Can I be honest about something?
Faith is hard.
It is thrilling and difficult and powerful and completely terrifying. To trust in the unseen seems like the most exhausting task on days when the fog of the unknown is surrounding you. This faith is the stuff of full surrender, of open hands, of a commitment to abandoning our way even though the new way is not yet clear. It is sticking our flag of belief in unstable ground and believing God for stability. It is trusting in the still, small voice from Heaven that whispers, “dive deep, child” even on days when we plead along with the prophet Isaiah for God to strengthen the feeble hands and steady the knees that give way.
But please, friend, hear me. This faith – it is worth it. Every time.
Here is some back story:
After endless conversations consisting of confident head nods paired with anxiety-drenched tears, in July 2013 the worship band I am in moved our home base from Orlando to Atlanta. We had many reasons but the most vulnerable response we had was, “We just feel like it is the next step.”
Plain. Simple. We knew it was being asked of us and we had to respond.
Dive deep or run away. You can’t do both.
It was humbling and nerve wracking to leave the comforts of community, of consistent income, of knowing our surroundings. But we did it. We dove into this not yet known “next” with our arms linked, hearts tied and in utter dependence on God.
This whole moving thing may not be a big deal to some but this adventure has sifted me to the core of who I am. It has been full of joy, pain, inspiration, often confusion. Quite honestly, I feel crazy every other day. It is terrifying to wake up and realize the only option you have is to rely on God for the “next”. But it is also one of the greatest gifts, you know- realizing that in your human power, you literally cannot make it through the day. Realizing we cannot do this life thing on our own.
Reliance is a gift.
This move to Atlanta and all it brought with it has changed my perspective. I don’t know a lot but I do know that while faith may be simple, it is anything but easy. It is gritty, this faith. The book of Hebrews says faith is the stuff of heroes.
More times than I would like to admit, I have failed. Miserably. Ask my band-mates. I have spent many days crawling after my own vices, depending on my own strength, relying on my harsh tone and stomping off after not getting what I want in the moment.
It’s silly and beautiful to think how gracious they have been towards me, how loving, how accepting – always opening their arms again to come back to the faith place.
I have learned some things, though. I want you to know them, too:
Faith is a fight.
Watch the cynics come out of hiding when they see someone diving into the unknown. These critics combat the adventure of faith through destructive means- often through weapons of fear, shame, condemnation, distraction. These weapons are incessant bullies- always trying to position themselves in the parts of the heart that the Spirit has marked as His own. However, with the Cross as our filter, we must remind ourselves that though we are in a broken world, we fight on the forever-winning team. We are fighting alongside legions of angels that forever cry “holy, holy, holy”. We are fighting while Jesus is praying for us even in this moment. We must remind ourselves that God’s grace is made absolutely perfect in our weakness. I have learned that faith will always win in the fight against fear. I promise – the fight is worth it.
Faith is a flame.
It catches. It encourages. It inspires. Take the Samaritan woman that Jesus meets at the well. The first thing she did after encountering the Messiah and putting her faith in Him was run and tell her story to anyone who would listen. The result? “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” (John 4:39) It is through these stories, your story– that people can see the character of God in fresh ways. It may start small but before you realize it, the steadfast flame of faith can create a bonfire of trust in your community. I promise- the flame is worth it.
Faith is a freedom.
It is incredibly freeing to release our dreams into the hands of God. When we put our faith in Jesus and truly trust Him to bring whatever outcome He wants, we become free to stop wasting our time on worrying about what will happen next. There is space here, space to focus on being co-heirs with Christ which is the ultimate job description in the Kingdom. Our responsibility is not to be God- but rather let God be God and trust that we are sent as His messengers of the undeniable Good News. When we set free our dreams, we also are free from the lousy god of “success”, of having to prove ourselves. And once that freedom takes root in our heart, we are able to run- bold and unashamed into the future of all He has for us. I promise you- releasing your dreams into the hands of the One who made them- it is worth it.
So may faith may be your most sincere form of worship on days when the fog is all you see. Though it might feel broken and frail, faith that is marked from a pure heart is more precious to Him than a hundred heartless rituals.
Dive deep, friend.
Faith is worth more than we know.
These trials have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. – 1 peter 1:7