It’s been a couple of weeks, friends. For SO many reasons. Namely, the fact that life feels like a blur right now. Usually, after the Stationery Show, things sort of slow down. Maybe it’s because there is a baby on the way, but I feel like things are speeding up, as I attempt to crank through as much as possible every single day. In addition to all things work-related, our oldest son has been dealing with some crossing in both of his eyes, and while probably not serious, it just looks flat-out scary and we’ve been working with the doctors on getting a solution in place as quickly as possible. And, as you mommas probably know, nothing drains your focus like having a concern for one of your children.
But now it’s high time for me to get back to the Finding Purpose series! On to step three:
3. REPLACE FEAR WITH FAITH
If you’ll allow me to share my personal experience, I’ll back up a couple of weeks to the fear exercise. I printed out that worksheet, and carried it around with me for the first week, filling out the column on the left-hand side: my fears. They were sort of silly, some of them, and others felt more logical and realistic, if not terrifying. One week turned into two, and I kept adding fears to the first page. I didn’t fill out the right-hand side column until almost two and a half weeks later. I found some quiet time, a solitary spot, and I used the right-hand column to work through the lies, the untruths, the irrationality, impracticality, and ridiculousness of everything that fell into the fear column. It was good stuff.
And then, I just stared at that worksheet, immobilized. I knew what the next step was, as I’ve been through this process many times before. I knew that the left-hand column, the fears, was what had to be faced. I knew that the right-hand column, the objections to the fears, was what had to be believed.
In working through the fears worksheet, I realized I had to summon something I felt like I’d lost: faith.
I just didn’t know how to believe it. I couldn’t find the faith to actually buy what I know to be truth: that I am a beautiful, wonderful, treasured child of a living God, who loves me and wants the absolute best for me.
Because it’s so much easier to buy into the fears, to fall into accepting the lies, to just accept the mediocrity that the world wants to fill us full of, than it is summon the courage, the faith, the energy, it takes to believe the truth.
Hence, it’s taken me a couple of weeks to even compose in my head this sort of “How To Have Faith” post. How to buy into the good, to listen to the positive, to focus on moving forward, to find the motivation to garner faith.
In facing my fears over time, I’ve often focused on replacing fear with fire. But sometimes the fears start to feel too big, and passion doesn’t feel like a strong enough, big enough thing to help squelch them. The past few weeks for me have been “huge fear” weeks, and fire and passion have not felt substantial enough to get me through them. Overcoming the ugly fear monster this time has had nothing to do with what fires me up, and only everything to do with faith.
FAITH: The total, complete, blind trust that everything is going to be okay.
So, how to find that in the middle of a fear crisis? Even if your head can tell you the truth, how do you keep your heart, your emotions, from buying into the fear side of things and pulling you down? Your head usually knows WHAT to believe: that you’re good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you. But HOW to get your heart to believe it?
That’s where my favorite part comes in: the worksheet. (Click the image to download the printable PDF.)
Work through the questions a couple of times each. You may need to print out a couple of worksheets. Scribble on them. Draw all over them. Use them to refine your belief.
- Acknowledge that God has a plan. Remember Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you…” He really has wonderful things in store for us. Take the time to imagine just some of what He might want for you, and remember that He wants the BEST for us!
- Relinquish the facade of control. Mantra: Thy will, not my will, be done. We’re really not in charge here. The sooner we realize it, the sooner we can let go and let God. It sounds corny, but take a moment to figure out what you are fighting, and acknowledge that He is in control, He knows best, and if we let Him take the reigns, there’s just a slight chance it all might work out better in the long run.
- Find the good in the bad. It take incredible inner courage to find the positive in a negative experience, but if you look, it is ALWAYS there. There is always, at the very least, a lesson to be learned, and for that, we can be grateful. It’s hard, but try to take 100% of the responsibility for your life. Leave the blame game at the door. Even though the circumstances of your life are beyond your determination, it is still YOUR LIFE. It’s time to love living it, no matter what.
- Forgive others. Love them. Trust me, it’s really hard to love yourself if your constantly bashing and blaming others. Forgive them, and you’ll find the energy to move on to making yourself a better version of you.
- Forgive yourself. Love you. I’ll be a cheerleader here: YOU ARE AWESOME. Are you listening? Did I say that loud enough? YOU are an incredibly fabulous creature, perfectly created, beautifully flawed, and amazingly original. YOU! No one on the face of this earth can be a better version of you! No one else has the talents, skills, and gifts innately bestowed upon YOU! No one else can touch a life the way YOU can! No one else can be YOU! Make a really, really, really long list of why you are FANTASTIC, and keep it with you. Add to it. Pat yourself on the back. And anytime you hear a negative voice in your head telling you anything other than how incredible you are, pull that list out, read through it, and GO BE EXTRAORDINARY.
Bottom line: you have to program your head to keep telling your heart the good things. You have to program your head to replace the negative voice it’s been programmed to tell your heart it’s whole life. You have to have the discipline to squelch the negative thoughts, and quickly replace them with the positive. The actions, little by little, add up to greater faith each time.
And as the negative voice diminishes, and the positive voice replaces it, more and more consistently, YOU will start to become something that your heart believes. And when you’re heart believes in you, you’ll start to feel it, live it, and share it, and so will everyone else around you.
Having faith is like standing on the edge of a diving board, in front of a beautiful body of water, surrounded by gorgeous palm trees, boxwood hedges, blue sky, the perfect wind, with the sun on your face. You can stand on the edge of that diving board and simply look at everything around you, or you can take the leap, dive in to that pool, and really truly start to LIVE the complete and total experience that it was meant to be. It takes simple, blind faith.
TAKE THE LEAP.