how to believe in God

there have been various times in my life where I’ve doubted God. I doubted the existence of God, but more often, I doubted that he saw me or cared or that he would intervene in my life and actually ACT.  I doubted there was any connection between us. Yes, he may exist, but it didn’t affect me.

when things did happen, where I did have thoughts that perhaps “that was God,” I would (and yes, still do) look for ways the event in my life could be explained by anything other than God.  coincidence. hallucination. inaccurate memories. luck. or – my favorite – I give credit to my own self and my own brain. I experience “blessings,” and I want to tell myself, “I earned that. I deserve it.”

And I feel, for a variable amount of time, that I do deserve it. Until something else in my life occurs, and I realize how much I come up short. That consistent visitation of fragility, incompetence, imperfection, ugliness of character — those things I don’t want anyone to know about me. But I know them, and I’m reminded of them often.

So, I get to believe I am indestructible for a short time — but always the truth resurfaces. I am less than.  God is merciful. I am a collection of broken pieces that somehow occasionally work together in harmony by God’s grace.

enough of these instances occur, and I feel a faith emerging. my subconscious is aware of a Divine Presence. I’m driving fast down a steep windy road in the dark, thick snow falling, and my car slides out of control for several seconds, my hands are turning the wheel the opposite direction and I can feel that it doesn’t matter, there is no traction, I’m sliding, sliding, towards the ledge, sliding, my heart is gasping for divine intervention, I feel suspended in space, helpless, time is racing and yet stopped. for this tiny moment, my entire being is 100% convinced of God, I am offering myself to him helplessly, beggingly, I fall into instant submission. and faith.

I am never more alive than in moments like this. I experience the frailty of life.

the moment passes. the wheels finally engage. I swerve back just in time. I scold myself for driving too fast. I swear to myself I will never do such a thing again, I will take measures to prevent this. I will control this. I’m not sure what was more frightening. the closeness of losing my life, or my automatic submission to God.

this involuntary, immediate, and undivided submission to God.  a total mind, body, heart surrender.  that’s what I experienced.

every knee will bow and every tongue will give praise to God. It’s interesting that verse is written in both the new and old testament. romans 14:11 & isaiah 45:23.  I believe what I experienced on the road that night was a glimpse of this. my knee will bow whether or not I believe right now or not.

but what if, I still have doubts now. what if I want to believe, but I can’t bring myself to that complete submission?  that’s what I’m trying to figure out now, still.  how does one attain faith? is faith a blessing in itself? does God distribute it, or do we have to muster it?

I don’t know. the mustering approach hasn’t worked for me in the past. if God distributes it, I believe we can ask for it, and he will give it to us. I must want to want to have faith. ask God for the desire to have faith and then pray that God will give it.

I will include this to, as it’s the only verse I know on the subject of attaining faith:

“so then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” romans 10:17

 

positive fasting

I’ve been wanting to get some prayers answered in my life and in a couple friends’ lives lately.

I’ve been thinking about the idea of positive fasting. Positive, meaning adding something specific to your routine, rather than taking something away. Maybe that’s not considered fasting? We’ll have to ask God, of course, but I’m thinking he’s cool with it.

In regular fasting, we generally take something out which we will almost always put back into our lives as soon as the fast is over. For example, not eating meat or sweets, giving up your pillow, not wearing makeup.

Positive fasting, on the other hand, has a good potential for forming healthy habits. Here are some ideas:

-say 10 encouraging words every day

-exercise

-eat X number of vegetables everyday

-worship for 20 minutes a day (this could be through singing, art, prayer, journaling, whatever)

-say nice things about people who bug you (when they are not around – for extra points!)

-do 1 extra labor of love than you normally would

-send 5 honoring and loving text messages

-clean something you hate cleaning

-stay late (at work, class, or with family). spend extra time with people, which you normally don’t.

Any more ideas? And, which one should I do? :)