A New Definition for Faith

A Statue at a Parish we used to attend that I have stood before when things seemed hopeless & then when they have become better then I ever imagined: Faith July 2019

Faith is a huge part of my life and I love everything about it. I love that it connects me to many generations of my ancestors, but can also be shared between complete strangers. I love how it is rooted in tradition and culture and provides a familiarity that I can turn to no matter where I am physically, mentally or spiritually. I love that if I don’t feel brave, confident, hopeful, or courageous it gives me a strength to walk forward anyway. And I love that it gives me a sense of purpose in all the different roles I play in my life. It is my belief that faith is a life long journey through a complex relationship, so I will like never fully understand it, but I would like to think I have a strong grasp of what it means to me and the power of possibility it has for my life.

In fact it was the foundation Danny and I choose to start our life on – being married through a sacrament of our Catholic faith and with the words of our first dance as husband and wife: “Have a Little Faith in Me”. And eventually it became the guide for how I would tell our story here with Have a Little Faith in We. Faith is the biggest thing in my life. That is why this week, seeing a new definition that caused me to pause and take stock of it acting in my life shocked me.

“Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hebrews 11:1

Faith has never been a concrete thing to me. In fact the whole seeing without believing actually gives me strength. Maybe it’s my a-type, but if it was a tangible thing we saw or touched or experienced – it would become something we would have to achieve. Good enough to see it, brave enough to touch it, blessed enough to experience it. By having it not make complete worldly sense, it serves as a constant reminder that I am limited by my humanity. Thus being imperfect (the state we humans will always find ourselves in) is exactly what we are supposed to be. And it gives us the invitation to explore it further, by embracing our imperfection. It might sound crazy, but I find comfort in it. However, I have often used faith as an explanation for not knowing the answer, being relieved of the frustration in seasons of waiting, or released from having to proclaim what I want – because faith is letting it all go and knowing that you aren’t in charge. It tells my perfectionist, planner a-type to just “let go and let God”. And even if I am pretty terrible about doing just that, I find comfort in knowing I can at anytime just remove myself from the responsibility of owning the desires of my heart. But that’s not what this quote says.

In this passage in Hebrews, FROM THE BIBLE, there is a very clear definition that faith being about confidence in what we hope for. Confidence, true confidence is a pretty tall order. I am an outgoing person who is always willing to try, but I protect my heart by poking fun at myself, being quick to apologize or announce that “I was just trying”. Because if I had to really go for it with actual confidence, that would mean I have a level of certainty that I can do it. So when I am wrong, it will really hurt. And when I being honest, certainty isn’t one of my strong suits and faith was giving me a place to hide that missing certainty: under the guise of being a true Christian who just trusts God and doesn’t need to be confident. That was a lie – and it was giving me excuses to not be real with my heart.

There are things I truly want in this life – things that I beg for in my deepest parts, but I fear saying them aloud and getting it wrong. For example, Danny and I to grow old together. I actually fear saying it aloud because the facts and figures of CF, of his health picture, of the path of our life tells me this is a stupid hope. And if I say it to the world or God they will ask me what the heck I am doing with a person who has a terminal illness if this is what I want. Yet, faith would tell me that nothing is impossible with God…. and TRUE FAITH would give me confidence in God’s ability to provide this reality. A person who has worked on their faith journey, truly put the effort in, will know how to make a wants a realty by living in faith that it will all become true. Because by truly living that faith, they are actually living – not paralyzed by fear.

My word for 2019 is HOPE and the largest tool I use to navigate this goal is faith. To see them both so clearly intertwined in this passage I stopped in my tracks. I would tell you I live by my faith, yet I don’t live by this definition. I am so busy protecting my heart by telling myself to not want, because wanting is against letting God work. Or if I don’t get too intertwined with a hope, then the longing for it won’t be so bad. Or people will not judge me or feel sorry for me or admonish me so quickly if I am the first one to address my desires as not realistic. I have to actually walk in faith that these desires are part of me for a reason. Missing the chance to bring my broken heart and fearful spirit to God to say “heal me” in this desire and help me walk the path you have laid out before me is missing our of the life He gave me. If we never start, then we don’t ever have to be hurt by the twists and turns of the journey – when in reality we are hurt, by never starting. That isn’t faith, that is fear.

This quote I found while working on my current reading of “100 Days to Brave”. Now if you have been around here before, you know that I already did my 100 days in 2018. However we are currently walking a variety of hard seasons with both of our health and I needed to be brave. When reading this before and choosing to have quiet and prayerful time daily, I have come to learn that is how we grow the muscle of faith – so I wanted to do this journey to brave with our specific recoveries in mind. And here it sits the answer to bravery – use faith to get more courageous to have confidence in my hope, even when we can’t see it working out.

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!

Jackie


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