July 4, 2014

The God Experiment: Exploring the Benefits of Faith.

leap of faith

Releasing control can be both cathartic and tumultuous.

It can happen slowly over time or suddenly, like a cloudburst of flooding tears.

And, for some of us, the need to be in control is great—and horribly harmful for our quality of life.

Because the bottom line is that we are not completely in control.

Whether you believe in God or something more meaningful, weaving an unseen thread between life and the intagible, faith is something that can bring a huge amount of relief.

I’ve been playing around with something that I’ve been calling “The God Experiment.”

This experiment is simple.

Basically, I’ve not believed in something that I can hand my burdens over to for a long time—something that invites me to lay my head down and rest soundly at night—because I’ve seen the pain and torture that happens in this world and, honestly, it’s hard to believe that someone is always holding my hand when my heart lies in a broken heap next to my feet.

But I’m tired.

I’m exhausted, frankly.

So I’ve decided to experiment for one week with this idea that I can have faith—and that I don’t have to define for myself what I’m storing my faith in—and let go.

I can rest.

I can continue my own forward charge of personal goals and aims, but I can also relinquish my unbelievably stubborn mental grasp on the unfortunate pattern of thinking I’ve been stuck within—that nitpicking every tiny piece of my existence can actually control the fate of my day, my relationships and my life.

Because, in the end, I know that I need to try and to put effort into my life, but, equally, I’m aware that something beyond me is in charge.

Something beyond my maternal care is in charge of my little girl growing up to be happy.

Something other than my mother’s body helps decide if I have a perfectly healthy baby, or if I live to experience a long lifetime with my husband.

And it’s ironically torturous to pretend that we are in control of this or that we can change our own reality by pretending to be in charge or, most especially, by ignoring that something else might be.

So, in stepped my God Experiment.

To be fair, I’m not at the end of my self-allotted week, but I’ve already noticed a substantial internal shift, so I’ve decided to offer my experiment to you in parts, and this first part is about faith.

I’ll give you a specific example.

One night I woke abruptly to a storm so severe that I got up to check there wasn’t a severe weather warning. And then I couldn’t fall back asleep. For hours.

For hours I was awake and worrying about falling back asleep, and how I would feel the next day and that this is going to be a normal part of my life again once my pregnant body gives birth to a round-the-clock feeding newborn. (And on and on and on—that traveling circus of the monkey mind.)

And then I remembered my experiment.

I decided to trust that I would feel alright.

I decided to have faith that I was meant, in some small way, to be awoken to enjoy this still, quiet time by myself in the middle of a dark, beautiful downpour.

Instead of worrying, I rested with the knowledge that it would work out and that my worrying was unnecessary and unhelpful. And I fell asleep.

And it dawned on me, when the rising sun got me up for my new day, that we need faith. We need to feel in the marrow of our bones that our hard work, efforts, and pains and labors are good enough. And that’s what faith is, and that’s all it has to be: having an embedded knowledge that we can do our best and then stop.

And since I’m tired, I’ve decided to stop.

I’ve decided, for the remainder of my experiment at least, to stop belittling my efforts, especially when I’m trying my best.

I’ve decided to stop looking forward at what needs to be done so that I can enjoy this moment I’m living in right now (and the people I’m sharing it with, too).

And that’s, ultimately, my take-away from these last few days: Having faith doesn’t have to mean worshiping a specific face or a name; all it has to mean is that we consider that we are good enough—that we are enough.

And it’s been a powerfully rejuvenating opportunity to stand still in the awareness that I am enough.


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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: ClickFlashPhotos/Flickr

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