A couple of years ago I started praying for a family member who lost both of his parents at the age of young age of 18. He had one sibling and no relationship with him. They couldn’t find a way to get along and conversations about it didn’t go anywhere. So I started praying that they would reconcile and discover that close sibling relationship. Others were praying too. We had BIG faith they would find each other again.
In the last couple of years, my faith journey has been living in the fast lane. This is especially significant after my husband left his bank job and took over managing Bridging Hope Counseling. This was a huge leap of faith for our family and honestly, it was pretty scary. It was a lot of change for me and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I relied on my faith. But I had a lot of questions. How do I actually have big faith? Is the faith I have enough? I don’t want to just go through the motions, I want to be led by my faith in everything I do. I don’t want to just help people here and there, I want to be a world changer. I wanted to feel something different. What are people doing who truly have big faith and are changing the world? What I discovered was more beautiful, more powerful and simpler than I ever imagined. And we ALL have access to this incredible power.
The definition of faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. It is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Martin Luther King, Jr. defines faith as taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. What does this mean in practical language and how do we apply this in our lives?
Identify what you want to have faith for.
First, you need to identify what you want to have faith for. Maybe it’s your children, or your work, your mental health, extended family, your health, or something else. Let’s use the example of anxiety. Faith doesn’t see anxiety, it sees hope. The opposite of anxiety is peace so we will hope for peace. When you put your faith in overcoming anxiety you are putting your faith in peace. Let’s go back to the definition: complete trust in something. We have complete trust in peace. Here is where I might get some push back and you might want to argue with me – Well, I don’t have peace! How can I have trust in peace when I don’t have it?! I’m so stressed and I can’t take this anymore! Don’t tell me to have complete trust in peace! Anxiety is all around me. Sound familiar? Someone might try to help you and you get upset because they aren’t seeing what you are truly going through, they don’t get it, they’re floating in “la-la land” so you write them off. You write off faith. Not anymore.
Recognize you have the power.
Second, you have to recognize that you have the POWER to have faith. There is no outside force or person controlling you. Only you. I say this because many of us go through life believing that we don’t have much choice about our lives and what we are doing. We just go through the motions and things just happen. Your job is stressful, your kid’s behaviors are increased, you are not getting along with your partner, etc. – you believe this is all happening TO you. It’s not true. Give this up and start living with the truth that you have the power to have faith in something or someone.
Start talking about and thinking about what you want to have faith for.
Let’s continue with our example of anxiety. Stop talking and thinking about anxiety. Start talking about and thinking about peace. The majority of people talk about their problems. We don’t even realize we do this. At first, this is extremely difficult. For some, it can feel like nails across the chalkboard. You might even feel your body fighting it. It also feels pretty awkward. Start by saying “I am at peace. I am a peaceful person. I will be peaceful all day. I will be peaceful all week.” In your mind, think about peace and things that give you peace. Some will imagine sitting on a dock by a lake, on the beach in a chair, or on top of a beautiful mountain. Notice what it feels like in your body when you are in this peaceful place. What does it feel like in your body to be in peace? Just sit and notice it – stay in this for at least a few minutes.
Understand there is no timeline.
We give up very quickly and easily. We want quick fixes and fast answers. We get impatient when our food doesn’t come fast enough at a restaurant, or we don’t get a good parking spot. You may “try” to have faith and after a week give up because you don’t “see” enough peace. There are things I pray for and see results right away, some that take weeks and some that haven’t happened yet and I am still praying for and have faith for it to still happen.
Cheer for any little improvement.
We struggle to notice any improvement or change when there is a lot of improvement in front of us. When you notice even a little small change, start cheering. Practice gratitude and say thank you. What happens when you do this is the thing you had faith for grows. It grows! Are you connecting back to how much power we have yet? You can bring your faith to grow!
See yourself in a bowling lane with the bumpers in.
What I have found is that most of the world doesn’t operate this way. Most people in the world operate around their problems – “my friend is struggling, my mom is sick, I have a cold, I am so tired, my boss is so crabby”, etc. So if you share your faith with someone you might get a laugh or a sly comment. Guess what these comments can do? Decrease our faith! Watch out for these comments, or people you know will not support you in your faith. Surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you and cheer you on.
Some of you may read this and think, that’s it? Yes. That is it. It’s simple. It’s not a huge secret. You have to contend for what you have faith for and not give up. Don’t put fuel into what you don’t want. Put fuel into what you want. This is harder than it seems when you are in the midst of a difficulty. I know it’s possible because I’ve seen it happen. Remember my family member who wasn’t connected with his sibling? A year ago they started talking again. They now see each other at events and regularly text. Something happened from prayers. Simple faith. “Faith allows things to happen. It is the power that comes from a fearless heart. And when a fearless heart believes, miracles happen.” It just takes one person. Just one. How about you?
“Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death”