I don’t talk about my faith much because people have had opinions on my choice to live by faith. Some say it is a cop-out. Some say it is childish. Some say it is outdated. Some say it is relinquishing responsibility. And the hardest thing I have heard, is someone say “Well, if you live by faith, you don’t really need my advice then!” This was a shiatsu therapist!
By making a choice to live by faith, does it separate me from other people and the world? Or does it bring me closer?
This is a difficult question to answer. Right now, when so many people are living in fear, I feel like there is the potential of looking like the biggest fool on the planet if I say I live by faith. I mean, if you use those words in a small crisis, you may just about get away with it. But if you use them in a pandemic, I have a feeling my words will just bounce off the walls.
What do I mean when I say that I live by faith? Only that I talk to God every day about everything, trust God to have a plan and take care of me and mine. And mainly that I choose not to live in fear.
Living by faith is my choice and it will not change – crisis or no crisis. Is it time to talk about it more and risk looking silly? Maybe it is.
When I get past the feelings of the enormity of the crisis we all find ourselves in, I have some very charged feelings about a conflict between fear and faith, (both in myself and in the world). It seems difficult to find the line between them. Usually we know we are taking risk, like every time we get in our car. But now it has all gone very hazy. If I don’t wash my shopping, I live by faith. If I do, I live in fear. Then do I use soap? Do I leave it in the sun? See how fear breeds fear. (Incidentally I don’t wash my shopping.)
This is something I feel strongly about – fear breeding fear – and I see it as something that we are all going to find it very difficult move on from. I see faith as the antidote. I guess that is faith in God for me, but could be faith in goodness, faith in connection with others, faith in a higher source, faith in love, faith in the mystery. Whatever . . we’re going to need faith! This is all I know. Am I on my own here?
God isn’t really trending – at least I don’t think he is! I don’t know why though because it is the only thing that makes sense to me sometimes – the fact that we are in relationship with God.
I just can’t imagine not finding this truth for myself. My most treasured possession aged 4 was my picture service booklet I took to church. Yes – I was raised to go to church – but more importantly I had an idea that was was a very significant thing that I learn about God. It seemed so big and exciting from where I was standing with my family in our 3 bedroomed house. Yes, we went school and had Birthdays and Christmas and new shoes . . . but this was God – a whole different kettle of fish! I wanted to know who God was and what he might have to do with my life and me.
As I grew older I became more and more convinced that life wasn’t enough just as I saw it and felt it. There was clearly something very big missing. It sounds so cliche but there was a gaping big hole and I had no idea what was supposed to fill it – O Levels, A Levels, a degree, husband, children maybe? But I knew right then and there that those things would not fill it.
I liked the idea of God, the mystery, the journey, the expecting of the unexpected, the puzzling things out with someone so much bigger and wiser than me! I loved that idea and so I chose to pursue it down all the twisty turny roads that have bought me to this point. And I will pursue it for ever!
Let’s tell our children about God. Don’t sell them short and give them the idea that life is just about having things, knowing things, a career, partner, children and holidays. IT ISN’T.
I have a 12 year old who is scared of many things. He is scared of the electrical sockets in our house, the gas fire, the fact that he didn’t have chicken pox, a tiny speck of blood on his finger, an expression on someone’s face, the tone of someone’s voice . . . and the list goes on.
My son has light, colour, pattern and sound sensitivity. Life is naturally more scary to him than others. He is struggling to process all the colours, patterns and sounds in the world. And I totally understand his fear.
So . . . How Can I Help Him to be Less Fearful?
We have tried rationalising things, teaching him more about things like electricity and gas but it doesn’t seem to work. The only thing I can do for my son is to teach him about faith.
I find this pretty hard as my son has a very scientific mind and has learnt that he feels better when he is being very logical and systematic using the left side of his brain. And to live by faith we need to let go into the right side of our brain, where things aren’t rational and logical. They are more feeling based. This is where we make connections and see life as more of a whole, and start to wonder if there might be a bigger plan, and whether we might be part of it.
My son already lives by faith in a way. He often says that things don’t feel right, whether that is food, place, a person or an activity. And he is very strong on these things. However he is also open to change. He told me very strongly that he didn’t want to have anyone massage him the other day. Then when I walked out of a massage with a very nice lady in a very nice place, he said ‘Actually, I think I would like to have a massage!’
When I spoke to my son about faith this morning, I could see deep down that he found it comforting and he said “Well it was a bit of a coincidence that we found our white doves the way we did!” We had been to a pet shop and we spoke to the lady there of my son’s love of pigeons. We had decided to buy a smaller variety of doves called diamond doves, but when we next went to the pet-shop there were 3 beautiful white garden doves in one of the aviaries. They had lost their mother and the lady at the pet-shop had hand reared them. We all knew they were waiting for us!
Call it coincidence or call it synchronicity or go for all out comfort and call it God!
What’s it like
to dive in the deep? I don’t know as I’m not a confident swimmer and don’t like
being out of my depth! And yet every day
God asks me to go diving. I want to go through
some routine to assure my safety and put on my oxygen or at least my snorkel
but God tells me that ritual is not necessary and that if I simply trust, I
will keep breathing.
In my search for
an experience of God I used to sit and pray and meditate for hours. I was looking for some experience that took
me beyond the humdrum normality of my everyday life. I wanted to feel a sensation in my body –
heat, tingling, anything. I wanted to
feel an intense joy and to be able to think only pure thoughts. Sometimes I did feel some of these things and
then I’d want to meditate for longer and when I stopped meditating I would feel
a sense of disappointment, even fear at finding myself back ‘in the world’.
I decided that
something wasn’t right about this. I had been born into the world so why would
I have such an intense desire to escape from it? The truth was that I didn’t
feel part of the world – I had no sense of belonging. I realised that I needed to heal more than I
needed to meditate. Since that day I have
chosen not to partake in any ritual whereby I might try to escape from myself
and the world again!