Okay, I don’t get very personal online. I’m a pretty private person, and I use my website, twitter and Facebook posts for marketing my books— to update releases, tours, and giveaways. But tonight I wanted to get a little personal because sometimes you have moments in your life where you strike a new path and it forces you to stop and look around and consider where you came from, where you are, and most importantly, where you’re headed. I’m at one of those still points right now and it’s making me reflect.
If I graphed my life over the past ten years, all of the traveling I’ve done, the relationships I’ve made and ended, the jobs I’ve tried and failed, the places I’ve loved and left, there would be many peaks. But there would also be many valleys. Many gains and many losses. Many joys and many struggles. But a strange thing occurred to me today. If I went back and marked my faith during the past ten years on the same graph, it would coincide with all of those peaks and valleys. During those peaks where I felt strong, self assured, happy and content I also had a strong faith. I prayed every day, I went to church, I had spiritual conversations with family and friends. When I receded from my faith, that’s when the valleys happened. I would get distracted with work, kids, relationships, selfish goals, and I would stop going to church, I would stop praying, I would stop opening myself up to spiritual conversations. And even worse, I would begin to doubt my beliefs. During those valleys I felt lost. Helpless. Isolated. Small. Alone. Weak. Confused. Man, it was not fun.
Looking back at that chart, it reminds me that faith is real. It has a huge impact on our lives. It isn’t just a fancy sentence stated in bold print in a religion pamphlet that someone hands to you. It isn’t written in a church or lectured to us from a podium. The graph I described is not a coincidence. It’s real. So, if any of you are lost or stuck in a valley, in a rut that you can’t pull yourself out of, where you’re scared and isolated and alone, then maybe you need some inspiration. That’s what faith is to me—it’s good news. Its words to live by. It changes your focus.
For example, let’s say you’re walking down the street on a gorgeous sunny day, under a blue sky. But there’s a tiny rock in your shoe and it’s bugging you. You continue a few more steps, but you can’t stop thinking about the rock. Its annoying. You concentrate on it. You fixate on only what is bothering you and you forget to notice the glorious day around you. You forget to notice the leaves on the trees. You forget to feel the warm breeze. That is like faith to me. It’s reminding me what to focus on and what to let go. And eventually, that rock will shift, or, you’ll just stop focusing on it all together. You’ll be too busy noticing all the good stuff.