For years, I’ve dealt with challenging life-situations by repeating to myself, “This is just a test of faith.” As if I could study hard enough to pass the test, and thereby resolve the issue. Lately, the tests of faith have been piling up— one on top of the other. And it has become difficult, if not impossible, to will myself through a challenging situation by holding a strong-enough belief. So, what do I need to learn about faith?
Faith is Not a Mental Exercise
For me, faith is a belief in something that can’t be seen or proven. Faith is stronger than a strong belief, because having faith means believing against all odds—in other words, faith implies not just believing in something that can’t be proven, but believing in something that may seem like it’s already been proven otherwise. Having faith is an internal knowingness.
In her book, Hands of Light, Barbara Brennan suggests that developing one’s faith involves letting go of one’s own individual will by aligning it with that of the Divine and responding with love in any situation. By doing so, Brennan says, “…you will develop faith—faith in yourself, faith in spiritual law, faith in the unity of the universe, faith that whatever happens in your life could be a stepping stone to greater understanding, love and growth…” (p. 277). In other words, faith is not a mental exercise, because responding with love requires action from the heart, not the head.
I’ve spent a lifetime living “in my head.” I love being a student, and as a medical professional, I’m constantly seeking knowledge, proofs, and plausible explanations. Believing that knowledge is power is not necessarily a bad thing, but right now, that belief is NOT allowing my faith to flourish.
My most salient crisis of faith at the moment involves developing a vision for how to offer my gifts to the world. I’ve been trying to figure this out for quite some time now (how mental of me!), and my thoughts keep circling back to a particular stuck-phrase, “I don’t know what it looks like.”
In applying Brennan’s wisdom, I see that developing faith in my ability to offer something of value to others means I need to start take action from my heart, rather than my head. So, how can I reprogram myself to let my heart take charge? Well, there I go again, getting stuck in the mental aspect of things!
Apply the Heart’s Wisdom
Once the mind is clear, the heart’s wisdom is simple: Release your thoughts. Center your consciousness. Allow your creativity. Act as if…
Passing a test of faith involves embracing what is, and growing in a way that breaks old mental patterns. While the heart’s wisdom may be simple, acting on it isn’t always easy— that’s why keeping the faith takes practice. According to Brennan, when positive results are not forthcoming in your life, it is a sign that greater heart-growth is needed. She states, “The reward for living in truth becomes the pleasure of life in each moment…. Being in the here and now means accepting the slow process of human evolution [and] accepting your immediate limitations as perfection.” (p. 277)
I have faith that I have something valuable to offer the world, and it’s OK not to know what that offering is in this moment. Not only is it OK, but having faith requires that I don’t know what the outcome is right now. Otherwise, this would be a test of determination and perseverance instead of a test of faith.
Tests of faith cannot be passed through efforts of the head—only through allowances of the heart. By letting go of “trying to figure out my vision for the future” and letting my heart drive my actions, I can enjoy each moment along the way.
What tests of faith are you experiencing now, and how are you dealing with them?