I saved the best for last.
When I couldn’t find anything to be grateful for, or didn’t care to. When I lost hope; when I lost sight of my passion; when I wanted to rebel against what’s right; when I didn’t love myself, when I didn’t feel love from anyone else; when I wanted to give up; when I felt like throwing away all the things that made me who I am; when I fell the hardest on my face: I fell onto my faith.
I’m not “religious”. I don’t follow rituals, I don’t do the step by steps. I didn’t grow up in a church and, in fact, the two memories I have of going to church as a child were not good experiences. I’ve had much better experiences as an adult in churches, I enjoy the discussion, I seek the truth, but the church does not define my faith.
I was taught early on, and still believe, that your relationship with God is personal and you don’t need a whole list of special days and specific steps and enlightening books to make faith right.
Faith is TRUST. Trust in something bigger than your circumstances. Trust that you are a part of something more than you can humanly understand and within that idea, you find a purpose. I don't care who you pray to, what your hats look like, or the way your parents made you dress on Sundays. I care that you TRUST that life is bigger than you and you are a part of something greater.
I’ve doubted my faith, I’ve questioned it, and every time it jumped back up into my face as if to say, “I’m still here, you’re just not listening.” And every time, it grew stronger.
Truth is, I do believe in God. I can shout it from the rooftops with pride and no doubt in my heart because it is at my core. It may or may not be the same as your God, if you have one. But it matters not to me what you believe. I believe in God, I believe Jesus is my savior, and nobody could ever convince me of otherwise. I can say that with absolute resolve because I have faced doubt so very many times in my life. I have seen, and heard, and experienced things that cannot be taken away from me and have become a part of who I am today. And I can say I wouldn’t be right here right now if it weren’t for God.
I have been saved so many times and I don’t mean in that Sunday morning type of way. Literally- my life, my mental state, my home, my job, my car, that accident that would have killed us, that trip and fall that would have thrown me into fire, that rejected opportunity, that closed door, that brick wall, that abusive relationship, that toxic person, that traumatic experience that I walk through: I have been saved so many times by God, I could never credit my own doings for where I am now.
All we can control is how we react to what life throws at us. If you think you are the entire world, that the entire world is on you, that you have no effect but are only effected by… you will crumble in spirit. You are not a victim, you are a survivor. Trust that you are a part of something bigger.
Your faith doesn’t have to be about a spiritual or religious thing; it doesn’t have to be about worshiping anything or anyone. It just has to be a deeply unmovable belief in something that is bigger than yourself. Life. Meaning. Purpose. Hope. Wisdom. The Butterfly Effect states that the tinniest movement creates the biggest storms across the Earth–there is something bigger than you out there. Believe it.
I cannot tell my story without God. I could preach about it all day, but there are more than enough people doing that out there. I will never deny Him, but my story is not your story. Whether or not you believe is up to you, and I pray that you do, but it’s not what I am here for. I am not here to convince someone to believe. I can only tell what I know.
That faith, that trust, is what will catch you when you fall. It is the ground that you will lift yourself up from. It is the rock you stand, or kneel, or face-down ugly cry on.
There has to be a belief in something deeper than whatever bad thing is going to happen–because it will. Something will, it does, it has, it will again because that’s life. Failures will come, as will rejections, traumas, losses. And the only way to be truly prepared is to establish an unbreakable faith that you will, at some point, have to grasp onto in order to keep going. Just until you find a little gratitude, find your passion, love yourself, stand with your integrity, and use your grit to keep moving forward.