel repressed. They always wish to live freely, they do not want to perform any kind of work, and yet they still want to eat good food and wear nice clothing, and eat whatever they wish and sleep whenever they want. They think that when a day like this comes, it will surely be wonderful. They do not want to endure even a little bit of hardship and they wish for a life of indulgence. These people even find living exhausting; they are bound by negative emotions. They often feel tired and confused because they cannot do as they please. They do not want to attend to their proper work or to handle their proper affairs. They do not want to stick to a job and do it constantly from start to finish, treating it as their own profession and duty, as their obligation and responsibility; they do not want to finish it and achieve results, or do it to the best standard possible. They have never thought in that way. They just want to act in a perfunctory manner and to use their duty as a means to make a living. When they face a little pressure or some form of control, or when they are held to a slightly higher standard, or made to shoulder a bit of responsibility, they feel uncomfortable and repressed. These negative emotions arise within them, living feels exhausting to them, and they are miserable. One fundamental reason why living feels exhausting to them is that people like this lack reason. Their reason is impaired, they spend all day indulging in fantasies, living in a dream, in the clouds, always imagining the wildest things. That is why their repression is very difficult to resolve. They are not interested in the truth, they are nonbelievers. The only thing we can do is ask them to leave God’s house, to return to the world and find their own place of ease and comfort(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (5)). This passage of God’s words moved me very much. God exposed that the root cause of someone feeling repressed is that they want to indulge in their flesh and don’t want to be kept in check or have to suffer a little. As soon as they’re unable to satisfy their fleshly desires, they feel repressed and in pain. They never think of attending to their proper work and fulfilling their duty, always wanting to idle about in the church. People who really pursue the truth and attend to their proper work see their duty as their responsibility and obligation. They don’t think much of having their flesh suffer or enduring some stress for the sake of doing their duty well. They know that only if they do their duty well will their life have value and meaning, and because their pursuit is positive, they don’t feel repressed or in pain. God likes and blesses such people. I was well aware that it was God’s special grace that I could take on leadership duties. However, since I was in charge of more work and needed to concern myself with more tasks, and since the upper-level leader was also checking up and supervising, my opportunities to enjoy comforts were fewer. Because of this, I thought that doing this duty was too hard and repressing, and I wanted to spend every day relaxing without any stress. I thought of those ruffians, gangsters, loafers, and scoundrels in society. They never think about proper things, drifting along and cheating people for food and drink all over the place, slacking off in their work. People like them live without integrity or dignity, and others look down on them wherever they go. They’re the lowest people of all. Meanwhile, I always wanted to pursue fleshly comforts in my duty and didn’t think to keep forging ahead. I didn’t want to suffer a little, and in essence, I was someone who didn’t attend to their proper work and just wanted to get a free lunch in God’s house. Although being a leader is a bit more tiring, every day one comes into contact with more people and things and gets more chances to practice. For instance, for the church’s cleansing work, one needs to be equipped with the truth of discerning others. As for watering work, since the newcomers don’t have a stable foundation, one needs to possess the truth of vision to water and support them. Also, the implementing of other work touches upon relevant truth principles. This is something one can’t gain from just doing a simple duty. However, I didn’t treasure these chances that God gave me to gain the truth, and I always thought I was too busy and too exhausted doing leadership duties, unable to live as I pleased. When the upper-level leader supervised my work, I resisted, and I was perfunctory when implementing work and slowed down the work progress. I didn’t self-reflect, going on living in repressive emotions and even wanting to leave my duty behind. I really didn’t have a conscience or reason at all! I felt especially distressed and upset when I read these words of God: “They are not interested in the truth, they are nonbelievers. The only thing we can do is ask them to leave God’s house, to return to the world and find their own place of ease and comfort.” It felt like God was exposing me right in front of my face. God defines such people as nonbelievers, and He despises and detests them. If I still didn’t turn around my attitude toward my duty, sooner or later God would reveal me and cast me out. Recognizing this, I was a bit scared, and I silently prayed to God in my heart, “God, I don’t want to keep muddling along like this. I want to be someone who has normal humanity, who has sound reason, and who attends to their proper work. Please guide me to understand myself more deeply.”

While seeking, I read a passage of God’s words: “What causes people’s repression? It is certainly not due to physical fatigue, so what causes it? If people constantly seek physical comfort and happiness, if they constantly pursue physical happiness and comfort, and don’t wish to suffer, then even a little bit of physical suffering, suffering a bit more than others, or feeling a bit more overworked than usual, would make them feel repressed. This is one of the causes of repression. If people do not consider a small amount of physical suffering a big deal, and they do not pursue physical comfort, but instead pursue the truth and seek to fulfill their duties in order to satisfy God, then they often will not feel physical suffering. Even if they occasionally feel a bit busy, tired, or worn out, after they go to sleep they will wake up feeling better, and then they will continue with their work. Their focus will be on their duties and their work; they won’t consider a bit of physical fatigue a significant issue. However, when a problem arises in people’s thinking and they constantly pursue physical comfort, any time that their physical bodies are slightly wronged or cannot find satisfaction, certain negative emotions will arise within them. … They often feel repressed about these matters and are unwilling to accept help from their brothers and sisters or to be supervised by leaders. If they make a mistake, they will not allow others to prune them. They do not wish to be restrained in any way. They think, ‘I believe in God so that I can find happiness, so why should I make things difficult for myself? Why should my life be so exhausting? People ought to live happily. They shouldn’t pay so much attention to these regulations and those systems. What’s the use of always abiding by them? Right now, in this moment, I am going to do whatever I want. None of you should have anything to say about that.’ This kind of person is particularly willful and dissolute: They do not allow themselves to suffer any constraint, nor do they wish to feel constrained in any work environment. They do not wish to adhere to the regulations and principles of God’s house, they are unwilling to accept the principles that people should hold to in their comportment, and they do not even wish to abide by what conscience and reason say that they should do. They want to do as they please, do whatever makes them happy, whatever will benefit them and make them comfortable. They believe that to live under these constraints would violate their will, that it would be a kind of self-abuse, that it would be too hard on themselves, and that people should not live like that. They think that people should live free and liberated, indulging their flesh and desires with abandon, as well as their ideals and wishes. They think that they should indulge all of their ideas, say whatever they want, do whatever they want, and go wherever they want, without having to consider the consequences or other people’s feelings, and especially without having to consider their own responsibilities and obligations, or the duties that believers ought to perform, or the truth realities that they ought to uphold and live out, or the life path they should follow. This group of people always wants to do as they please in society and among other people, but no matter where they go, they can never obtain that. They believe that God’s house emphasizes human rights, grants people complete freedom, and that it cares about humanity, and about tolerating and forbearing with people. They think that after they come to God’s house they should be able to freely indulge in their flesh and desires, but because God’s house has administrative decrees and regulations, they still cannot do as they please. Therefore, this negative repressive emotion of theirs cannot be resolved even after they join God’s house. They do not live to fulfill any kind of responsibilities or to complete any missions, or to become a true person. Their belief in God is not to fulfill the duty of a created being, complete their mission, and attain salvation. Regardless of the people they are among, the environments they are in, or the profession they engage in, their ultimate goal is to find and gratify themselves. The aim of everything they do revolves around this, and self-gratification is their lifelong desire and the goal of their pursuit(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (5)). Before, I always believed that my repressive emotion was due to being too busy with my leadership duties and caused by stress and difficulties. Through the exposing of God’s words, I finally saw that it was a problem with the thoughts and views on my pursuit that caused my repression. I always wanted to do whatever I pleased in my duty, and when faced with any stress and difficulties or being unable to satisfy my flesh, I lived inside this repressive emotion. This was because I was influenced by the poisons Satan had instilled in me, such as “Seize the day for pleasure, for life is short,” and “Drink today’s wine today,” thinking that people should treat themselves well in life. In the past, when I was a student and the high school entrance exams were near, the school gave us a few days off to review our lessons. My classmates felt pressed for time and wanted to make a final push before the exams, but I didn’t want to strain myself like that, thinking my exam results weren’t all that important and there was no need to tire myself out. I spent that time hanging out with a few close friends, having none of the anxiety people get before exams. When I began my career, I also made decisions based on fleshly preferences. One company had strict requirements for its employees, and I felt repressed and restrained, even handing in my resignation and leaving. I thought that one should live freely and easily like this. After believing in God, I kept these same views in my pursuit, wanting to do a relaxing, stress-free duty. When my duty got a bit busier and more stressful, it would give rise to my repression, my resistance, and my being perfunctory and going through the motions in my duty. I had no humanity whatsoever. I knew all too well that the Communist Party was now frantically arresting and persecuting God’s chosen people. The upper-level leader, considering that the newcomers’ statures were small, said we needed to step up the watering and support so that they could put down roots on the true way as quickly as possible. By checking up on the watering work and supervising a little more closely, the leader was entirely taking responsibility for the newcomers’ lives and being considerate of God’s will. This was what a leader was supposed to do. But because my flesh had to suffer and pay a price more, I resisted and complained, not taking the watering work seriously. This led to some newcomers’ lives suffering losses due to them not being watered in time. For people who love the truth and have a sense of responsibility, when regarding their commission from God, they first think of how to be considerate of God’s will and live up to His demands. No matter how great the difficulties or stress they face, they are able to confront these in a proactive way, implementing each task seriously and responsibly. Comparing them to myself, I was doing leadership duties, yet I didn’t take responsibility in my work and went through the motions when implementing tasks. Treating my duty like this, I wasn’t worthy of anyone’s trust, and I’d thrown away my integrity and dignity. If I continued being unrepentant toward God, I would seriously delay the church’s work, and God would condemn me and cast me out! If I hadn’t been revealed like this, I wouldn’t have recognized these mistaken views in my pursuit for all these years, and I’d have thought that pursuing in this way was quite free and easy. I truly was so foolish and ridiculous.

Later on, I found a path to practice from God’s words. Almighty God says: “Those who truly believe in God are all individuals who attend to their proper work, they are all willing to perform their duties, capable of shouldering a piece of work and doing it well according to their caliber and the regulations of God’s house. Of course, it may be challenging to adapt to this life at first. You may feel physically and mentally exhausted. However, if you truly have the resolve to cooperate and the willingness to become a normal and good person, and to achieve salvation, then you must pay a bit of a price and allow God to discipline you. When you have the urge to be willful, you must rebel against it and let go of it, gradually reducing your willfulness and selfish desires. You must seek God’s help in crucial matters, at crucial times, and in crucial tasks. If you do have resolve, then you should ask God to chasten and discipline you, and to enlighten you so that you may understand the truth, that way you will get better results. If you genuinely have resolve, and you pray to God in His presence and supplicate to Him, God will act. He will change your state and your thoughts. If the Holy Spirit does a little work, moving you a little, and enlightening you a little, your heart will change, and your state will be transformed. When this transformation occurs, you will feel that living this way is not repressive. Your repressed state and emotions will be transformed and alleviated, and they will be different from before. You will feel that living like this is not tiring. You will find enjoyment performing your duty in the house of God. You will feel that it is good living, comporting yourself, and performing your duty in this way, enduring hardships and paying a price, following the rules, and doing things based on the principles. You will feel that this is the kind of life that normal people should have. When you live by the truth and perform your duty well, you will feel that your heart is steady and at peace, and that your life is meaningful(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (5)). From God’s words, I saw that God likes people who truly believe in Him and attend to their proper work. No matter what sort of difficulties or stress these people face in their duty, they can take on their responsibilities and obligations as adults and accept, submit, not try to escape, and act according to the principles and demands of God’s house. When they are not able to do this, these people will pray to and rely on God and seek the truth. Because of their pursuit and the price they pay, God will enlighten and guide them. These are the people whose lives have value. Comparing this to my performance of my duty, when I had the slightest difficulties or stress, I’d live inside my repressive emotions, not seeking God’s intentions and even wanting to evade my duty. I was absolutely not someone who was considerate of God’s will. Before, when I was doing a simpler duty and there wasn’t much demanded of me, that was because my stature was too small and I had just started training. Now, I was doing leadership duties, and the weight on my shoulders was heavier, so naturally more was demanded of me. It’s like how when a child in a family becomes old enough to do some work and undertake household duties, his parents will certainly require more from him. If he is afraid to suffer and doesn’t attend to his proper work, then he has no humanity and his parents definitely won’t like him. God had favored me by having me do such an important duty and putting a heavier burden on my shoulders. His intention was to have me understand more truths and for my life to grow faster, for me to shoulder my responsibilities like an adult and be someone with a conscience and reason. After understanding God’s intention, I felt much more liberated. I couldn’t go on being unworthy of God’s thoughtfulness. Even though I had more work and more stress, I had to straighten out my attitude toward my duty and put effort into the truth principles, seeking more with my partnered sister and the upper-level leader when I didn’t understand something while gradually making up for what I lacked and living up to God’s demands.

In September, the Communist Party’s arrests were getting increasingly serious, and we could only do work behind the scenes. Despite this, I still had to deal with all sorts of problems that the brothers and sisters were reporting and seeking to resolve every day, along with the work that the upper-level leader asked us to urgently implement. The constraints of these circumstances had an impact on our implementation of various tasks and our handling and resolving of issues. Every day, these matters were weighing heavily on my mind, and it was very mentally taxing. Moreover, the upper-level leader would promptly send me letters to check up on the progress of different tasks. I started to resist again, and I thought to myself, “The leader’s supervision of the work is too detailed and too frequent. At first, I thought that working behind the scenes meant I could rest a bit, but not only has the workload not decreased, it’s actually gotten bigger. Now I don’t have any opportunities to indulge in my flesh. I’ll be so repressed if I have to keep doing my duty like this in the future!” I realized that once again, my state was incorrect, and I hurriedly went before God, calling out to Him and asking Him to protect my heart. Later on, I read God’s words: “As an adult, you must shoulder these things—without complaining or resisting, and especially without evading or rejecting them. … Whether in society or in God’s house, it is the same for everyone. This is the responsibility you should bear, the heavy burden that an adult should carry, the thing that they should shoulder, and you should not evade it. If you always try to escape or cast off all of this, then your repressive emotions will come out, and you will always be entangled by them. However, if you can properly comprehend and accept all of this, and view it as a necessary part of your life and existence, then these issues should not be a reason for you to develop negative emotions(The Word, Vol. 6. On the Pursuit of the Truth I. How to Pursue the Truth (5)). After reading God’s words, I knew that being someone who can take things on and being a responsible person was not a simple, easy matter; if I always wanted to evade these kinds of circumstances, then I would continue to be bound by this repressive emotion. The leader was supervising the work so that I could do my duty well. Since I had corrupt dispositions and was often perfunctory in my duty, only with the leader’s supervision did I not dare to go on living by these dispositions and doing whatever I pleased. It would help me perform my duty well. I thought I couldn’t keep living in my repressive emotions like I did before; I had to straighten out my attitude and face the leader’s supervision correctly. Once I was thinking like this, my state gradually began to turn itself around. After this, I performed the various tasks normally, doing my best to contribute whatever I could think of or do. When I couldn’t accomplish something, I would promptly write to the leader seeking a path to resolution. Now, although there are still a lot of difficulties and stress in my work, I no longer feel repressed and in pain; on the contrary, my sense of responsibility has grown. It was the guidance of God’s words that made me break free from repression and shoulder my responsibilities like an adult. Thank God!

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