Gotta Have Faith

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~Hebrews 11:1

When I was 10 I remember wondering what faith was, other than this nebulous thing no one could really quite explain when I asked about it. Either that or I got…

“Faith just is.” or “You either got it or you don’t.”

And I wasn’t sure if I had it, which is why I asked in the first place. I wasn’t stupid. I understood a lot about how the world worked. The problem was that the world doesn’t value faith. It values the solid, the concrete, what can be seen with our eyes.

I simply had no precedent for believing in the unseen.

And don’t tell my mom I was on the fence about god then too. Which is, of course, where it all came from in the first place. Belief in god presupposed you had faith, that even if you couldn’t see the divine being, he was indeed still up there sitting high and judging low. Dispensing judgement or grace, or some haunting combination of the two.

But that was so far removed from what I knew in my everyday life. That was so fanciful it seemed far-fetched. It seemed like the absolute antithesis of everything I saw and learned of in school. It seemed like some dream everyone was dreaming, and I was expected to close my eyes and plug into it as well. Except when I closed my eyes all I saw was this invading darkness.

I was baptized on my 10th birthday, which, in retrospect, never should have happened, or at least should have been put on pause, because of all the doubt swirling madly through my mind back then. But everyone was counting on me to do this thing, to give my heart and soul to a being I wasn’t even sure existed, at least not in whatever incarnation the church believed to be the true essence of god. So I sat there afterward, hair still wet from the pool, with everyone saying how I was now “saved,” when I had never felt so lost.

Some days I still feel lost when it comes to having faith, or at least the kind of faith religion expects of someone. I am far from religious. I haven’t been in a while, but I still care what people think of me and my status. Of course I care more what I actually feel deep inside. Someone asked me the other day if I believe in god, and I said I think there is a higher being, but that I can’t even begin to define that higher being. I can’t even start to make sense of this faith thing, even now.

Alexa told me the other day that she doesn’t believe in god, and I was shocked. Then I thought about it, and I realized I can’t say definitively either way what I believe. I had faith that my faith would be revealed in time, but time has passed and I don’t feel any closer to recognizing what it is. Don’t get me wrong. I meditate. I pray. I do all manner of spiritual searching, but I feel like I get nothing in return. Which is fine, until it isn’t, because doesn’t everybody need to believe?

And I’m still hoping for what Casting Crowns called that “deep water faith in the shallow end.” Let’s just hope I can swim.

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