When we mention the word faith, what comes to mind?
When I think of faith, I see someone with their hands clasped tightly together and eyes closed in desperation. It’s an image of someone who cannot bear to have anymore loss; it is a last resort to clutch onto the will to keep going. Calling in an energy that seeps into them like honey, melting into their cells and inspiring something that is patient and grounding.
Gentle drops dampening a fire of fear that slowly stops burning and hurting them. Even if it’s just for the moment, it’s the ability to trust.
So, what is faith and how does one acquire such a thing? Well, to understand that first we must look at what it means to be faithless.
Why do we lose faith?
Everybody loses faith sometimes. It is a natural process that occurs as we face challenges in our lives. When facing disappointments, especially if you’re getting a series of bad news or going through periods of stagnation, it is normal to experience doubt and a lack of faith.
However, there are four key factors that drive a complete loss of faith, which in turn prolongs the struggle and strife in your life.
Not recognising seasons and cycles in your life
Life is cyclical; just like the seasons, there are moments for planting and nurturing seeds, blossoming and blooming, letting things fall away and periods of loss and rebuilding.
Sometimes, we experience an influx of good news and there are other times when we go through the opposite.
What kills faith is looking at a moment in your life when you are struggling as a permanent state of being, when in fact it is temporary and will pass. When we forget that this is temporary and part of the cycles we all experience, we can convince ourselves that struggles and pain are unique to us and we will never experience a lighter moment in life again.
A lack of faith during these times not only makes you lose hope, but also the will and motivation to control what you can.
For instance, you may have lost a job and have been unemployed for far longer than you anticipated. You may have applied to many roles and gotten rejected continuously – you may even have had a glimmer of hope with a few successful interviews and at the last minute not gotten the job. This is, of course, a trying time, and getting a series of bad news will undoubtedly affect you.
However, the absence of faith will have you believing that you may never get out of this situation; it puts your focus on the series of negative events and may propel you to stop taking care of yourself, which in turn affects everything else and keeps you stuck.
When you live faithfully, it allows you to have an open mind – perhaps this break from working allows you to reconsider what you really want to do next, maybe you need a break from burn out or a moment to reflect and recover from losing a job before throwing yourself into another.
Once you recognise the season you are in, you are able to understand where you are in life and how to move forward.
Understanding that life is cyclical and we all experience seasons of success and seasons of trying times helps give a more helpful perspective that everything is temporary, and this moment will pass and lead to a brighter one.
Fear and worry
The opposite of faith is fear – the fear of things not working out or even the fear of nothing ever changing. Living in fear and worry stops you from moving forward or going for opportunities that may work out well.
Faith allows you to believe that everything will turn out okay. Even if something hasn’t worked out the first time, faith allows you to keep practicing and keep pushing forward.
Often our fears are not rooted in reality, it is the expectation of outcomes we are afraid of the most and living your life without faith exposes you to leading your life with fear.
When we experience past disappointments, it is very easy to get stuck in the cycle of repeating the past simply by believing that past disappointments will not leave you and will come back to return.
It is this fear of negative outcomes repeating themselves that results in a loss of faith with things ever improving and thus this fear holds us back from taking chances and doing new things simply because we have lost the faith that things will work out and live in fear that disappointment will continue to follow you.
Uncertainty and looking for proof
Faith is not meant to be experienced with our eyes. Faith is not something tangible to hold and faith doesn’t prove itself to you when you are experiencing hardship.
In a world of doubt, we often look for proof and evidence to help alleviate uncertainty and help us feel safer as we move through unknown territory in our lives. In a fast paced world where dopamine is a moment away, it is easy to look for a quick fix to alleviate our anxieties or to have something concrete to hold on to.
Ironically, searching for the evidence of faith, the proof of good news or indicators that things will work out unfortunately does not strengthen your faith and in fact, creates more resistance within you.
Faith in and of itself is trusting in something you cannot see, it is an inner truth that allows you to believe that things will improve, and you have the means to help drive that forward.
Faith is meant to be experienced as a culmination of your unshakeable hope and to hold onto to help you move into a new cycle and season in your life.
Believing faith means you will never fail
Having faith does not eliminate the prospect of failure in your life. It does not guarantee that you will always be successful or courageous in everything you do.
Life comes with challenges, and these challenges are opportunities for learning and strengthening our resolve. Failure is not only an unavoidable part of life, but an important part of life. Failure is necessary to continue learning, growing and progressing.
Faith here works as a tool to help lift you forward. Leaning on faith means that when you fall and fail, you draw on your faith to get back up. It means that when you experience fear, you call on faith to give you courage.
Faith allows you to give yourself some grace as you move through challenging periods. It allows you to look at things in a more expansive and reflective way to continue growing and eliminate fears that your past experiences will continue repeating themselves.
What is faith and how do we cultivate it?
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. Faith is not easy to cultivate, especially when you’ve experienced a lack of it but as with all things,
developing a faithful mindset takes practice until you reach the point where you feel lighter and more hopeful as you move through life.
We all often forget how important and fundamental it is to feel calm during moments of strength. Some things are simply outside of our control and sometimes we may punish ourselves by pushing ourselves towards an outcome.
However, faith reminds you that you are human, it will all be okay and all you need to do is keep looking after yourself. Faith allows you freedom and to move through life with one question at the forefront of your mind: if you knew everything was going to turn out okay, what would you do?
One way we can cultivate more faith in our lives is to ‘zoom out’ when we look at the problems and issues we’re facing.
It may be true that some people do experience more challenges than others, but often we can convince ourselves that bad things only happen to us and us alone. We can perpetuate a mindset that we are doomed in life and we’re the only one experiencing these issues.
It’s important to remind yourself of other people who have somehow managed to get themselves out of a darker space in life and move into a lighter one.
Another way we can do this is by speaking to people who are in a different energy without resentment or envy, but with curiosity and hope. This can include watching interviews and people of who you look up to, or videos from motivational speakers.
Aligning ourselves with the energy we want reminds us that life does go on and there are opportunities, even if it feels like your back is up against the wall and you have run out of choices.
Lastly, controlling what you can helps change your frequency and vibration to allow you to be more receptive to faith and positive thinking. You cannot control who texts you back or getting a job offer, but you can control how you feel and experience your day.
You can control being well rested, well hydrated and your overall well-being. When we’re feeling overwhelmed and experiencing loss in life, we tend to look after ourselves less and it adds to the feeling of overwhelm.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but if we slowly focus on what we can control we can cultivate more patience and hope with what we cannot.
Faith is a tool that allows us to keep going, we don’t have to suffer through life as much as we may think.
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