I was asked the other day why I separate faith from God. If I look back I have always believed in something bigger than me. Until I was about 30 that was as much as I thought about faith, “sure something is out there bigger than me”. I never thought about God. Around the age of 30, I was well into my adult life. Divorced, dating, working full-time in corporate America, and an independent homeowner. I was happy but stuck. Living life but not fulfilled. It is about that time that I wanted to explore this “faith” thing. But if anyone had ventured to ask me “Do you believe in God” I would have said, a big emphatic no!
That being said, relationship problems, the death of a young friend, losing a job, dating, work, money, commuting, and health, the list of worries were mounting. Many of my friends know I had more stress than less. And it seemed like a day didn’t go by where more wasn’t tacked on. So much in fact that even the most composed control freak in the world – me –could no longer remain composed or in control. My spiral wasn’t fast or ugly just painful. So much so that I began to seek the answers to what else was out there. And without believing, early in my exploration I would look up to the sky and say “God, are you kidding me… that which does not kill us makes us stronger ok I am strong. Now back off.” One friend even emailed me specifically to say that God must really think highly of me because he had given me a lot to handle. Really those words. I didn’t believe in God even though I was acting like I was being condemned by Him.
When things were at a rather low point, I had another friend ask me about my belief in God. What did I believe in? After some serious thought, I suggested to her that my thoughts of a higher power were of the wind. In fact, I journaled about it. My notes were as follows: wind, always after me, complete fear of it, avoid it, makes me messy, the way of the world, the vision of a higher power, the blanket around me. Funny, I defined it almost instantly as condemning but trustworthy.
After I reflected on the wind more, the most profound change started to happen. I let the wind in. I reminded myself of its power and wonder almost daily. At moments of raw emotion – bad or good I looked for it and unseemingly the wind began to appear like it was in conversation with me. This began my growing faith when I started to look outside myself for help and answers. I stayed with my faith in the wind for many years before I even thought about God. By then, I had some rather larger than the wind moments. Including one where three trees fell on my car as I was driving. The odds of this happening are essentially zero. That is another blog post in and of itself.
I love trees and believing in the wind I had started to look at them a lot. Think for a minute about a tree. The knots, the bumps – we love them. The dark spots add character. For that matter, we spend thousands of dollars pruning trees so they grow healthy and big. So they look just perfect. Why do we do that to a tree and not ourselves? Who can prune us? Not my ex-husband, that is for sure and trust me I have tried therapy! And could I prune others, I guess not. I have tried. It tended to lead to epic failure not change.
I had begun going to church by then, and sermon after sermon I would hear stories of the wind. Each one had different meaning but each Sunday I would find myself touched, sometimes to tears. Then one of our substitute ministers told me that tears in church were a gift so I stopped fighting them and let them flow. I started to realize that self-will, my will, my control stood in the way of something bigger. My controlling the world was exhausting and lonely.
That is when I started my “Spiritual Journey”. I guess in an effort to control my “label”(ok I had work to do), I went to the dictionary. I looked up the definition of spiritual: “of spirit” “consisting of spirit”. I looked up the definition of spirit: “the life principle in a human being, life, will, supernatural being, disposition or mood, vivacity, courage, enthusiastic loyalty, real meaning, characteristic or quality, a distilled liquor, to carry away secretly and swiftly.” In comparison, I looked up the definition of to survive: “to live, remain alive”. Finally, I looked up the definition of to live: “to have life”.
Now I am not much of a philosopher but after that vocabulary lesson: to survive didn’t sound very enticing when the other option was to be on a spiritual journey. Embracing that I didn’t know where this would lead me, I took the leap and kept taking the leap until one day God tracked me down. I can look back now and see that my higher power knew right from the start I was stubborn and likely a slow learner. Another tree aside, I have also stood in the back yard about to mow a lawn as a tree crashed inches in front of me. I have walked down the road in our neighborhood and in a gust of wind had a tree ripped completely from the ground and land right at my toes. No rainstorm, just clear windy days. And if you can believe it, even with trees being thrown at me I missed His message until one day when I didn’t.
To me, it matters not, whether you believe in God only that you have faith. It only takes a little bit of faith to move mountains. Tell me how you stay faithful? And do you have people in your life like I do to remind you of that faith?