“Faith is an excitement and an enthusiasm, a state of intellectual magnificence which we must safeguard like a treasure, not squander on our way through life in the small coin of empty words and inexact, pedantic arguments.” ~ George Sand, Letter to Marie-Theodore Desplanches, May 25, 1866 …
Throughout most of my youth, I held this idea that faith was some sort of mysterious element in my life, something that required an acceptance of many of the traditions and held beliefs of others, and depended on me trusting in an unknowable Creator in the same ways that others trusted in one. But faith is a personal matter–it is unique to each one of us–and it is up to us where we wish to place that faith, be it in God, in others, in science, in work, or even in things such as money. However, it is important to realize that some things in life that we have faith in will inevitably fail us, such as money, people, and things, and so we should be cautious not to let those failures prevent us from embracing faith as an important part of our lives.
As we come to experience a deeper sense of faith in our lives we discover that this world is a different place, a more fruitful and fulfilling place, for our faith opens doors that were otherwise closed, providing new meaning and purpose and gifting peace, hope, and joy into our hearts. Faith enables us to live our lives with a complete trust that our words and actions will serve others and ourselves, and that our existence has immense value and purpose, even if we are unable to see or feel it at the moment. Allowing faith to be an integral part of our lives is really us saying, “Yes, I want to live my life to the fullest,” for we understand in our hearts that it is all worthwhile and deserves our full cooperation and effort. And really, that is what faith is all about… it is an acceptance of the idea that there is a much better picture than we are aware of or can comprehend, and a willingness to contribute to that picture, even knowing full well that we may never see the finished product ourselves.
The times in my life which I have found to be the darkest–in which despondency seemed to overwhelm me the most–were those in which I held very little faith. Yet when there was trust in the God–when I allowed myself to live my faith and actively participate in it with excitement and enthusiasm–I felt most alive. Faith gives way to hope, serenity, and joy, all of which lighten the burdens upon our shoulders and brightens our days; and life is simply too valuable and short for us to carry unnecessary burdens and excess baggage around.
Living in faith enriches our time here on Earth. And when we can trust in ourselves enough to allow our faith to grow wherever our hearts tell us are true, loving, and honorable, we will experience that deep peace and “intellectual magnificence” that allows us to be.
Take time today to think about what faith means to you.
Questions to consider:
Why do so many people want us to adopt their versions of faith? If they need others to adopt theirs, then is what they have really faith?
How much of faith is related to letting go?
How might we expand our faith by strengthening our trust, be it in ourselves, others in our lives, or our God?
For further thought:
“To have faith where you cannot see; to be willing to work on in the dark; to be conscious of the fact that, so long as you strive for the best, there are better things on the way, this in itself is success.” ~ Katherine Logan, The Cornellian, Vol. 125