Faith is one of the most important (if not the most important) parts of having JOY in this life. So, what is faith?
One definition of faith in the dictionary is:
1.complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
synonyms: trust, belief, confidence, conviction
The opposite of faith may be described in one way as: FEAR. You may already know this common acronym for the word “fear” which is:
FEAR is one of the biggest things that can really hold us back. We fear rejection. We fear we will lose what we have. We fear what others will say about us. We fear what others will do to us. We fear what others think of us. We fear failure. The list of fears goes on and on.
Why do we have fear? The answer can be summed up in one sentence. We lack faith. (Matthew 8:26 -And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm).
One of the points discussed in class is described in an article from the Huffington Post. In the article it says, “…it turns out that 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/don-joseph-goewey-/85-of-what-we-worry-about_b_8028368.html)
Did you catch that? 97% of what we worry about is only in our minds!
And it gets better.
When challenges (the 3% of things that we fear) do come up, we have a choice. We can either give in to the fear which causes misery and depression, or we can “surrender” to God, and choose to “believe” that things will get better and that we can handle whatever we are facing and push through it. We can choose to have FAITH. When we choose faith, we actually grow through the experience, and usually become better after going through it. The hard part is keeping faith when we are in the middle of the challenges.
There are different levels of faith. The amount of fear you have can be an indicator of what level of faith you have. The less you fear, the more faith you have. So you may ask, “How do we acquire or increase our faith?” The answer to that is simple. Practice. Just start praying and asking. Oh, and while you’re practicing, the most important thing to remember is to: BELIEVE that your prayers will be answered. It’s really that simple. The only reason it would be a complicated process is if we make it that way. It’s not meant to be difficult. As you start receiving answers to your prayers, your faith increases. You will be astonished at some of the ways your prayers are being answered! I can tell you from experience. There is absolutely no way, no how I would be living where I am living today, doing the things I am doing today, without praying and receiving answers to my prayers. God has shown me how good He really is, and He will show you the same. You just have to ask and believe.
The second part to having faith is GRATITUDE! Start with being thankful for what you have today. Even if life seems to be throwing every curve ball possible at you right now, there is SOMETHING to be thankful for. Feel that gratitude and connect with our creator on that level. When we have gratitude for what we already have, that creates feelings of love which moves us closer to God. When we are connected to God, that gives us freedom and connects us with our purpose, which we will discuss in the next blog.