Faith

I heard someone say once “a man can never be more than what he knows”.  I had always assumed I understood what it meant, but it hadn’t dawned on me until recently that I had no clue what it meant for me. Lately, every passing day has brought forth a new level of deeper introspection into who I am. Two years ago what I “knew” was that people will always hurt you. I knew that I was a bad man. I knew that no matter where I went, and what I did I would always find a way to screw something up. That no matter how much I hoped and prayed nothing would ever work out. These things to me were fact. Fast forward to now. I now know that not everyone will hurt you. I know that I am most definitely not a bad man. I know that no matter where I go, and what I do I will succeed. I know that things will work out. I recently had a conversation with a friend about speaking life into situations, and like any real friend she told me how much I sucked at it. We talked about my lack of faith as I complained about how I felt that a situation in my life was hopeless. In the midst of our conversation I realized how right she was. I had no faith, and an extreme phobia of speaking life into situations. I had gotten being realistic mixed up with being pessimistic. My life has always been easier lived realistically because the only thing hope was good for was disappointment. The reality of my life was that things were just bad, and they were not going to change. But, through these refining past two months, a lot of conversations about faith, hundreds of late night wrestling matches with God, and more humility than any human soul can stand I have come to realize one thing. Faith will define every intricate detail of our human lives. Faith is what separates success from failure. It separates winning from losing. It separates believing for more from settling. It separates the impossible from the possible. If I look back and pay close enough attention, most of everything that has failed in my life has failed because I didn’t believe in it enough. Relationships, jobs, families, finances, and basically anything that is important to you will always depend on how much you believe things can work.  I have come to open my eyes to the blatant fact that I have fought to make faith fit into my life, when it is the opposite that needs to happen. So many times I can force myself to believe in something for just long enough as I consider necessary or worth the energy. The problem here is I am trying to fit an ocean in a water bottle. Faith is too big to only apply into small areas of your life. Like having faith in finances but not having faith in the scary things like love. Faith is not an ointment you can apply generously, rather it is a swimming pool you must dive into headfirst. There is no subtly to it. It definitely has no gray areas. You either have it or you don’t. No book, teaching, sermon, speech, article, movie or text message will ever do more for you than simply making the decision to believe that no matter what things are going to be okay. Our natural inclination is to protect ourselves from everything. For those of us who claim to have God in our lives, are we not already protected? Hasn’t God already brought you through so much? Simply put, faith is believing even when everything around tells you that it cannot work.  Believing even when you are the only one. Looking something impossible in the eye and from the bottom of your heart knowing it can be done.

 

When your father left, did the skies turn black and asteroids crush your house? When your mom and dad got divorced, did the monsters under your bed run rampant in your room and cut holes in your socks? When you got in that car crash, did you drop your iPhone (gasp) and crack the screen?  When your uncle touched you in an inappropriate way, did tornadoes come and destroy your city?  Or when you found out you were cheated on, did the ground open up and swallow you hole, killing your cat and two dogs? No. None of these things happened, although they may have felt that way. The point to all this is that I get it. I get how hard it is to believe that things can work out in a world that makes it a mission to prove they can’t. Trying to believe in people that have let you down over and over. Believe me, I understand how hard it is to keep your eyes on the horizon while the ground beneath you is shaking. But, here is the part I need you to grasp and hold on to. In the midst of everything that has happened to you, you are still here. You are here because you did not give up when all those bad things happened. Whether fully conscious or not, something in you decided to wake up the next day. Something in you knew that it wasn’t the end, even when it felt like it. That my friends, is the faith that already exists inside of you. That is the fighting chance you have in this world. Things are only as impossible as you allow them to be.

 

The word we all have come to fear, which is actually just another name for faith, is trust. Some of you just quivered reading that word. For me, that word seems to popping up a lot lately both directly and indirectly. It seems like every conversation I have had lately has to do with trust. There has been a lot of hurt people hurting people, inadvertently adding to preexisting issues with trust. One annoyance that I seem to be hearing is the time limit in which people are putting their healing from their trust issues. If I hear one more girl say, “I just need a year, then I can think about it” I am going to start kicking ovaries. I am all for healing and space. I think in most cases it is healthy, but don’t fool yourself in thinking you have any clue on how long it’s going to take. We as humans need to rely on time because we are finite, while God works outside of time constraints. I found the reason we put these time limits into which we believe God will do something is to comfort ourselves. We give pain too much credit, and God not enough. We take solace in giving ourselves some time to put off the inevitable fact that at some point we have to let God deal with us, but it’s ok because we have a year. I don’t want to sound insensitive because I understand that people do the best with what they know. But, I think people should understand that the time it takes to heal isn’t measured in days, weeks, or years. It is measured in the time you spend intimately with God. Truthfully, you could spend years trying to heal from something, but if at no point in that amount of time do you have any real, vulnerable moments with God it is all just time wasted. My mantra for this year without a doubt is introspection. If you want healing you have to be willing to look into yourself and not get caught up in blaming the obvious. We often take the easy route and find the most recent pain to focus a life full of pain on. At an early age we learn to project all of our emotions on one single thing because it is easier to blame a single situation, than it is to sit down and rehash every other thing we have been hurt by.  You have to allow God to grab your pain by the root, and pull as hard as He can ridding you of both past and present hurts.  Most of all have faith that you can be healed, and trust that it can happen sooner than you expected.

 

We are all afraid of believing for the impossible, and most of us for good reason. Some of us have been hurt too many times to feel like we can afford to be hurt again. (Mmmm preach) Trust me, I get how that feels. It is so easy to close ourselves up like hermits, than to allow anything with the potential to hurt anywhere near us. To be transparent, it was just two days ago that I was ready to shut it all down and play it safe. But, because God refuses to let me take any more easy routes he decided to kick down my wall of bricks and asked me one simple thing, “How do you expect to see miracles with your eyes closed?” Talk about a slap to the face. It made me wonder how many times I missed something in my life because I didn’t trust enough that it could happen. Or how many problems I could have solved sooner had I just believed a little more. To be specific, the reason it took me so long to heal from my past was because I didn’t believe I could. It was just too big for me to be able to just drop, and people spoke into my life that I couldn’t get over it overnight, yet here I am. Other times we do have faith, but in the wrong things. Like when we believe that the person who has hurt us over and over will always hurt us. Or when we believe that we will never succeed in something we have never tried. The power of people’s words and the lies we hold on to are what will influence the strength of our faith (that’s another post for another time). I believed that I would never have a real relationship with my father. Now the words “I love you” are pouring from both of our mouths like overflowing fountains. Believing is more than just convincing yourself of something. It is an act that you must follow through with every single day.

 

I know that everything I’m saying is easier said than done. I definitely know how annoying it is to have people tell you that “you just have to believe” over and over. But, the truth is you really just do have to believe. I don’t think we have any other choice if we really want better for our lives. Right now I am believing for the impossible with two very important decisions in my life. They are crazy and they don’t make sense to anyone but me, and that is completely okay. Because I know that WHEN these things come to pass they will be the miracles that not only I have waited for but also for all those who believe with me. If you take nothing else from this, then hold on to these words. Nothing worth anything comes without risk. The things you want can be yours if you are willing to believe and have faith that they can. Impossible is not definite.

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