Sometimes life isn’t always easy. Sometimes we are not as strong as we would like people to think we are. So I am here to share my own recent battles and inner struggles to hopefully help someone who may be feeling the same way.
Lately I have been feeling pretty faithless. For some reason I have had little hope and trust in God’s plan for me. How is it that I can seem to have trust in God regarding other people and their lives, but when it comes to my own life, I have a hard time thinking that there is a plan for me?
I know that I need to have faith that God knows what is best for me. I know I need to have faith that His timing is perfect.
I’ve realized that I have been thinking about faith incorrectly. I’ve fallen into the trap of believing what I feel might be myths or fallacies regarding faith. During this recent battle in my life, I have come to realize the following thoughts on faith.
Faith is a Verb
I’ve always felt that faith is like this: I choose to have faith and then that’s it! I now have faith for the rest of my life. Wrong. While I do believe faith is a choice, I don’t think that’s all. There’s more to it. Faith requires action. It requires effort. But the thing is, it doesn’t require just one or even a set of actions. The whole point of faith is it is continual. It is consistent actions that we make throughout our entire life. I think faith is more like a snowball. The more momentum it gets, the bigger it gets.
Faith is a Process
What makes me get down on myself sometimes is the fact that I will do the things that I know will help increase my faith and it will give me the power and strength that I’m looking for but then life will seep back in. And I will start to falter again. I start to lose my faith. So then I feel I’m back where I started and I become discouraged.
But of course I do. That’s the point. No, I don’t mean the point is for us to become discouraged. But I’ve been thinking about faith all wrong. Faith isn’t a one-time thing. Faith is an everyday thing. Just as with walking. We learn to walk and then we do it for the rest of our lives. Sometimes we fall, but we get back up again and start walking. I could go outside and slip and fall on the ice (I live in Rexburg) and decide I’m done. This walking thing isn’t for me anymore. I just keep failing at walking so I might as well give it up and stop trying. I can’t seem to go through life without falling down at some point so I’m just not going to walk anymore.
That would be silly, right? Unless I fell hard enough to not be able to get up (which I completely understand is possible along with a lot of other situations, but let’s just keep this simple to go with this analogy), then I would get up and keep walking because I realize that walking gets me from point A to point B and I need it in my life.
This is like faith. We need it in our lives. We have to keep having faith by choosing Christ and following in His way. Will we fall? Of course! No one is perfect. We will become discouraged. We will think maybe it’s not worth it. We may even think it’s too late.
But it’s not. It never is. God wants us to be improving. Faith is a process; a choice that we don’t make just once, but countless times every day.
As I said earlier, I have personally been lacking faith in the fact that God has a plan for me. So I tried to make scripture study a higher priority in my life. After doing that, I felt some needed strength and power. Then life would happen and I would get discouraged again. So what did I do next? I continued making scriptures a priority in my life. That boost is enough to get me through until my next fall and then I just rinse and repeat.
We Are a Lot More Faithful Than We Give Ourselves Credit For
Sometimes I don’t feel very faithful (hence this post), so I become discouraged because I think I’m failing. I don’t have faith in ‘this aspect of my life’ so I must be a failure.
But you know what? I’m still attending church. I’m still saying my prayers. That right there shows that I have some bit of faith. No, maybe it’s not the tree I’m looking for, but it’s at least a seed. The very act of choosing to do something that would help increase our faith shows that we have some faith. And if we don’t even feel like we are doing anything that counts as faith then simply having the desire to have faith is enough to get us moving.
Faith Doesn’t Mean Bliss
Another fallacy about faith that I’ve had is the fact that I have to be incredibly happy while having faith. If I am sad then I must be lacking faith.
I’m not so sure that’s the case. Feelings are real. We are meant to have feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that we are meant to have joy, but if we never felt sadness then would we really know what happiness is? Sometimes we have to embrace that we may be sad. Sometimes we have to embrace and accept that our hearts are going to be broken for a while. Can we have faith while feeling heart broken? I think so. Having faith doesn’t mean that suddenly everything is rainbows and butterflies. Having faith helps ease the pain we may be feeling. It gives us hope. Anyone who has ever felt hope knows how powerful it can be.
It comes full circle to our Savior. Having faith in our Savior helps ease those burdens. Because He knows EXACTLY how we feel. He knows exactly how to comfort us. He already has suffered for this pain we might be feeling. No, our circumstances might not change, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t feel our burdens being lifted and feel a hope that one day things can be okay.
This may sound strange, but I’m eventually grateful for the times that I lack faith. Because it really makes me become real with my Heavenly Father. My prayers become more sincere, my scripture study more intense, and my heart really humbled. I realize I can’t do this without Him. I realize that I am human and I am fallible. I realize that only through Him can I find true joy.
Right now I’m choosing to have faith that God has a plan for me. From studying my scriptures, praying, attending the temple, and trying to serve Him, it helps give me that power and faith that I need. But you know what? I may wake up tomorrow and fall again. I may go back to lacking faith again. So then what will I do?
I will pray. I will read my scriptures. I will serve Him.
I will try again.
Because that’s all He asks. That we keep trying.