As I mentioned in the first post on this subject (Belief by Trust; Just The Beginning) belief by trust is nothing more or less than having faith in something or someone. But faith evolves into knowledge which comes by experience. If you see a cat carrying a bat being carried away by an owl, you are not the one who has to show faith in this story. You are going to be telling it (I hope!) and those you tell who haven't seen it will be trusting you to be telling the truth. Of the people who know you it will take less faith for them to believe you assuming you have already proven to be a trustworthy person. Of the strangers you tell, they will doubt until they talk to those who swear by your trustworthiness. They'll prove you tell the truth by giving examples of other times bizarre things may have happened that involved other witnesses and so on and so forth.
Taking this into consideration, why do we continually lose faith in our own experiences and trade them for what other people are telling us we must have seen/experienced?
I was raised in a Christian home. Both of my parents are still Christians. I grew up in a church and although I took a leave of absence during some turbulent teenage years I returned, married a Christian, raised my son (named Christian by the way) as a Christian, went behind the scenes of the church as a pastor's wife, Sunday School teacher and my husband and I were the praise and worship team that led singing and prayer. It doesn't get MORE Christian than that. It's who I was taught to be to help me through life. Because it was taught to me, it's what I look to when I need to find answers. And I do find answers that help me through life in Christianity. I clung to Christ through my parent's divorce and my subsequent depression. I cried on His shoulder the second I realized I had miscarried the baby we'd hoped for. I turned to Him for answers to questions I couldn't face on my own. I've leaned on the comfort and guidance that I was taught was there, and it was there. I believe God is in my life through Christianity. But I've learned more than what I was taught and it would be denying the truth to ignore these lessons, too.
I've learned that people who were not raised in a Christian home often have faith in a force beyond themselves that they do not attribute to Christ, and they too are comforted. This is against what I was taught within the church.
I've learned that people who engage in lifestyles different from my own are often happy, healthy, loving, valuable members of society. This is against what I was taught the Bible said.
I've seen with my own eyes people of other faiths, love. I know people who show selfless compassion and they worship forces that I was taught were wicked and only a deception from the devil.
And worst of all, I know of Christians who have seen what I have seen and they refuse to acknowledge these realities. This is not faith. It's superstition, cowardice and above all it's ignoring what God is trying to teach you through the examples of people who have chosen to love, give and consider others through compassionate action and risk of self.
I love my god. I know my god a little more each time I lean upon it but my god doesn't seem to fit in the category of Christianity anymore. How many Christians, if they would accept growth beyond what they have merely been taught and integrate what they have seen, would know the god I've found?
In working to create this year's first post for my challenge blog I kept stumbling over the ideas of resolutions, new beginnings and blessing counting. Nice thoughts but I hate being cliche. And of course my writer's block could fairly be attributed to the distraction of having had to crawl on bloodied knees into 2013. Last year beat me with pipes and stood laughing at my repeated attempts to gain control until '13 annihilated the villainous '12, super-hero style. (At least that's how I like looking at it.)
And because no challenge I create is ever really just for me and practicality forces me to address that January 1st is merely a date and not a magical slate cleaning cure-all, and 2012 has created devastation and loss in the wake of natural disasters, massacres and deep financial ruin for perhaps a record number of humans it's clear that I'm not the only one in need of a reason to WANT to face a tomorrow that perhaps looks as grim as yesterday has been. So I offer this. (I made that order pretty tall, didn't I?)
The '2013, I Survived 2012 So It's Time To Rock My World' Challenge
And here's what we're going to do:
Take an empty calendar and use it to record friends' feats of hilarity, your personal goals that got their asses kicked, moments of wonderment, flashes of insight, and future plans of hijinks and mischief.
For example, when the thaw hits (I'll plan for March 1st) I plan on beginning my quest of burying 100 'heads of some kind' in an unsuspecting friend's new backyard. See? Something to look forward to!
Post your calendar where you usually keep the calendar that lists appointments, bill deadlines and other responsible adult events. (Post this one, too , just put it somewhere a little less intrusive to daily light-heartedness. The office, for example, not the kitchen.)
Now I'm not generally a 'What are you going to do for me?' kind of girl but I'm asking it of 2013! Nature, the cosmos, an evil almighty space bear or whatever you want to attribute to the uncontrollable forces that sometimes leave us wounded and defenseless have made some serious points in the past year.
Optimism doesn't always win out.
Suffering is often unjust.
Tomorrow continues to arrive despite the pain of today. (Okay, that last one can also be seen as a good thing but when you barely made it through yesterday and today was just as bad, tomorrow isn't always a bright prospect).
I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't like trying to fool people into thinking we're in control of the circumstances around us when it's clear that often we are not. But no matter who you are life offers you moments of joy in the midst of concerning times and painful hours. Don't allow these moments to go unnoticed! Cover this calendar every month with photos, memos, inspirational quotes, new curse words founded in a moment of panic and more!!! Not only will this 'highlighting of positivity' (okay, it's a revamped count-your-blessings) make you smile when you didn't think you had it in you, it will do the same to everyone who catches a glimpse. Especially if you've posted the pic of them with the boss' daughter. Hilarious!
Visit www.inspiringchallenges.blogspot.com for the official challenge post. Share your ideas there on how you personalized this idea, post your favorite 2013 moments so far or let us know how many appointments you've missed already due to my advice of moving your calendar!