“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Life can be bittersweet sometimes.
There are some days when it seems like every wish or dream is coming true. And then there are some days when the clouds begin to fill in and block the light. It’s on these darker days when your faith is needed most.
Focusing on your faith every day is essential to keeping it resilient and ready to go. Here are eight ways to keep your faith strong so it can help you through the tough times.
1. Keep doing the things that make you strong.
If you find peace in reading, listening to music or working out, keep doing these things. Stay true to the activities that give you strength because these are probably the things that nourish your soul and feed your faith.
2. Allow yourself to grieve for what you have lost.
Losing your faith happens. It doesn’t mean you are broken – it just means your faith is not strong at the moment. Acknowledge this and permit yourself to feel the sadness loss may bring. To change your condition, you must first acknowledge your reality. Name it, call out for it, or weep for it. Your cries will be heard.
3. Be patient with the uncertainty.
When you are struggling with your faith, stay in the moment as long as you need. Your loss of faith may last for a few days or even a few weeks, but you will not be abandoned. Use this time to build your faith around the certainty there is a purpose created just for you.
4. Watch how you rebound and fill in the gaps.
Above all, be true to yourself. When you feel your faith returning make certain it is your faith and not a need to begin feeling something, anything, even it is something that is not aligned with your core beliefs and values.
5. Faith is resistible; learn not to resist, but to receive more.
Your faith is never taken from you – you may just resist it from time-to-time. Your faith is a gift of grace and you get to choose if you want to receive it, or not. You may even want to resist faith because you don’t trust how long it will stay with you. But when you learn to surrender, and allow yourself to open up, then faith will only multiple and manifest itself in your life more, not less.
6. Get involved.
Practicing faith takes action. Faith requires you to think, feel and believe. When you stand on the sidelines and expect your faith to arrive without any deliberate intent on your part, then you run the risk of missing the chance to jump into life. Get involved with the people and causes that touch your heart the most. Spend more time with your children, volunteer in your community, or get behind a group or organization you believe is able to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
7. Focus on the positive.
If you find yourself coming back from a difficult situation where your faith has been tested, begin to look for the small, but positive things happening around you. Every good thought or encouraging experience is not an accident – these are signs to remind you of your purpose and the hope for what is waiting for you.
8. Have deep water faith in the shallow end.
When I was in high school I worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. When my students entered the pool they looked a little apprehensive, but they went ahead and took the first step anyway because they knew their feet would touch in the shallow end. As I moved them further away from the shallow end and into deeper waters, their confidence, and faith, began to fade.
You can be a lot like a new swimmer, too. Your faith can be strong when you know what to expect. To do more in life, to take the chance your heart is asking you to take, you need to have the faith to jump in without knowing the depth of the water. What you’ll find is your feet will touch and the water will not be over your head.