Category Archives: Attitude

Why do you believe?

A longtime friend came to visit and what a joy it was to sit with them, to listen to their stories of encouragement and hear about all the blessings that God has brought to them in a myriad of ways.

Not that everything was rosy in their life. Far from it. They have problems at work, conflicts with others and they’re currently mourning the death of a beloved family member. In anyone else’s hands, these issues would be enough to bring them to their knees in defeat. But instead, this dear friend is on their knees in gratitude for all that they have.

Their visit prompted me to consider why I believe, why they believe and why so many people believe in God when life, at times, feels so heartbreaking. Questions are asked and answers are left wanting. We crave certainty, yet experience teaches us that precious little in life can be relied upon.

So why do I believe? For me, it’s a continual exercise. When life is going great and everything falls into place, it’s easier to believe in a loving and merciful God. When I feel like I’m trapped in a deep dark cave, I tend to believe in myself rather than God. It never fails to pull me down further.

Which is precisely why I need to acknowledge my weaknesses, to admit my struggles. I am not a super-Christian or a spiritual giant, an expert in my field or employee of the month. I’m merely a somebody on a lifelong journey to know God more and more. At times I may stumble and fall, other times I might run and even sprint. But one thing that never changes is God’s constant faith in me, which He continues to reveal every day through people and through ever-changing circumstance.

We humans are born with a sense of entitlement – we talk about our rights and our inner worth, yet all we’ve done to deserve these rights is be born, which really doesn’t require much skill on our part. My dear friend reminds me through their open practice of gratitude that God provides us with more than we deserve and more than we can ever comprehend. (Click to tweet)

My strength, my ability, my intellect, my body – I have created none of it, yet each of these gifts equip me with the opportunity to create, to build, to fix, to heal, to love, to connect… in short, to live.

God isn’t for me, like a tool or an appliance or a magic genie but instead, God is for me – rooting for me, accepting me and loving me despite my mistakes and wavering loyalty.

For that I am eternally grateful. And that’s why I believe.

What’s your reason to believe?

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Looking for affirmation

Someone recently lamented to me about constantly experiencing disappointment in the light of other people’s promises.

“When people tell me they’ll do something, or say something particularly positive and appealing, I swallow it – hook, line and sinker. But nine times out of ten, I find out they never really meant it. Or they were just being polite. Either way, it leaves me feeling incredibly low.”

I know how they feel. And every time someone fails to be authentic in what they say or offer to me, it’s another blow to my courage in remaining vulnerable and authentic in myself.

My friend was conflicted, searching for reasons: “Does believing what they say make me optimistic or just plain gullible? Am I being naïve? I feel I’m in danger of becoming cynical about these things.”

It’s a tricky one. Many of us love the refreshing optimism and idealistic outlook that children display, an attitude they hold until the hard realities of life teach them otherwise. Yet it’s all too easy to fall into cold hard cynicism, expecting nothing more than disappointment and pain from people because experience has taught us that this is what invariably happens.

My friend has decided to begin the long, difficult process of adjusting her expectations of other people.

“I want to trust people and believe the best of them,” she said sadly, “but maybe I’m looking for affirmation in all the wrong places.”

Gives me food for thought. How about you?

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