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 Some say it is outdated.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?
The situation we find ourselves in with the Coronavirus is causing me a feeling of confusion more than anything else. My life feels in essence quite easy as we have lived quite an isolated existence since we discovered that me and my son have visual processing issues. We had just completed the neutralisation of all colours and patterns in our house and got into a nice simple routine of daily living and celebrating the small things. Life was good but a little bit of me felt that it was wrong in some way for my life to be easy.
Now, the world has gone upside-down and everything has changed. I am thinking ‘What can I do?’ How can I help?’ and feeling pretty helpless. The funny thing is that in many ways I don’t feel any more helpless than I have done for years. I have been feeling helpless about all sorts of the things like just how much people live on their phones and don’t really interact and more, as an example. This is because my helpless feeling comes from a sense that there is a deep lack of soulfulness in the world.
So now I feel confused because my head is saying ‘Do something!’ and my heart is whimpering ‘But I have been doing so much for years and I am still doing it.’ I mean I get up every day and ask God what I should do. I get up every day and wonder why some specific thing has popped into my head or why I am suddenly feeling a certain way. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to live like this – that I wanted to give up my own plans in favour of finding something else – the very thing that I should be finding in every moment of every day.
So what can I do at a time like this? Only continue to talk to God and continue my life of not being in control. This is the best gift I have.
The best way to illustrate how I hear God’s
voice is by giving some examples of the journeys that I go on with God – funny
little journeys with big out-comes.
This particular journey took place a few years ago when I saw a picture in my head of a reservoir about 5 miles from where I live. I had only visited it once and it hadn’t become a favourite place. However on that day I felt this strange pull to visit it again so I dragged my husband, Richard and my 4 year old son out for a walk! On arriving, what first occurred to me was that it was a good place for thinking. Simply following the marked paths and feeling the calm of the water was quite therapeutic especially as I had some big thoughts going on in my head that I wanted to share with Richard. As our walk continued we came to a sort of jetty that was like a narrow closed-in walk-way leading to a hide out by the water’s edge. I don’t like tunnels or motion but felt drawn through this tunnel to the small square box-like hide sitting over the water. It wasn’t really moving but as I looked out over the reservoir and saw the water rippling by, I really felt like I was on a boat. Finding myself doing something strange but feeling I had to be there, I put my antennae up and talked to God. Our conversation went something like this:-
“OK, God what I am doing here?”
“Facing a fear.”
“What of . . . motion, boats . . ?“
need to face your fear of movement. You
get so scared when you have a dream, something big and you see it unfolding
before you, expanding, and then you don’t want to move. Jennie I want you to
move, to run with your dream. I want you to face your fear of losing
control. I want you to let go.”
Hearing these words made me curious about my
fear. I tried looking out at the
rippling water from different sides of the hide. I looked at the information on the walls
about the birds we might see and then my eye caught sight of something big
moving in the water. It was the biggest
fish I’ve ever seen actually swimming and it was going surprisingly fast, heading
straight for the hide. Part of me became
entranced by this fish but just in a corner of my mind was my fear, and the
thought that watching it was making me feel slightly dizzy and I didn’t like
it. Quite suddenly I decided that enough
was enough and I wanted to go now. I moved quickly through the tunnel and back
onto what I thought was dry land! I was
happy again but I was changed. A little
bit of the fear had gone.