Is it faith or just stupidity?

Discussion in my family has centered on faith recently. My mother- who has been an Elijah and I her Elisha wishing for a double portion of her spirit when she has gone from this earth (2 Kings 2:9)- has struggled with what it means to have faith. It seems so simple… She has lived by faith all my life. It is who she is… A faithful woman! But this issue is not only about faith- in her mind- it is about faith in what? What does God want her to have faith in? It has become an issue that makes faith, “Easier said than done.” Yet again and again, she is told “Just have faith.” Her frustration is paramount because she seeks a yes or no answer- “Have faith in which side,” she wonders! Her dilemma has led me to consider my own journey of faith. Am I living in faith? Should I be a better model to her and others as to what faith means or what we should have faith in?

My story begins- like many others- with the traumas of childhood, which are manifested in my character today. After my dad’s accident, we were dirt poor- not in spirit, but in the worldly construct of money and possessions. We grew up rationing, sacrificing, and humbling ourselves before the Lord. Although my mother had faith that we would be fed, have a place to live, and have all our needs met- as promised by God (Philippians 4:19), we still felt it. We knew we had less than everyone else: Often, others in our social circles would remind us that we were less because we had less. Despite her best efforts to keep us ignorant of our circumstances, we grew up never feeling financial abundance… It is uncomfortable now. I feel as though “if I have… then I must get rid of.” Whether it be a splurge or a donation to someone in need… All my pockets have holes.

Consider the lilies. Consider the lilies. Over and over I have reminded myself not to worry about having enough… God provides! This verse (Matthew 6: 25) has meant so much to me that I tattooed lilies on my arm as homage to God’s promises. Yet it goes beyond “having enough” to truly feeling “abundant.” When my mild OCD spikes, I calculate as a way to self-soothe. I calculate my budget. I calculate the same numbers a different way. Again, another scenario. I feel better when I make the list, deduct, add, cross off… Pen on paper… Action when I am otherwise stuck with these debts. I secretly hope that money will appear out of nowhere to get rid of it while I replay my mother’s pattern of “not letting the kids feel in lack.” But sometimes, I feel inspired to share my struggle and why I can’t fulfill my own desires, only their wants and needs. “Mommy, have you taken any stones off your mountain?” My mountain- a great sturdy force looming toward the heavens- blocking the path between me and my dreams- casts a long shadow on my spirit. “No sweetie, not yet.” I hate it, but that part in me- from childhood- has become way too comfortable here. Consider the lilies. May God “grant [me], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit [in me]… Grounded in love… Unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in [me]” (Ephesians 3: 14-21).

Conceptually I knew to feel abundance versus lack. Yet, no one had told the child in me that I am not poor! It has only been these past couple of years that I have acted in abundance. I had jumped- took leaps of faith- trusted in God. Now I live in abundance! I thank God each day for those blessings. However, I still feel in lack when I consider “that time when I won’t get a paycheck.” I have a small savings for it but I look at my mountain and get overwhelmed and anxious. I still feel like I’m drowning. I am flailing my arms trying to survive when all I need to do is… stand up! Better yet, all I need to do is take the cloak that has fallen onto me and strike the river (think wrapping a wet towel to fling at someone) so that I may cross on dry land (2 Kings 2: 14). But how do I do that? How do I turn metaphorical imagery into real action?

My rational brain says, Don’t be stupid! You are putting yourself at risk. Just keep doing what you are doing… Your situation will eventually change. You just need to get through the summer. But living in fear and doubt is contrary to God’s plan that we “have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3: 12). Our rational minds keep us tethered to the 3D realm and I… I was born into living a life beginning in no less than the 6th dimension (hahaha)! How dare my mind pull me down! I am an heir to the riches of the glory of God! I declare this debt be gone! I declare abundance. Child in me, I am not in lack anymore. I have inherited the riches and glory of God through Christ! Now… Take up the cloak and…

Walk across!

I can’t answer my own question on how to make the imagery real except…

May we boldly ascend to higher dimensions of faith through love, not fear!


A Chat with My Old Friends

What’s the harm in trusting that someone loves me? I mean really? Why can’t I do it? Is it the fear that his love will be ripped out from beneath me when I least expect it? Am I terrified that he will change his mind on a whim or when a pretty young thing waltzes by giving him “the look”? Does it have to do with my self-confidence? Or his worthiness of my trust? Is it that I really don’t trust myself or is it that I can’t trust someone else? Let’s ask our buddy Pascal: What are your thoughts?

“Well, if the romantic does not trust her partner and her partner loves her, then she sabotages possible bliss, but if he doesn’t love her, then she dodges a bullet. If the romantic does trust her partner and her partner doesn’t really love her, then she may experience momentary happiness but will soon discover the truth and sorrow will ensue. But, she will get over it. Yet, if she trusts and it turns out that he truly loves her, then their shared love will grow deeper and stronger. And that is not something I would ever want to miss!”

I getcha, it is best to put my money on love! Thanks. But won’t I be made to look silly or be the fool if I openly love him when I’m not sure about his love for me?

“Might I interject, my beloved Arete?” Why yes, Aristotle… It’s so good to hear from you again, gosh, what’s it been? About 2370 years? You haven’t aged a bit! “As I was saying, my beloved, you must put on your crown!” What do you mean? Do you mean think or reason more? “No, no, the crown of Pride: You are a virtuous woman. You could never be the fool when you demonstrate the virtue of self-respect. You must think highly of yourself, you are a queen and should be treated as such.” Oh, yeah. Yeah! I am! Thanks man. And hey, you think when I go to Greece you could give the lowdown on the best local spots for authentic cuisine?

Okay, so the consensus is that it would be better to trust and to uphold my self-respect as being worthy of love! Well, how do I know that he is worthy of my love? I mean, the Bible says not to “give your pearls to swine” so I don’t want to give my adoration to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

“You will know by his character. He will be trustworthy if he follows Me: Is he sincere, honest, reliable? Does he keep his promises? I would never forsake you, does he?” Lord, thank you for leading him.

But people change their minds. What if he changes his mind? “If it is true that he loves you, then heed my wisdom: Love is infinite, eternal. Why is it eternal? It was never born; thus it can never die. Why is it infinite? It has no desires for itself; thus it is present for all beings… let go of yourself and you will be perfectly fulfilled. Open yourself to love, then trust your natural responses; and everything will fall into place.” Woah, Lao Tzu, dude… You just took it to a whole new level.

“J’aime, donc je suis.” Yes! I totally agree. But Descartes, you realize that not everyone here speaks French. Here, let me translate: I love, therefore I am. Love is what makes us come alive: It is the essence of our existence! “Yes, yes, and you must have complete and utter faith in that love or else life is not worth living.” Soren, do we really need to get that dark? hahaha just kidding. You’re right. You know, if I can’t trust love- it’s process, it’s heart ache, it’s joy, then this claim “to love” is only in vain.

“Hope.” Did you say something Erik? “You must resolve this dispute between trust and mistrust so that you build hope. Do you believe that perhaps your mistrust and fear of abandonment may have to do with your early relationship with your mother?” “No, no, zit is her oral fixation. Zat is vhy she gets zo much gratification vfrom ze tasting and sucking.” Woah woah woah Freud, simmer down man that is some personal shit your telling everyone there. Jeese… Erik, I’m sorry. What were you saying?

“I was just getting to the fact that in order to love, you first must know yourself through a well developed identity, which can only be done in the context of our social relationships; therefore, you must get to know others in order to understand who you are. And so that you can know them enough to determine their level of trustworthiness.” I love you Erik. You always know how to bring it back around. hahaha.

“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” Ah, thanks Maya.

And thank you to all my old friends, for sharing your wisdom on this issue. Before we go, let me sum it up. So, here’s what I’ve got so far…

I’ve got to know- and exude that I know- my worth! I’ve got to just… Take a leap of faith and trust, maybe not in the person- that will come as love manifests in their character- but, I must trust in love because that is why we exist…. Amen.

Be Love.