Describing my faith is challenging for me, as I don’t feel it fits a contextual mold that many could fit into their preconceived notions of what faith consists of. Most people I interact with now focus on spirituality rather than religion, but then still I find it hard to find the words to describe what I feel or believe. A lot of the times when I try, I don’t feel I’m making any sense.
When I read the following quote today on Jenna Lyons article, though, it described my beliefs in the simplest terms…
“For me, even though I’ve dabbled in different religions and belief systems, that heart-deriven prayer comes from an innate ability I have to paint my soul on a canvas, to write my heart down on paper, and to give of myself to the point where I have nothing left—to commit to random acts of kindness or to worship beauty in the world around me.
In the smiles of people I don’t know.
I wander faithfully, finding small adventures in drives to remote places, baking randomly, getting lost intentionally on long runs or bike rides, and being emotionally attached to horses, rabbits, dogs, birds and plants. And I fall in love…hard.”
I believe that God is everything. That means he is me, he is you, he is everything. I do not mean that in the way that I am God, but God is me. Meaning that I do not have to go searching for Him. I do not need to change who I am to find Him. He is already with me, within me, guiding me, never leaving me lonely. Because of this, I know that whatever God provides me I am able to handle, I have everything I need right now.
There are times, like today when I feel balanced and secure, that this is easier to believe on an emotional level. Some days it is harder for me to emotionally understand that God has given me the tools to deal with the pain that life provides. Intellectually, though, I have a deep belief that I am alright already.
When I reference God, I am referring to a power greater than myself that I refer to as God. He is not associated with a religion or set practice. My practice flows as my life does. Ebbing and flowing with the new information, love, and gratitude I experience every day. God is me. God is you.
God provides me with direction when I share honestly with those I trust. He guides me through your words, your actions. Through a strangers kindness. An unexpected change. A new adventure. Silence and Laughter.
Over the past few years I have learned to be quiet, listen, and learn from those around me and from the silence. I have also learned to experience God similar to what Ms. Lyons said, in committing random acts of kindness, smiling at strangers, getting lost, falling in love, and taking part in all adventures that come my way. I am able to truly experience and be present in the current moment. I love and live for the now. Knowing that in this moment I have everything I need and can let go of what my mind thinks I “should” have. Similar to her, I pray this way as well. It’s a constant acknowledgement and gratitude of the moment I am experiencing.
Of course, if you have been following my blog or know me at all – I am not perfect. I have days when I don’t feel the above is even possible. Days that seem bleak and like they will never end. The main difference between my beliefs today and those of five years ago is that today…my beliefs still run like a river underneath the mountain of pain I may feel. I no longer feel completely lost when everything seems to be falling apart around me. I can feel pain and not be crushed by what felt previously like a mountain of grief.
My healing and change began with me. It began with acknowledging how I was blocking myself from my own faith. With help, I discovered the actions, perceptions, and beliefs that were actually leading me down a path of self-destruction instead of self-love. By identifying these and working hard (yet not perfectly) on aligning these with beliefs that lead to self-love, I am able to love myself today. truly love myself. inside and out.
This is my heart prayer for you. To find the belief that allows you to love yourself. Ask questions of your current faith, does it lift you up or bring you down? Where do you see your faith? Where do you experience your faith? How does your faith love you?