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Me, Myself, and Faith

Updated: Mar 25


Everyone is on a road of difficulties and trials. We face these trials every day. Sometimes we work hard to resolve them. On the other hand, sometimes people will be afraid of the problems that come their way. We sometimes will try to escape it, but it will be there festering in our lives and in our minds. Until one day we decide to act; the time we decide to mend the problem is the day we can change and rid the problem from our lives for good. It is in the process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom. Indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. When we desire to encourage the growth of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage the human capacity to solve problems.  


Me and faith have been enemies most of my life. We've reconciled! However, we tend to go up and down like a seesaw. It is nowhere near where I’d like our relationship to be. We are slightly in a better place now, and one of my goals is to continue working on it. My God it took a while to get there. Prayer and therapy have truly taken me a long way. Most of my life my faith has been faulty. Once I got to my 30s, something shifted. I don't think it had anything to do with the actual age of 30. I just think that the year I turned 30, I just so happened to look at things differently. God had me go through somethings that taught me some lessons. Some lessons I ignored, and some slapped me dead in my face. Faith I always thought was an enemy. Faith was something that for years I was afraid of and confused about. For as long as I can remember my grandma always beat me up over my head about faith. Most times I wished she’d leave me alone but eventually what she would say to me sunk in and I got it......emphasis on eventually.  


For me it was hard to have faith because as a child I felt as if things I love, I’d always lose. Things happened to me that I didn't understand. So, like most people I blamed God.  How can I have faith in someone who has allowed me to experience such pain, confusion, stress, heartache, loss, and ailments? It was just hard for me to grasp faith.  There would be moments when I had faith, but it was always shaky. Baby I could have faith and feel like it was as strong as Hercules. Let something happen and my faith just flows away in the wind like freshly permed hair on a windy day in Chicago.   


Almost 40 years on this earth, I repeatedly screwed up and God still blessed me. I had a period where I took my eyes off him. He kept me. I got angry and he covered me. I stopped going to church. I wasn't consistent with my bible reading nor tithe paying. Yet, he still showed me favor.  I sinned too many times and sometimes on purpose. Sometimes it was in desperation. God still called me. Times where it was felt that I was near death; times where I considered and attempted suicide, God's mercy still said no. Something happened as I looked back over my life. I should've been dead, in jail, or with a STD. Once again, mercy said no to all three.  


I've been blessed and elevated. Opportunities fell into place. I realized there's an unconditional love that had been shown upon me. I wish I had improved my faith years ago. Especially in my early 20s.  I learned from every mistake. Every test made me wiser and smarter. I wish it was easier. I wish God had tested me in easier ways.  I may not agree with most of what God has done or allowed, but I understand. To whom much is given, much is required. Things must happen to test me in certain areas. Things must happen to me to ensure that I’m prepared for all the blessings that God has and will be bestowing upon me.   


Faith is a day-by-day journey for me. It's not at all easy, but it is easier. I recognize certain things that must be in place internally, so that when things happen, I can adequately adapt. Many things I've learned as I look back over my life. One of the main things I've learned is that God never neglects the faithful. As I've continued to be faithful, as I've continued to use each day to be a better me, as I've continued to use each day to get closer to God....no matter, God has allowed me to land on my feet. Heck in some situations he's allowed me to turn out better than I was before the situation occurred.   


Turning intellectual faith into our personal possession is always a fight, not just sometimes. God brings us into circumstances to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make the object of our faith very real to us. Until we know Jesus, God is merely a concept, and we can’t have faith in Him. Faith always works in a personal way because the purpose of God is to see that perfect faith is made real in His children. Oswald Chambers once said: “Common sense and faith are as different from each other as natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. Nothing that Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, but is revelation sense, and is complete...whereas common sense falls short. Yet, faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life.”  


The term "faith" has numerous connotations and is used in different ways, often depending on context. James W. Fowler (1940-2015) proposes a series of stages of faith-development (or spiritual development) across the human lifespan. His stages relate closely to the work of Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg regarding aspects of psychological development in children and adults. Fowler defines faith as an activity of trusting, committing, and relating to the world based on a set of assumptions of how one is related to others and the world. Fowler’s Stages of Faith are:  


  1. Intuitive-Projective: a stage of confusion and of high impressionability through stories and rituals. (Pre-school period)  

  1. Mythic-Literal: a stage where provided information is accepted in order to conform to social norms. (School-going period)  

  1. Synthetic-Conventional: In this stage the faith acquired is concreted in the belief system with the forgoing of personification and replacement with authority in individuals or groups that represent one's beliefs. (early-late adolescence)  

  1. Individuative-Reflective: In this stage, the individual critically analyzes adopted and accepted faith with existing systems of faith. Disillusion or strengthening of faith happens in this stage. Based on needs, experiences, and paradoxes. (Early adulthood)  

  1. Conjunctive faith: In this stage people realize the limits of logic and facing the paradoxes or transcendence of life, accept the "mystery of life" and often return to the sacred stories and symbols of the pre-acquired or re-adopted faith system. This stage is called negotiated settling in life. (Mid-life)  

  1. Universalizing faith: This is the "enlightenment" stage where the individual comes out of all the existing systems of faith and lives life with universal principles of compassion and love and in service to others for upliftment, without worries and doubt. (Middle - late adulthood (45-65 yrs and plus)  

 

Regardless of which approach to faith a Christian take, all agree that the Christian faith is aligned with the ideals and the example of the life of Jesus. The Christian sees the mystery of God and his grace. They seek to know and become obedient to God. To a Christian, faith is not static but causes one to learn more of God and to grow. Christian faith has its origin in God. Faith is not only fideism or simple obedience to a set of rules or statements. Before Christians have faith, they must understand in whom and in what they have faith. Without understanding there cannot be true faith. That understanding is built on the foundation of the community of believers, the scriptures and traditions, and on the personal experiences of the believer. British Christian apologist John Lennox argues that "faith conceived as belief that lacks warrant, is very different from faith conceived as belief that has warrant". He states that "the use of the adjective 'blind' to describe 'faith' indicates that faith is not necessarily, always, or indeed normally - blind". "The validity, or warrant, of faith or belief depends on the strength of the evidence on which the belief is based."  


Faith is the only power that inspires a human being in despair. But if a person loses faith during the period of struggle, he gives up hope for any success and succumbs to the unfavorable situations. So, an individual without faith is as good as a dead person. His life is just like a deflated balloon. So, we can truly conclude that faith is the foundation stone of any project that is undertaken with a will to complete. It is that driving force which enlightens the candle of hope by giving strength to fight against all odds. A person having faith may face failures in his or her life, but he does not lose his heart in despair.  


A person can set a goal for himself, only if he has faith that ultimately, he will achieve the goal. Faith forms the foundation of every new achievement, every invention, every discovery, and every new victory. There is a co-relation between faith and achievement. Faith is not about belief. Faith in fact has very little to do with what beliefs you hold, other than that it allows you to hold them. Faith is a sacred, deep, and emotionally involved kind of trust. Faith is the kind of trust that you enter with your whole being. Faith is the kind of trust that, when it has been broken, it hurts deep inside. Faith is the kind of trust that finds a way to trust again despite the hurt.  

 

“Faith consists of believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.” 

 

~Voltaire 

 

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” ~Gail Devers



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