“Do you know what the opposite of fear is?” Asked my lovely counselor.
I did not. I rattled off a list of things I thought it could be – happiness, courage, love, action. All of these, she said, are byproducts of “the thing” that is the opposite of fear.
“Ok. Fine,” I said, “What is the opposite of fear?”
“It is FAITH,” She said. “Faith is the opposite of fear.”
Wow. Ok. When I am faced with something out of my control (the immovable rock from the post “Living in the Moment”) I am still. I pray. I live in the moment. But, what if I need to take it even further? What if a deeper faith could push me into a more steady and perpetual peace? What if all this planning that I do to abate anxiety is just masking fear of being out of control? And, if fear is the opposite of faith then all this planning that I do is only giving me a false sense of contol and not actually tackling the anxiety/fear AT ALL. What I really need is faith.
But, I have faith. I am faithful to His promise. I have faith in God and His plan for my life. But, maybe having faith should be percolating all the way down into the more mundane areas of my life and not just exercised on the bigger things. Which honestly, I didn’t even realize I was not doing this. I truly thought I was living my faith.
This is worth investigating.
So, I have English teacher-ed (yes, this is a made up verb) it by creating some good ole fashioned central questions:
What exactly is “faith”? How does one go about aquiring or building faith? If you find yourself having little faith or being fearful (since faith is the opposite of fear) how do you build or aquire faith?
Gracious, I don’t know. So, also English teacher style, I did some research – first in the form of polling a few friends and then putting it out to the masses via social media. Then, I went to delve into a more in depth religious explanation and got way more than I bargained for. But, that is a post for another day.
What is the definition of faith from the viewpoint of Christianity? After a quick research journey, I found 4 ways faith is referred to within Christianity.
Faith as religion – the doctrines and beliefs of Chrisitanity
Justification by faith – saved by Grace or the understanding that our forgiveness cannot be earned; our salvation is a precious gift given to us by God through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus. We receive this gift when we have faith in truth of Jesus Christ.
Faith as a way of living – striving to live the teachings and the doctrines we believe in; “faith without works is dead” James 2:20
Faith as trust in God and His care of us
The FAITH I am after with my questions, the one I am seeking to understand how to expand upon, is the last one – faith as trust in God and His care of us. One of the social media responses I received spoke directly to me. My Facebook friend, Jessica, said, “I think to gain more faith we have to realize we are not in control of things, most of the time. We can control our small circle of influence and the choices we make but other than that, we don’t really control most things. Fear and anxiety specifically crave control. Once we can learn to do without it, faith can exponentially increase. It has to.”
If fear is the opposite of faith and fear and anxiety crave control then these are ways my soul is being targeted. UGH. Yes. I see this now. Truly, I am not a big fan of being so slow to recognize God’s truth. My mind is blown at how often he has tried to show me this truth and bring me back to faith and how often I have held on to that control like a pacifier, doing more harm than good.
So, now that my call to have a more purposeful faith, one that is more ingratiated into my every day life, is ringing in my ears how to I create exponential growth in this area?????? How do I build this muscle, so to speak – as in I have faith, but I want it to be of Goliath proportions and not a measley mustard seed or even a large shrubbery sized faith. GO-LI-ATH!! I want it to be the woman in the C. S. Lewis quote – “A woman’s heart should be so close to God that a man should have to chase HIM to find her.” How cool is that? I need to define what that woman looks like in me. Also a post for another day. But, to start? Her faith trickles down like beautiful golden honey into all areas of her life. It is sticky sweet and hard to wash off and makes her radiate in a glistening sunshiney hue. The sticky goodness is left on everyone she touches.
Stay tuned. My research has sparked many a post!