I feed myself to live. I exercise to grow my muscle and become healthier. I rest so I don’t go crazy. I meet with likeminded people for encouragement and to share.
Faith is similar. Faith isn’t a feeling. If I went by my feelings, I would have killed myself along time ago. Dramatic? So are my feelings. I don’t feel God most of the time. Mother Teresa didn’t either, or many other saints, Jeremiah, and Henri Nouwen. And most of all Bec. I often do not feel God, but I trust God is working.
Faith is… Embracing mystery. Faith isn’t a feeling. It’s not blind acceptance. It’s not absolute certainty. That’s the opposite of faith.
And Faith doesn’t really work when I neglect to feed myself, exercise it, rest and meet regularly with others.
I have no beef with being an atheist, or having absolute certainty in everything (and some of my new atheist friends are fundamentalists in their own way) but FAITH means leaning into the mystery, actively and intentionally holding on, and doing what we can to be.
This post isn’t to shane us in doing more-
If anything it’s to welcome you into being more.
Be more connected.
Be more intentional.
Be more hopeful.
Be more you.
And I need to be more me. Yes, I know what it’s like to be like “fuck all this shit.” I also know what it’s like to not be happy. But our feelings don’t define our faith. I have to exercise my thoughts- change them- metanoia- turn around my thoughts. I am super self critical. I tare down myself more than my worse critics. I often “disasterbate” and over analyze every mis-step I make. Sometimes I work my self up into a tizzy and get very depressed. Scripture says as Christ followers we should challenge any thought or cast down Vain imagination. This is basic cognitive behavioral therapy. Changing our thoughts. When David (or the writers) feels like shit and doubts it all – in Psalm 42, or Psalm 22, he lists his very real feelings of doubt, hurt, and anger. Yet he refocuses himself- remembers the past and even praises God. What could we do to exercise our own faith?
Remember the past. When did God or Love or things work out in the past?
Give Praise and Give thanks. What are you thankful for?
Rest- did you sleep? Have you slept? Have you curled up in your pajamas and relaxed? Sabbath is important- for US to rest.
I know, many of you don’t like the bible. But try it. See if you can discipline yourself for seven days to read only the gospels.
Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So hear it. Read it. Marinate in it.
Try it. It does help me.
And hold on. Remember Faith isn’t blind assurance or absolute certainty.
Find a community. Don’t let the bitterness of past church hurt keep you from joining others. If Sunday worship isn’t your thing, find a group who meets at a different time.
The body of Christ is diverse, and made of many body parts. So yes, you will run into assholes. But maybe you are the middle finger, and I am the armpit of the body of Christ. Try doing church again. And keep trying. It’s easy to get fatalistic and dramatic and to say “I’m done with the church.” But let me remind you- if you follow Jesus, you may just be the church. Forgive the church.
Faith- embrace the mystery. Refocus your thoughts, give thanks, rest, read and maybe even give some love to the church folk.
Well, what do you think?