What does faith look like in my life right now?
I've had these thoughts swirling in my head and today I was able to form a picture. Kind of. I'm a pretty literal person. I like instructions. Instructions with pictures. I like knowing exactly how something is supposed to look. I have a hard time with abstract things like "faith, hope, love". Those things are abstract to me.
First, I looked up the word faith. Dictionary.com defines faith as confidence or trust in another person or thing, belief that is not based on proof, and belief in God or in the teaching of religion. Then I sat down and just started putting some things down in my journal in an attempt to make faith slightly more concrete.
Here's what I came up with:
(disclaimer: these things apply to my life at this moment. This isn't my suggestion to anyone else on how to have faith)
1. Decide what you believe about God.
In any given day I have a lot of feelings about God. Infact, it would probably make your head spin. I'm an emotional person. I don't deny it. I came to that realization along time ago and decide that I need to embrace it (biblically). So, part of me having faith is deciding that I'm going to make the choice to believe God and what he says and not just leave my judgement up to my emotions. How do I do this? By taking God at his word.
Isaiah 40:8 tells us...
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
I could sit here and list out bible verse after bible verse about God's promises. I don't have time and you don't want to read all that right now. The fact is, God promised it and I have to decide I'm going to take him at his word and believe it regardless of how I'm feeling.
2. Being Honest with God.
Remember how I said I was emotional? Well, I'm pretty sure I spent the years between age 12-23 being reigned by my emotions and that led to DRAMA. Part of it was spiritual immaturity and seeking attention from others that I could only receive from God, but the reality is every day seemed like the end of my life. (Funny, looking back on it, I would trade my problems today for anything I experienced during those years.) Anyways, during the end part of those years I was meeting regularly with one of my Pastor's wives. God bless her, she endured my endless chatter about all that emotional drama and then gave me the best piece of advice I'd ever gotten. Be honest with God. It's not like he doesn't know you're feeling that way, but he wants to hear it from you. Look at David in the Psalms- that's basically what the Psalms are. David is being totally honest with God. It makes me sad when I see Christians who give God this half effort unemotional recited prayers to God. You know how you feel and so does God, so talk about it with him!
3. Just Keep Swimming!
I realized yesterday that the situation that Aaron and I are going through right now has been paralyzing to me. Satan has been using fear of the unknown, feelings of inadequcy, and my desire for control against me and literally my home life has come undone. Which only furthers the stress. I get up in the morning and all it's all I can think about. I've been dwelling on it. My dished haven't been getting done, my laundry is piling up, and the beds haven't been made. It has consumed me. I realized yesterday that chosing to have faith means that when I believe God and I am honest with him about how I feel, I have to keep going. I can't just stop moving forward. Ok, so I don't know exactly where we're moving forward to (or even if we're moving forward for that matter) but allowing myself to be consumed by my circumstances is allowing Satan to defeat me. James 1:12 says...
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Just keep going! Just keep swimming! And one of the things I've learned over the last year is that this doesn't mean that now that I've made these things a little more concrete in my life that my struggle is over. HA! I wish. As I've just shared, Satan knows exactly where my weak spots are and he's persistent. I've learned that whenever I start feeling those feelings of fear and uncertainty, I just have to go through my steps again. An honestly, right now, it's 11 am and I've probably gone through them about 10 times already this morning. And ya know what, I think that's ok.