“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.
How much are you paralyzed by fear and doubt? What is it that you would do if you knew in advance that you would be successful? The fear that we will not succeed prevents many of us from ever moving out from our safe environment. We go with what we know and put off taking an adventurous step while we wait for the right time.
Unfortunately, most of us are not gifted with an ability to foresee outcomes. We may have to commit ourselves to an action with no idea how it will turn out. Some of us believe in lists, we try to plan ahead and imagine every benefit or risk involved, to try to make the best choice. If we have an opportunity to change jobs, we try to compare the pay, the benefits, the distance to work, the hours and more, before we hand in our resignation.
And yet, the best benefits may be intangible. It could be the people we work closest with, or our immediate boss. Very often it is not until we make the move that we can look back and see it was right. That happened to me when I left the hospital for teaching. My list told me I should stay where I was. I ignored the list. And I cannot say that it was ‘gut instinct’, or a feeling I had. For some reason I knew I had to move on, and I have never regretted the move. So many positive things have happened as a result of that change in direction; I have met so many good people and grown in many ways.
Faith is a powerful word. The belief in things unseen. In religious terms, the word faith carries even more weight. But do we have faith in ourselves? Do we believe we have the power to overcome adversity, to accomplish the impossible? When it comes to those difficult decisions, the most important item on your list is you. A delicious meal depends less on the ingredients, and more on the talent and passion of the person preparing the meal. What are you doing with the talents you have been given?
Recently I had to put my faith to the test. A crucial item went missing, and it was feared that it had been discarded in a moment of distraction and was irretrievably lost. But I knew it would be found, and after driving five hours out of our way we discovered the missing item. Faith justified! Faith restored! How many things could we accomplish if we had faith in the outcome? If we approached every task as if we were assured of a positive outcome, would that change the risks we would take? Would that prevent us from lingering, shivering on the brink of possibility and missing the most wonderful prospect of our life?
It was very early in my nursing career that I learned that most important lesson: Belief kills and belief cures. I cared for two patients who were diagnosed with leukemia. One patient was in his forties, with a young family, and given a very grave prognosis. The other was an older man, who had a much milder form of the disease, with a much happier outcome. The attitude that each patient had towards his disease was very interesting. The patient with the worse picture, the shortest time to live decided he would not accept this prognosis. He took the treatments, left the hospital, and went about living his life. Although the disease ultimately won, the patient lived much longer than predicted. The second patient heard the word leukemia, and gave up. He was dead in a matter of weeks, despite treatment that could have put him in remission.
For those of us who are not facing challenging diagnoses, what future are we predicting for ourselves? Do we let doubt assure failure? Do we choose the path of least resistance? If you don’t try you will never know what you can accomplish. The human mind and spirit are capable of so much, yet we often take them to the grave without ever having pushed them to the max.
This holiday weekend, I hope you can think of at least one thing that you have avoided because of fear. I hope you can find the determination to get out of your comfort zone, and take that first leap of faith, that first step out into the unknown, so that you can discover your own amazing abilities. Think of the potential you demonstrated as a child, before the world taught you to be fearful. Think of all you thought you could achieve before life’s realities stood in your way. Just have faith.
Have a wonderful Friday, family. My mother, an original, used to close her letters with a string of abbreviations: LOL (lots of love); TNT (til next time); and another favorite: YDHTBP (you don’t have to be polite, in other words, don’t reply out of duty, but when the spirit moves), and she would always include KTF (keep the faith).