Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What Does Faith Look Like?

Wondering if he wants us to stop and chat or keep on going.

The word 'faith' is such an interesting word. When I am looking for writing jobs, I type that word into the search box to describe the subject I want to write about. I also type in 'religion, spirituality and church'. For me personally, each of these words carry an entirely different and distinct meaning. But for general search engines and job categories they are interchangeable. 

Faith looks different in a daily life. The ACT of faith is not the same as the job description. Living a life of faith includes many shades of color and nuance. I used to see very clear and deeply marked lines between what is faith-based and what is secular. Music, organizations, books, philosophies, entertainment, movies, books and social gatherings. But life does not fall into such neat and precise little compartments in reality. The lines are blurred. (And yes, I wish that line did not bring a certain song to my head. See how far I've strayed?) 

Faith looks very different in my life today than it used to look. All believers are ministers, all are in the ministry, but a few years ago when I was paid to be in the ministry, faith looked different than it does today. 

How FAITH used to look in my life:
  • Stepping over a stream of sewage in a Philippines slum to pray for a lethargic baby in a filthy bed. Minutes later he stirred and laughed and sparkles came to his eyes. 
  • Holding a crying ministry student in my arms as my words tumble out and they bring calm and peace with them.
  • With eyes straight ahead, walking past border guards as I helped smuggle Bibles into a country where it is illegal to have them. 
  • Standing in front of my church as people are invited to come to us for prayer.
  • Praying for a sick woman in a neglected Fiji hospital as she tells me she has been there longer than anyone else. Going back 3 days later to find that she has been sent home well. 
  • Asking God for the right words to say to the young wife whose husband left her for another. 

How FAITH looks in my life today:
  • Deciding to move my Pandora station to music that will lift me up rather than pull me down.
  • Looking out the kitchen window as I wash dishes and telling God how much I love and trust Him.
  • Adding another chapter to my WIP.
  • Cold-calling a new business in town about writing for their website.
  • Praying for my neighbor, inside my house, alone, as I watch the police cruiser arrive once again. 
  • Doing 10 more sit-ups.
  • Nodding in agreement when my Tax-Man-Dad cheerfully states that my "freelance business" has grown this year. I have never even called it a "business" to myself yet!
  • Writing a shopping list.
  • Hitting "Send" on another job response letter.  
It looks different...not as dramatic, but it is still faith

And ALL of it is terrifying. I was scared to death in every example of the first list. Every single one was accompanied by a pounding heart and a mind that said it would never work. The second list is less scary, but each one is still an act of faith. 

Without fear, faith would be unnecessary. I do not miss the terror of my earlier faith steps. Smuggling was not on my bucket list and I never want to do it again. But my trust in God today is just as intense...just as vital...just as required. The temptation to stay in bed and ignore the world is very real. The fantasy of deleting this blog and all connection to anyone is a familiar one. Counting my words as silly and useless is an easy place to go in my head. BUT by faith I remind myself that God likes my writing...that He swirls around these words and resides in the hearts of all of you who are reading this. 

By faith, I believe that my life today is as important as the days when I was a card-carrying minister. Faith looks different today than it used to. Faith is also a different hue and color in your life. It will appear differently in the changing stages of your life. Faith has way more than 50 shades. 

Your path is marked by steps of faith...tiny steps and huge steps. Don't count one as more or less than the other. Faith is faith. Getting out of bed is as huge as speaking to an arena full of people. Faith is evidenced as you clean your home, care for your little ones and call the friend who's going through a tough time. Faith shows up in the words you are writing on your blog and the tweets you send out that make us look at our lives more clearly. 

What does faith look like? It looks like you. 

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11 comments:

  1. I like all your faith examples, from before and from today. My favorite is you daring to smuggle Bibles in to where they are banned. Those Bibles are probably treasured, well read, and still feeding someone's soul today.

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    1. Yes Terra, that thought is a sweet consolation for the very scary trip. I am a homebody even though I made many short term mission trips over the years.

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  2. Faith is a beautiful word and it has many meanings. It depends upon the people how they use this word.

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    1. True. I dislike seeing it diluted into a job description online but that happens.

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  3. Great post, Susie. Faith is the crux of it all. To me, it is being joyful in the step I am on, knowing God has great things in store. Lovely.

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    1. Thank you Julie. You have the right approach, being joyful is evidence of trust and rest...all ingredients of faith.

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  4. Interesting seeing your faith "then and now" comparisons and how it's evolved over time. Needless to say, mine has been in a state of flux lately. Does it make sense to say I have faith that my faith will emerge even stronger?

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    1. That totally makes sense and sounds a lot like the biblical request from the father that asked Jesus to help his unbelief.

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  5. My definition of faith is best summed up in the acrostic. Forsaking All In Trusting Him. Right now, I have several issues about which I am praying- health needs, a concern of a friend of mine for her neighborhood, my concern over something I saw right next door to us. I have to trust-Totally Rely Upon Savior's Timing. If I didn't, I'd go crazy.

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    1. I hope your health needs are answered dear lady. Trusting, resting and finding the joy are full-time jobs aren't they?

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  6. I love your faith steps...both then and now. And you are right about the fact that every facet of our lives takes faith...when we were younger it seemed like we took much larger leaps of faith than what it appears to be for us today. But it all takes faith...just the scenes have changed a bit. I totally understand this, having been there and done some similar things as you (although the Bible smuggling thing is really big...I didn't have that much courage, let alone faith!) It takes a lot of faith to push this "publish" button on our blog posts every time. Thankfully, God is there...helping us take every step, both big and small. So thankful for that assurance.

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