So, the question is faith. I read a post on claywrites.com last week that started with “faith is a weird thing.” I commented that I have full confidence in God, but where my faith fails is with myself and how I participate in that relationship. But I came to question the validity of that statement on Saturday morning.
What happened is I made a mistake. I made a mistake, and it effected me and my boss and her boss. It effected the store, the customers and the staff. My small mistake, one miscommunication, became such a burden and resulted in so much upset. I was on the phone two and a half hours, texting and calling pharmacists, asking for their help. At intervals during that time I thought about God, but I never once asked him for help. I thought, “I can’t keep asking him to bail me out, I can’t be this burden on him again.” Again. But in not making the most important call for help, what was I really saying?
Was it a test of faith?
It’s interesting, because last week, I had no problem sharing my burden with God. It’s my job to find coverage for pharmacist’s vacations and emergencies and whatnot, and I had ten shifts to fill. That’s a lot, and I was worried about it. But I was also looking at it and saying, “You know, God always helps me, and my job is to do as much as I can, work as hard as I can, and leave the rest to him.” To have faith. And so, instead of being filled with anxiety and doubt, and doing it all on my own, I asked him for help. I think it’s important to note that even when I ask for his help, I still feel that panic, that “it can’t be done!” But I made a conscious effort to let go of that this time.
The thing about faith is it requires confidence. If I’m filled with anxiety, then what am I communicating? It’s like saying, “I don’t trust you.” I think I do, I think that’s in my heart, but maybe I’m not living that way. I so often don’t look past the moment. I know that whatever the outcome, it will be designed for my good in the long term, but I don’t act on that knowledge. I act out of a place of fear. “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) I truly, truly in my heart have full faith in God. But my actions show that I’m not living as though I believe, on a day-to-day, moment by moment basis.
I never really associated that with my faith before, because I saw my faith in a big way: FAITH.
At the end of those two and a half hours, I had to go to work. I had to get in the shower; I needed to go to work and do my other job. “God I hate to do this to you because I feel it’s trifling and beneath your notice, but I need help; can you please help me? If you say no, that’s okay, too. I’m not asking for me, but for my boss, because this makes her look bad. And for the lead pharmacist, because it’ll reflect poorly on her if her store has to close and she refused to go in. And also for your glory, even though I don’t know who would know about it except for me.” I finally asked for help.
And then I started thinking about faith: what does it mean that I didn’t ask sooner? I don’t know why I would ask him for help on Friday, but not on Saturday. When I finally reached out, I was at the end of my hope.
As the water poured over me, I thought about faith, and I wondered what it says about me and our relationship. Is that what some of the others who commented on that post were talking about? Not the big FAITH, in capital letters, but the living your life and giving fully of yourself into that relationship kind of faith. I thought about not wanting to “burden” him, even though he constantly tells me how important I am to him. If I don’t trust in that, lean on that, and rely on that, is that a lack of faith? I don’t know.
Anyway, I got out of the shower to find a text from my boss: “I covered it.” 12:09. God had answered my prayer even as I was speaking it.
A few minutes later, a second text came in from the pharmacist who opened the store for us: “He’s here, I’m going.” The man I’d crossed wires with had come in to finish the shift. He drove an hour and a half to get there, and so the solution had been on its way long before I saw it coming. God was answering my prayer even before it was spoken. When I called to apologize and say thank you, the pharmacist said, “if it was anybody but you, Michelle, I wouldn’t have come.” He said he had a lot to do that day, but I needed him, so he came. “Because you’re so good to me, I wanted to help you.”
Is that what faith looks like? A pouring out of self on both sides? And, perhaps, a taking in of what we need when it’s offered to us?
In response to my comment on his post, Clay said, “Faith is one of those mysteries that doesn’t fit into human understanding, so it often frustrates us.” It’s interesting that maybe I’m struggling with things I don’t even know yet, that I don’t even realize. Have I been holding out on my faith? I have the big FAITH, that God can do all things. But have I lacked faith in his words, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Romans 8:28) Or have I simply lacked the faith that he meant those words even for me?
Maybe my mistake was a lesson in faith.
Items of Interest:
Did God Give You Sucky Faith? by Clay Morgan
Livin’ On A Prayer by Larry the Deuce
Wow Michelle what an awesome article, it was spoken with your heart and seeped thru your key strokes.
Do you mind if I share this? I think everyone could learn from this
Thanks, Vicki. I am not really confident to share this kind of post, so I appreciate you telling me that. And you know you can share anything of mine! Except my ice cream 🙂
I really enjoyed reading that post. It raised a lot of questions in my head about what I should be doing when trouble arises, and it was so inspirational. I can really use the lesson you learnt in my life too. God bless!!!
x x x
Hi little lady! That’s one of the great things, is passing it on. That happens so much, that I read a post that really gets me thinking, but any lesson I might take from it doesn’t usually manifest itself in my life so quickly. I had nothing planned for today, and figured that something would happen that I could write about. Little did I know! I’m glad you feel you can take something from here. We’ll just keep passing these things along, shall we? God bless right back at ya!!
You are such a good person, Michelle. With or without God’s help, that pharmacist came in because of the person you are, because you go out of your way to help others. Your incredibly big heart shines through every word of this post. I’m so glad to be your friend.
You know, I thought about you when I was writing this. And I almost left that part out, because it seems so self-serving. But I just feel like it has it’s place in what I was going through that day. But I thought of you specifically when I left it in, and I knew you would say something so kind to me – because you always do. I knew that you would turn that bit of it back on me, in the nicest way. I feel two ways about that: it makes me feel wonderful that you like me, but also that I don’t want to seem to be asking for praise. I’m so glad to be your friend, too, Angela!! I think we must have been sisters in another life – souls separated at birth or something 🙂
I loved this post, Michelle. I loved the path your thoughts took, and the conclusion you came to about faith being the outpouring from both sides. Beautiful. And I agree, your big hear shines through!
🙂 I knew you meant heart! You have a big heart, too! I made some good choices in who I hang out with around here, didn’t I? Or maybe it was mutual choosing 🙂
It really surprised me that he showed up. I do think that we have to have faith in one another, as well as the higher power in our lives. Sometimes that can mean all the difference for us!
Heart! I meant heart! something wrong with my typing today….
That was thought-provoking.
It is difficult for me to say much because my views on God are kind of ambiguous. I’m not sure if I’m an atheist or an agnostic.
I don’t think your actions were a lack of faith though. Let me use the analogy of a mathematical proof. I know that I can prove a statement using an approach that was taught in class. I know that it works, that it will work, that I can count on it.
(Can I say I have faith in that approach? See, that is where is gets fuzzy.)
But perhaps, I just want to try my own way.
Does that mean I’m questioning the validity of the approach? Not really.
I don’t know if that a good enough analogy, because it entirely excluded the word ‘faith’, and I don’t know if you can think the same way about God. 😛
I think I see what you mean, in that you trust the approach just as much as you always did – have faith in it, for our purposes here – but you still want to see if something else works, too. I can see the logic there. But then, you’re also right that the way we understand a lot of the world doesn’t always apply to our understanding of God. I guess that goes back to faith again, in that there is so, so much that we don’t or can’t understand, but that we believe and act on anyway; we act on faith.
Truth be told, I do just what your analogy (if I got it right) was showing – I know he has the best way for me, and yet I go around doing my own thing anyway, just testing out what might “work better for me”. Haha – that doesn’t usually turn out so good. It’s like when your parents teach you stuff and you rebel, then later in life you realize that they pretty much knew exactly what they were talking about! And at some point, you find their words falling out of your mouth as you try to knock some sense into the heads of the next generation. I guess we all need to find things out the hard way – or in other words, find out for ourselves.
I am still thinking on this one and wondering where my faith falls in all this. I don’t know if I can figure it out, so I am mostly trying to concentrate on moving forward. Ok, so I was wobbly there for a minute, and I feel like I got a lesson out of it. Instead of focusing on the wobble, I need to focus on the lesson. Last week at my desk job, I just worked on keeping the faith – being calm and trusting that everything will turn out okay. At the very least, it was a much less stressful two days for me. At it’s best, it was me exercising my faith muscle (as someone described it on Clay’s original post).
I’m glad you commented, and I’m thinking that if you have ambiguous views, then that sounds agnostic (I think? like not decided or not sure?). But like I always tell you, it’s helpful for me to see another view!
Hah, long comment. I’m sleepy, so I shall reply to one sentence near the end.
“I’m thinking that if you have ambiguous views, then that sounds agnostic (I think? like not decided or not sure?)”
Sometimes I think there’s no god, that’s when I’m an atheist. But sometimes I think there Might be some power, and that’s when I’m agnostic. I’m always undecided about absolutely no existence, or Possibly no existence 😛
Yes, I posted and then thought, dang…oh, well! So you’re undecided about being undecided! That’s fair 🙂
I love this post and read it twice!! You have faith but I think you just kinda went “hmmm maybe I don’t really need to trouble God with this yet”. Faith really is a weird thing but it’s also one of the most powerful things to have. Having faith doesn’t mean you don’t get scared or panicky. But faith allows you to step away, take a deep breath and say ‘I’m going to be ok because God will make it ok’ 🙂
Oh, you have so much good stuff in your comment! It was really hard for me to think of my faith in one very narrow, particular way, and then have that perspective almost immediately challenged. I feel so much that God is sending me lessons this year, growing me and making me see things in new ways.
Like you said, faith is a weird thing! I guess, like so many emotions, we have a difficult time defining it, and it can mean different things to different people. I agree that it is a powerful thing! It can carry us through so much in our lives. It’s comforting to hear you say that you can have faith and still feel panicky, because I can tend toward the panicky when I get thrown off my rhythm. And that’s what I think I am supposed to do, “take a deep breath and say ‘I’m going to be ok because God will make it ok'” Good words from you, my friend!