Reality is a question of perspective. Salman Rushdie
Some people will tell you perspective doesn’t change reality, but in my experience, reality is all perception. In the past five years or so I’ve seen how keeping a positive mindset and having faith in the God of my knowing changes everything. I’ve seen miracles these past five years, unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life before. I very often feel like my entire life these days is a reenactment of Peter walking on water. If I take my eyes off of Christ, if I doubt my faith, I sink. But so long as I keep my mind strong and set in my faith, life is beyond surreal, beyond vibrant, beyond my wildest imagination.
Still, there is a certain anxiety that comes from a life lived on faith that most will never understand. It’s the anxiety of “what if I’m wrong?”
When you live a life based on faith, you are often surrounded by naysayers and those that are simply waiting to see God fail you. I don’t know why that is, you’d think people had better things to do, but I digress…
So I’ve been kicked a lot this week. Well-meaning people with advice for what to do with my life and my kids. I absolutely realize that the advice is well meant, these aren’t the usual lurkers just waiting to pounce on a weak moment. They have no idea how much their “help” actually hurts someone like me who’s so incredibly sensitive to criticism of any kind. I even understand the why of it all. It’s all because I’m struggling so much financially. The advice is pretty much always the same, get your kids medicated so they can work, or get them on disability, get a job, or two jobs, myself, and then, of course, the advice on how to fight with social services to get food stamps or other aid.
And no matter what I say, they have another, even better idea than before to follow up with. I spent far too much time trying to explain myself this past week, even though I know better.
No one understands my life because most people don’t live with the magic I live with. <
What I know for sure is that yesterday, through a series of events that had nothing to do with me, a total stranger made up the difference I was short for rent. Now I have 4 weeks until the struggle begins again, but as Amy and I sat and discussed, the bottom line for me is I can either trust God and continue walking the path I am, where I am absolutely taken care of day in and day out, or I can say that’s not good enough God, I’m gonna take the reins here for a while and show you what I want to happen.
I am fifty years old and spent all my life until seven years ago doing the latter. It never ended well for me. Following God may not have brought me great riches, but what it has brought me is peace, purpose, and absolutely having everything that I need, and in my opinion that matters.
There is absolutely a certain level of anxiety that comes with faith, though. I had faith rent would be covered as God promised it would, but at the same time, when you live with a foot in the spiritual and a foot in this world, it’s very hard not to wonder if this is the time the spiritual may be wrong?
Facts are, you can have all the faith in the world, you can have all the signs, you can even have hard-won proof and you’re still going to have moments where you wear thin and wonder if it’s all just been a dream.
It’s funny how we never question this world. Because despite the fact that this world’s rules are so against the rules of heaven, we know what we’re going to get and that feels more secure than “God.” I get that. I wrestle with that constantly, and that’s one of the reasons this past week the helpful advice got to me. It’s NOT easy to live the way I do, to live in faith and know God has my back, and then let him prove it… but it is my path to walk. I have seen God move and I will never be the same for it. I cannot be like “normal” people after that. After Christ touches you and says, “follow me” there is no going back… no matter what you face. It doesn’t mean you don’t struggle with it, but I think that’s what we have anchors for –people, memories, things we’ve written– that link us back to our truth, to what we need to hold on to until the moment of doubt passes.
A woman of faith is who I am now, and sink or swim, walk on water or drown, I’ll walk this path following God because, for me, it’s better to drown with my eyes on him, than to sit on the shore and left to be picked on by the gulls.
And I’ll be honest, there are hard times, but in those moments where God has you and you are soaring above it all… that’s the real reward. Almost no one on earth will ever see the things I’ve seen. I’m absolutely in it for the adventure and God never ceases to amaze.
All those people who were going on and on about Pandora and how incredible Disney is to create such things and how they’d never seen anything like it… my whole life is that first moment on Pandora. Every day God uses me to touch people, bless people, and every day God takes me to new heights and teaches me things I’d never learn any other way. I struggle, but I am forever grateful for what’s been given me, and I will never regret the choice I’ve made to fly with God over doing it like everyone else. I am forever grateful for the courage I had to take that step, and the strength to stick with it through the hard times.
In the past seven years, I’ve had several seasons. The first taught me to trust my guides and angels and my gift of hearing them. The second taught me to trust God and his word because he is true to his promises and he saved my whole life. The next season opened up every wound of my life and burnt me to ash. It forced me to choose death or this path with God, I chose God and he resurrected me into something entirely different. (The shift of 2012 for those of you who understand.) This last season has been a stroll through poverty unlike I’ve ever known and has challenged me to my core, shamed me in many ways. It has taught me more than I knew there was to learn, and though I hate it, I surrender to it every single day. I surrender in faith, knowing it is but a season and God will see me through it and I will be better for it.
My life isn’t for everyone, and most will never understand. But what I would challenge those of you who’ve read this far, be careful with the “advice” you give another. We very rarely know what’s going on with another person, why they’re making the choices they are, or what God is doing in their lives. When you see someone struggle, pray and ask God what to do and trust his leading over your own ideas or intellect. Because at the end of the day, we may live in a human world with strange rules and happenings, but we are of God and we have abilities beyond our reason and the “common wisdom” is rarely right for us.
If you are walking a path of faith, I would encourage you to not feel you’ve failed that faith if you struggle, if you doubt, even if you sink for a time. There is always going to be anxiety, wondering if this is the time God fails you, despite your knowing he never will. The anxiety of faith is real, but the question you need to ask yourself is how anxiety-free is your existence without faith?
For this lifetime, it is your job to simply be human, to experience and learn, to succeed and to fail, to grow, to heal, to soar above it all if you can, but to never forget to ground yourself in the beauty of your own humanness, as well. I think what we probably don’t realize until it is too late, is what a gift it is to be human in the first place.
Thank you to everyone who’s walked this journey with me. I pray my journey blesses you in unfathomable ways. Namaste and much love to you all.