Sight Magazine – Sight-Seeing: Developing Stubborn Faith
- Nils von Kalm
I was recently speaking with my spiritual director, who guides me in my relationship with God by talking to me and listening to me so that I can become more Christian. He asked me what I like to do for a living, especially what makes me live and how people would describe me. He then asked me a very relevant question. He said, “If God was sitting in a chair as the third person in this conversation, what would His impression of me be as I speak? “. What my spiritual director was getting at was my view of God and the way I perceive how God sees me.
If you’re like me, you fight mercilessly, disaster and set yourself standards that you wouldn’t impose on your worst enemy. For most of us, our inner critic harasses us day and night, and we do nothing to resist it.
It fills a lot of us with shame, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
My spiritual director wanted me to see that God is not my inner critic. In fact, God is not even remotely like my inner critic.
“What if God really wanted us to live in joy, a enjoyment of life and joy in all the circumstances that we go through? What if Saint Paul was right when he said that he had in fact learned to be content regardless of the circumstances (Philippians 4:11)? Not that he was happy under terrible circumstances (after all, he wrote at least four of his letters from a Roman prison!), But he wasn’t going to let his circumstances dictate his attitude towards life. “
On the contrary, what if God was gentle with us? Not in the weak, passive sense, but in the safe, warm and loving sense? What if God was setting there listening to you and he felt like you were smiling and just impressed with you, delighted with you?
What if God really wanted us to live with joy, the enjoyment of life, and joy no matter what circumstances we go through? What if Saint Paul was right when he said that he had in fact learned to be happy no matter what (Philippians 4:11)? Not that he was happy with terrible circumstances (after all, he wrote at least four of his letters from a Roman prison!), But he wasn’t going to let his circumstances dictate his attitude towards life.
Victor Frankl, in his classic book, The search for meaning of man, speaks. He says the only thing no one can ever take away from you is your attitude. In the book, he says those in Nazi concentration camps who had something to hope for survived better than those who had less to hope. Hope is a huge driver. He supported people under the most horrific circumstances a human has probably ever known.
Our view of God determines our view of ourselves and of life in general. If we see God as warm, loving, and totally for us, we will learn to live with less fear. We can relax. We will learn to take more calculated risks in our lives. We will trust more and learn to surrender to God and to a Christian way of life.
Surrender was what motivated Bob Pierce when he founded World Vision in the 1950s. One of his prayers at the time was, “May my heart break for the things that break the heart of God.” “. He was referring to God’s broken heart in the face of immense poverty in the world, but Pierce’s prayer can apply to our personal lives as well.
One of the most dangerous and transformative prayers we can pray for is to ask God to break us, to bring us to a point of surrender, where we accept that the joy and life that God offers is so much more. liberating than what we have experienced.
It was only in the last two months that I started praying this prayer again, after many years. It is an almost desperate prayer, a prayer that we pray when we are fed up with being mediocre, when, at your age, we see more clearly that it is high time you made a change to realize your potential and that you are called to live more of who you really are.
For years, I was too afraid to pray this prayer when it occurred to me. Why was I afraid? It was because I didn’t trust God would be completely with me throughout the process, and I was quite comfortable in my current state at the time.
There’s a song we used to sing in the 80s and 90s that talks about it. The words are:
Spirit of the living God
Fall on me again
Make me melt
Fill me up
Spirit of the living God
Fall on me again
Are we brave enough to pray the words of this beautiful and subversive song? To be modeled in the image of Christ, to surrender, to have the attitude of “your will, not mine, be done”? If you’re not, pray that you will. God will answer your prayer over time. Continue to persist. Ask God to give you holy dissatisfaction with life. It’s not a morbid, depressive thing. It is an attitude that there is so much more than what we are currently experiencing and that God wants to take you there, to give you the abundant life that Jesus spoke of.
Another reason I was afraid to pray this prayer for years was because I was afraid of how I would feel after praying it; that I would again feel the pain and emptiness I experienced in the past when I prayed this prayer and became disillusioned with the faith.
You might have similar baggage. Keep praying; keep asking God to disrupt your life. Remember, Jesus caused a crisis everywhere he went. But also remember that everything that Jesus does, he does it because he believes in us and wants to lead us to a richer and more joyful experience of life. He does not point a gun at you; It actually gives you a life beyond your wildest dreams. Of course, it will be difficult at times, but the payoff will be well worth it. It will be the life, the life that you have been looking for all these years, maybe without even realizing it.
Living the life of a follower of Jesus can be confusing. That’s why it starts with faith. It begins with the stubborn belief that God is good no matter what our circumstances, no matter what we are going through.
The gradual development of this stubborn faith will eventually eliminate our fears and give us the strength to continue despite what we feel, even if we do not feel the presence of God with us.
Trust God in you. God will always be with you and you will begin to transform yourself more and more into the image of Christ. This is what it means to be on the path to personal transformation.