Friday, July 22, 2011

Coming to Believe

A friend of mine is fond of saying, "I finally tendered my resignation as supreme ruler of the universe."  I always laugh because I know that desire to rule it all, and how that just falls apart the more I try to hold it together.  

Coming to believe that only a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity - that is, a stable state of mind, in healthy relationships with myself, others, and God - is only born out of desperation.  It comes from a deep and abiding knowledge and realization that all efforts to be in charge of my own life end up with me achieving the opposite of what I wanted.  Instead of being respected, loved, and confident, I end up bound by fear and resentment, being feared and maligned either overtly or in secret.  

There's part of an old gospel song that goes like this:  "There's a light at the end of the darkness, so look up when you are down and tryin' to believe - Sometimes we have to be knocked down to make us look upward; I was lookin' up through the bottom when it finally shined on me."  

Coming to believe is a process.  Much is said in Christendom about the actual choice to believe (and this is important as well) but there is a lot that goes into the process of realizing that one needs to believe, that there is something out there to believe, something better, something that will pierce through the madness and restore hope.  Or give hope and peace where there never was any to begin with.  The realization that there is a need, that I am powerless to meet that need in myself or in anyone else, is paramount.

That's when, in desperation, I can begin to accept and come to believe that I need help and that the help I need cannot come from my own efforts (because I remember, I've tried that in several different versions and manifestations, and it does NOT work!!) In this, there comes a growing dissatisfaction with my own management of my life thus far.  At the same time, there is a mounting desire to turn over my life and the seat of my emotions and decisions over to the care of God, who can empower me to live life instead of just surviving life.

For some people this process takes a few seconds.  For some, especially those with baggage surrounding their image of what God is like (based on childhood experiences, usually) it might take much longer.  But Honesty with oneself, Openness to change and Willingness to embrace the process is HOW a spark of faith can come.

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