Faith. A couple of years ago I had a client come to me asking about faith. She was a new client. She found me because she didn’t believe in God and had no spiritual leanings. This client, who I will call Jackie, wanted me to give her spirituality or help her find it somehow. That is a big ask.
She had a partner who was thinking of leaving their relationship. Jackie was distraught. She loved her partner very much and was willing to do anything to help her situation. Jackie confided that one of the reasons for her partner’s dissatisfaction was my client’s lack of faith or spirituality.
I led her through a discussion of faith. “What do you believe in?” and “Why do you believe in it?” Jackie didn’t have any answers to this inquiry and in fact, became annoyed with this process. Jackie left at the end of our session and let me know she felt I had failed at my duty to her.
In today’s world, we, as a society, are struggling with our Spirit and our faith. For many, the dogma of religion doesn’t offer any answers to the real questions we have about our experience of being human in the 21st century. Especially when that dogma is only practiced or appreciated under certain conditions–at church or when applied to only those people who are deemed worthy by the dogma. Religion is failing in its integrity and many have abandoned it completely for a rational view of the world.
Since it is often the case, that those who have abandoned religion were indeed rejected by it for their beliefs or their very being. These souls are wounded, rejected or abandoned by their religion (and for some their family) and faith feels unsafe, spirituality feels dangerous.
The dictionary describes faith as complete trust in someone or something and spirituality as the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul and not that of material things. A quest or inquiry for meaning.
When we are wounded by our religion or faith for being who we are, it is difficult to want to explore our human spirit. We can hold onto the idea that we are inherently broken or unworthy. Outwardly rejecting the structure that rejected us, but inwardly still believing on some unconscious level that we aren’t worthy of the God of our old religion.
So we shut faith down. We focus instead on science or law and cling to a rational explanation of how the world works. A set of fixed beliefs. Drifting away from our human spirit that needs meaning and magic and love.
The concept of faith is confusing. We may have faith in science or the sun coming up every day but certainly not in something or some deity we can’t see or touch.
In her book, Untamed, Glennon Doyle define faith this way.
The challenge faith presents for all of us is where to focus our faith. In Glennon’s definition, our faith is focused inward. It is self-love. It is trust in ourselves. That we know what is best for us.
There is a place within us that we can tune into to Know. What. To. Do. Always. And in All Ways.
Hearing that voice, the voice of our intuition, requires that we get quiet and go deep. We have to let go of our tight hold on our beliefs, rules, rationality, or tradition and listen for our own truth. We know what we need/want/should do.
Faith is an ocean that we are floating in. When we stop the struggle, we float. Faith holds us and we can relax and listen. And as we are floating our truth can come up to the surface of our conscious mind. The answer to our dilemma. The directions to take on our path forward.
Faith is in the Action
The next part might actually be the harder part. When we get the intuition, we have to act on it. Even, or especially, when it feels scary. It feels scary because it isn’t something you feel will be accepted by your friends, colleagues, or family. This is our true test of faith. The act of becoming our true self.
Jackie was betrayed long ago by people and religion. She spent years covering the pain and playing roles that were deemed acceptable by her peers and family. Her choices were made for a variety of reason but among them would be rebellion, anger, hurt, and fear. Without fully processing or healing those emotions, what we are left with is actually costumes and masks that hide our true self deep inside. We don’t know who we are so we don’t trust ourselves.
Finding faith means we have to find ourselves. We have to explore our inner depth. Expose ourselves to our hurts so they can be mended. And once we are found, we have to be brave enough to choose to live our truth out loud. The longer we hide, the harder it will be to unmask ourselves.
Take the leap into the ocean. Faith is attainable and you can feel confident that you are making sound choices for yourself even if you don’t know what the outcome will be. You can have faith that when you act on your inner truth, you will find your way to freedom. Now that is faith.
Continuing exploring faith and spirituality with these blogs, Walking a Spiritual Path and Anatomy of a Spiritual Awakening.