Do you have faith or just a complex way of lying to yourself?
I saw a Facebook post the other day. It said
“Pray for what you want.
If you get it, know that the Universe / God loves you.
If you don’t, know that the Universe / God is saving you for something better.
This is faith.”
This isn’t faith. This is confirmation bias.
This is interpreting whatever evidence is available to hand in a preconceived way, to buttress your existing attitudes and beliefs.
And in this case, buttressing the belief that the universe or God’s primary concern is giving you what you want.
So people might say to me, so are you saying that you don’t have ‘faith’ then Dymphna?
That’s not what I’m saying. But for me, faith isn’t a tool you apply to your own selfish concerns.
Faith is best used as a framework for understanding the entire picture – regardless of whether you’re a part of that picture or not.
If you step back and look at the whole human story, it does look like a bit of sh#t-show. It looks like a meaningless parade of horror and injustice and nastiness and perfectly abled people parking in the disabled car parks at Woolies.
It does not exist as an invitation to bring the most sensitive and most open-hearted of our souls to the story. It’s an invitation to close down, lock up, hide-away, binge watch Black Mirror on Netflix.
It’s in facing the fullness of this picture that we need faith. That we need to find a way to believe that it’s all ok. Whatever is going on, it’s happening for a reason. There is some kind of plan or some kind of agenda at work, and the author of that plan is ultimately good and loving.
It can feel like fairy-tale lie we tell ourselves when we watch the news, but this is what is needed. This is faith.
This faith does then become a tool to help us deal with setbacks in life, but it’s not so narrowly and selfishly focused. If you keep telling yourself that the universe has greater plans for you, it can ultimately lead to disappointment. One day you’re going to wake up and go, “Hang on. Where are the jetpacks I was promised?”
But if we have a faith in the greater order of things, this creates a way for us to greet the injustices of the world, even in our own lives, with equanimity.
And how do we attain this faith, given what I’ve just described could also be interpreted as willful self-deception?
This one lies deep, I reckon. I think you need to find a way to drop deep within yourself and feel into your experience here.
When we slow down and do that, I think we are able to get a taste of the love that weaves the whole show together.
And even just the smallest, shortest taste of this love can be enough to build a lifetime’s of faith upon.
It has been for me.