The strength and depth of a person’s faith are often revealed not on a good or average day but in the worst moments. While there is nothing wrong with being driven to act or make decisions based on notions of self-preservation, avoiding difficulties in life is not only impossible. It is also a limiting way to live. And when it comes to faith, nothing tests it more than dealing with life’s toughest challenges including the ones that put the strongest personal beliefs in question head-on.
It is easy to have unwavering faith in the love, compassion, and power of the God you believe in when you do not see the suffering and struggles of other people. The real test of faith comes when you experience the harshest conditions that will make you think about your beliefs. This is why doing charity or volunteer work in causes that deal with some of the world’s biggest problems can be a life-changing experience. It takes you beyond your comfort zone and provides you with invaluable insights into other people’s struggles in life.
Some of the things people do like volunteering in Thailand orphanage or with international humanitarian and aid organizations make some of the world’s biggest problems more personal. It builds connections to diverse culture and the people that may not have access to the privileges other people take for granted.
To test one’s faith is to seek and walk the harder path regardless of the myriad of personal challenges it may present. By choosing to see the uglier and harsher conditions that may escape a lot of people’s notice, beliefs can be put in question and the answers may just be what’s needed to further strengthen them.
Faith is not something I pull out of the proverbial hat only when convenient or needed. I have to constantly work on it. And that means taking care of my spiritual growth. Nurturing the soul is not easy when I am confronted with all the responsibilities I have to juggle at any given day. It often feels like there is never enough time for it when I have a lot on my plate I need to do or fix. But creating habits out of the things that have helped me
Start the day with a prayer
Prayer is a form of meditation for me. I find that doing this before I start my day leaves me feeling more positive about my day. It also focuses me on the important things in my life. This can be quite helpful on days when it seems harder to accomplish the things I set out to do. It also helps put my faith in the forefront of my mind before everything else unfolds.
Make a gratitude list
The bad days make me feel like I have nothing to be thankful for. And it is a depressing thought to have. I counter the negativity by building on this habit of listing down my blessings every single day. Right after or before I do my prayer, I write down on all the things I think I should be grateful for. Sometimes I am surprised with what I can come up with. If we just really take the time to do this every day, we might be a lot happier.
Read something inspirational
I read something that inspires me. It could be a passage from a bible or a chapter or two of a book I am currently reading. For me, the best time to do this is in the morning soon after I am done with my prayer and the gratitude list. I consider this as fuel or food for my soul. I prefer to start my day with something that uplifts me. It is like I am gearing up for whatever it is that lie ahead in my day.
Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking tends to stress me out. And the more stressful I get, the more tempting it gets to ignore the things I have built around my faith. Focusing on one thing makes me more efficient. It also leaves me clearheaded and spiritually calm.
Keeping true to my faith every single day is easier said than done. Merriam-Webster defines faith as 1) strong belief or trust in someone or something or 2) belief in the existence of God; strong religious feelings or beliefs. It would be a life if I say that I could do this without fail. There are days when it is tough to walk what I preach to myself. I think that it is during the most difficult days when we are sorely tested that faith comes out stronger. And often, it is the simple every day things that we do that strengthens it.
Trust in how things unfold. Faith begins with full acceptance of God’s will. It is following his teachings regardless of the uncertainty I feel. It is about trusting in the process. It is a deep sense of knowing that whatever ends the path will lead me, my belief in God’s goodness and mercy will take me there unscathed.
Connect with God. Prayer is powerful and transformative. Taking the time to connect with God is a form of meditation that offers relief from stress. It also anchors and balances me when I am feeling overwhelmed. Despite knowing this, I still tend to forget to give a few minutes of my time each day for prayer. I think putting a more conscious effort on saying a simple prayer at any time can be a therapeutic and helpful habit to have.
Follow His word. Living by faith is about staying true to God’s word. It is working on keeping my thoughts and actions in line. It is being mindful of my thoughts and how it influences my perceptions and interactions with the people around me. It is about paying attention to my behaviors that may contradict my beliefs.
Believe that something good will happen. For true faith to take root there should be an unshakeable belief that something good will eventually happen. This conviction will be sorely tested during the most difficult times. But trust in God to believe that struggles will pass and that something positive is bound to come out of any tough situation.
Be kind. Faith reflects on the little acts of kindness we do every day. It is walking the path God wants us to follow. There is something soothing about doing little acts of kindness to anyone without expecting anything in return. The more I can do this, the more I feel grounded and connected with my faith.
Be grateful. Counting my blessings can be an uplifting experience. It also helps me take stock of the things I have that I may have ignored. When life becomes tough, I list down all the things I am thankful for. It is then that I realize that I have more than I thought I had.