As a young adult, trying to figure out how to deal with ever increasing pressure and stress, my mother said to me, “Just hand your troubles up to God.” My eyebrow arched, my lip curled and I said, “Huh?” She explained that when you feel your troubles are too much for you to deal with, hand them up to God. He will sort them out and hand them back as he sees fit. When you are ready and capable. He doesn’t solve them for you, but lightens your load so that you are better equipped to solve them yourself.
If memory serves me right, I wasn’t able to figure out just how to hand my troubles up to God at that time.
It wasn’t until another stressful time in my life when I remembered my mom explaining this elusive ‘hand off’ that I successfully did just that. I let go of the worry and the stress as I handed my troubles off, knowing that I’d still have to resolve each and every one of them, but all in good time.
Even since my first successful experience I’ve been unsuccessful again. There are times my faith isn’t strong enough, or perhaps God feels it isn’t necessary to carry the burden, but I will find myself unable to figure out how to let go.
Faith is a funny thing. As a whole, it is an easy thing to have. But those individual parts that make up the whole are sometimes very challenging to work through. When you have to simply believe even though it isn’t logical or necessarily practical, that’s hard. When you are hurting, grieving, or really angry, faith isn’t the first thing you want to reach for, it’s more like a machete. And sometimes faith is downright incongruous to your situation. You look at the evil that has taken place in the world or in your life and you can’t hold the two aspects in your head at the same time.
I had some fabulous things happen this year. And I’ve had some really cruddy things happen. Since it is easy to have faith in the goods times, I’m gonna focus on my faith through the not so good times. I felt a lot of anger this year. A lot of sorrow. Oh my god, the sorrow! And some doubt. Those are the individual parts that tested my overall whole faith. I certainly didn’t ace my tests. I think I might have even had to take a make up test for a failure or two. Some of those tests are long, like unending scantrons. The endurance is a test in itself. Sometimes I’m just downright tired and don’t feel like digging around to find my faith. But…
I know a man who has no faith. Believes in nothing. He’s a nice guy. Tells a great story. I enjoy his company. But the decisions he makes don’t always gel with the decisions I would make. Because to him there are no consequences. He doesn’t have that ultimate right vs wrong morality. Eternity isn’t on the line for him. It fascinates me to witness how having no faith impacts behavior. I’ve learned a lot about my faith from knowing him.
I’m not trying to convert you or judge you for where you’ve placed your faith or if you’ve chosen not to have any at all. But I know it shapes the person you are just as much as it has shaped me.
I’m thankful to have faith. I love knowing that there is something even bigger than this beautiful, scary, difficult, amazing life. I’m thankful for the chance at eternity with those I hold most dear.
And I’m thankful for my blog followers! Only three days left to enter my Gratitude Giveaway. Do it now, ‘cause what if you forget? Plus, super easy entry rules. Because I like things simple like that.
Also, please visit Melissa Goodwin's blog. She and I are chatting about my writing and my lack of story inspiration in my idyllic upbringing.