"If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." - Matthew 17:20
Hi everyone! It's been awhile since my last blog post *shamefully covers face*. I've gotten extremely comfortable in my post-grad school life, but also, I just haven't been feeling the creative spark or motivation. I've been writing this post for at least a month, with various titles and concepts, all just dependent on how I was feeling. Sometimes super high on life, other times emotional, because that does happen.
I landed on "Faith and Feelings" over the past few days because I believe that is the root of this particular experience.
It's so easy to throw the word "faith" around, especially as someone who identifies as a Christian. There's a part of me that is a little embarrassed to say that I struggle with having faith. It just often seems so easy for other people and it's something that, in my mind, should be easier, right? I have it, in certain aspects of my life, but it wains in other aspects. It all depends, again, on how I'm feeling.
That brings me to the second part of the title. Feelings. Oh boy, do I have tons of them. Many positive, some naturally, negative or doubting, some irrational, some a false story in my head, and other times, the truth chanted over and over and over like a mantra.
Does this happen to you? Why do we do this? I have no certain answer, but this "if this feeling, then that faith" relationship happens enough times in strange cycles in my life that I feel like I need to earnestly address it.
**Disclaimer**: I want to just let you know now, if you want to stop reading, I have no idea what the solution is. I'll tell you what I'm doing to better tackle my irrational desire for known outcomes, how I'm addressing my circumstantial faith, and why actively working on this is so important for me and my overall quality of life. If you have any tips or a method that has worked for you, please let me know! Comment below or send me a personal message.
I jokingly told some friends at dinner the other night that a lot of my problem is that "I'm really existential." Both hearing it out loud and typing it is actually hilarious to me. I can admit that I sound slightly self-indulged and perhaps disingenuously depth-seeking. That isn't my intention, but in some ways I guess it's the truth. I'm not okay with just the surface level. If you want to talk about the weather, I am NOT your girl. Who are you? What makes you tick? How are you coping in this journey called life? Those topics, for me, are more par for the course. Needless to say, I talk and think about a lot of silly stuff. I can laugh for hours at Instagram memes (by myself 😂), but I think a balance of the two keeps my engine running. I don't just believe what is told to me, I want to know for myself.
Even in 2017 politics, what shocks me the most, is that people, on both sides of the aisle, can just believe what their neighbor, the news, or even worse, some weird shared article on Facebook says. There is NOTHING more terrible and delusional to me than people who don't seek the truth, minus people who aren't kind. If there is a combination of those two things, I'm done. 💀
I need the truth. I scavenge for it. The issue is that my truth-seeking, if not properly managed, can be detrimental to my mental and emotional well-being. I'm starting to see that circumstances sometimes just are. People do things just because they want to. There is often no rhyme, and even more often, no reason. Sometimes, there is no truth to know. That doesn't mean that there's a lie, but better put, sometimes the truthful motivation behind another person's actions or why a circumstance occurred as it did really just doesn't matter and is so simply irrelevant to your life.
If you're like me, that's hard to read. It was hard to write. I'm writing it because I know it's true and I'm writing it because there's a tiny part of me that wants to know "everything" or at least the "why" of everything that impacts me, especially if it feels negative. I'm trying to convince myself. Maybe you are too. It's a good start I think, even if it doesn't feel true. "Fake it 'til you make it", they say.
That brings me to the importance of this combination of faith and feelings. Here's my approach:
1. Dealing with Circumstantial Faith
This is me. Maybe it's you, maybe it's not. Like I said, I know quite a few people who float effortlessly in faith. It's their nature and their default. Maybe I'm too pragmatic, but this is at times a struggle. I'm combatting this with affirmations, prayer, wisdom from friends and family, journaling, and faking it, if I'm being real with you. The Bible says that you need faith the size of a mustard seed and I'm starting to totally get why. If you're not familiar, that's super tiny, about 1-2 millimeters.
The bottom line is that if your faith, like mine, in whatever the circumstance can be shaken you need to remind yourself of what is true. This doesn't mean reminding yourself about the truth of what someone else thinks, or the odds of success, or whatever external circumstance. This is YOUR truth and this is what matters. That mustard seed is your belief in the very best outcome for your life, for any circumstance. Our lives are not meant to be doomed in any way shape or form. That doesn't mean life isn't hard, but it does mean that the very best, whatever that is for you, is meant to be, should you allow it and believe in it. I don't always believe it, but I've found that if I impress positive thoughts, the outcome is always positive in respect to my life.
*Note*: I say, "in respect to my life," because shitty things will happen. Nonetheless, it is well. I promise.
2. Why is this all so important?
The truth is that our thoughts become our reality. They really do. I know some of you are thinking "Yes, absolutely!" and some of you are thinking "Hmm...", and maybe some of you believe this but don't always live like you do. I'm often a mix of all three of those camps, but we have to pick a side. Faith, in my own words, is a trust in life's unfolding to be absolutely right for you. Trust me, I've kicked and screamed in some chapters of this book of life, I've held on tight to things I didn't need to, but I'm seeing, as I get older, that everything is happening as it should, even when it sucks, even when it's "not fair". It is. There are lessons and new perspectives to be gained, and I really think that the more willing you are to accept them the smoother and more pleasant the journey.
I don't mean to tell you to accept defeat, but loss is a very natural part of life (as is joy). What shouldn't be natural is letting loss or fear become who we are. Trust me, this happens more quickly than we think. It has happened to me. Believing for the best, no matter how eventual that feels, will set your mind, heart, and spirit free.
In 2017 terms, I think the more free we are, the more we go with the flow of the river we're riding, the better our energy. Like attracts like. If you are worried, pessimistic, or filled with anxiety you will attract that. It may not be obvious at first, in fact it can be super subtle, but chaos, good or bad, has a level of magnetism that can shape your being and the world around you.
Faith and feelings are inevitable. Your faith should not be tied to your feelings. Feelings are fleeting, but how you feel about yourself (most importantly), others, and the world around you, will indefinitely shape your life, for better or worse, until you take a stance.
New Yorker | Lover | Believer