Choosing Faith Over Fear: Embracing Our Current Circumstances Rather than Questioning Them
I have heard it said many times that it is easy to have faith when things are going well, but much more difficult to call upon when life brings us to our knees. We have all been there, gotten that dreaded phone call, been crippled by loss, been betrayed by someone we loved; the list goes on and on. In these circumstances, faith is much more difficult to lean on.
First, let me start by explaining what I mean by faith. I don’t use the word faith here to mean only in the religious sense, although that could certainly be applied. But when I say faith, I mean a surrender, a confidence and belief that despite what’s happening around us, that we are exactly where we need to be. When we find ourselves in times of struggle, it is so easy to retreat to fear; and to begin blaming ourselves or others, or to begin asking questions like “Why?” or “What if?” What I have learned in my work with clients, and more candidly, in my own life experiences, is that questions like these keep us connected to fear and never lead us to growth. Fear keeps us stuck in a cycle that is pretty difficult to break free from. I’ve learned that calling upon faith, even in the most trying times, has allowed me to shift my awareness to something greater. I will share more about this below.
The credentials behind my name don’t prevent me from experiencing the wide gamut of human emotion, in fact, I think I experiencing them more often and at a significant level. (Tough work being an empath :))
I am learning over time how to embrace the wide range of emotions I experience daily, rather than to trying to disconnect from them. Recently, I found myself in a very fearful place, a place of shame and anxiety, where I was bombarded with thoughts that oriented me to fear. Fear of failure, fear of scrutiny, fear of not being enough. All this did was perpetuate more shame, more anxiety and more hurt. I realized almost immediately that I had a choice.
I had a choice to continue to question my circumstance or I had the choice to be faithful.
It was really that simple.
At first, I needed the time to be hurt, to be upset and to connect with fear. However, after a few days I knew that I needed to approach the whole thing differently. When I made that choice, and chose to connect to faith, I was liberated. Almost instantly, I was able to experience a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude for what this circumstance brought forth, gratitude for the wisdom I had obtained, gratitude for the lessons it brought into focus.
A small shift in perspective can help us to step out of the vicious cycle we all find ourselves in sometimes. Next time you find yourself in times of struggle, remember that you always have the choice to choose faith over fear. Here are 5 pointers on how you can do just that:
Invite the emotion in: Simply acknowledging that we are experiencing uncomfortable emotions can be very freeing. Sometimes without realizing, we automatically attempt to disconnect from the uncomfortable feeling, and we only end up connecting to it more. I always speak with my clients about inviting their emotions in, and listening to what they are trying to tell you. This is a great way to begin to respond to our emotions differently.
Start each day with an act that orients you to faith: I have found that the beginning of the day sets the tone for the rest of the day. It is essential, especially in times of pain and sadness to begin your day with an act that orients you to faith. This can be done through meditation, prayer, journaling, exercise, just to name a few. Starting your day this way, even for just five minutes, helps you to refocus on what is important and helps you connect with the notion that you are exactly where you need to be.
Recognize the emotion/experience as necessary: It is absolutely transformative when we can look at a painful experience as necessary. However, you also need the time to be angry, sad, outraged, terrified… whatever the emotion is. But, we cannot stay there permanently. When you are ready, perhaps with the help of a therapist, you can begin to look at yourself and the situation you are in from a different vantage point. One way of doing this is viewing what has happened as necessary. When we are able to make this shift, we are able to experience our emotions in a different way and we are able to move from a painful experience to one that promoted growth.
Turn to someone faith-affirming: Having someone to turn to in times of struggle is essential. This can be a therapist, friend, clergy, family member, partner; anyone who reminds you that it’s okay to be where you are, and that you are not alone. If there is nobody that readily comes to mind, that’s okay. There are resources everywhere. This may be a great time to start therapy ☺.
Find your mantra: It may seem like a small thing, but having a mantra that speaks to your soul is vital! Repeating them multiple times daily has many benefits such as helping to lower anxiety. A mantra can be a quote that speaks to you, or you can create your own faith affirming saying. Just as an example, this is the mantra I have been repeating to myself lately: “I trust in the universe and know that all is divine order”. Repeating this to myself at the beginning of the day, and throughout my day, keeps me grounded, helps me to stay focused and reminds me that I am exactly where I need to be.
Nobody looks forward to going through tough times, and I want you to know that you are not alone. With experience, I am more convinced that the old adage is true, “That the only way out is through”. It takes courage to live this way, and to face our deepest emotions in times of adversity.
However, I have seen countless of my client’s lives transformed when they are able to embrace their circumstances this way. I hope you found this blog helpful, and if you are ready to have these courageous conversations please don’t hesitate to call me at 954-391-5305 ext 6, I’d be honored to be on that journey with you. I provide individual counseling, couples counseling and family therapy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more info about my services, click here.